Our Judges

The BBAs pride themselves on having a large panel of over 20 independent expert judges and each month we introduce you to a few:

Lauren Tauben

Managing Director, Agent42 EMEA Ltd

Recognising a gap in the industry to do marketing in a different, more cost-effective way Lauren Tauben founded Agent42, a creative, multi-discipline marketing agency, in 2012. True to this belief, Lauren has cast aside the ‘rules’ on how marketing agencies should operate and created a unique type of agency that bucks the norm. Agent42’s success is down to core values, which Lauren is resolutely passionate about: relationships, trust and flexibility.

Agent42 operates a virtual office model, running at the forefront of technology with the latest cloud-based structures and processes. This offers Agent42’s clients unbeatable, flat, transparent rates, but also allows staff to work anywhere they choose; from a co-working space in New York, to a private members’ club in Dubai. This flexible, global, scaleable structure is truly unique.

Lauren has built Agent42 into a robust, EMEA-wide business, with an extended roster of partners and clients that include well-known brands including Acer, Slush Puppie, Tango Ice Blast, Calor Gas, Tech Data, Veeam, Oki and more.

Visit: http://agent42.co.uk/

Sharon Welch

Managing Director, Bid Writer Consultancy

Sharon is Managing Director of the multi award-winning Bid Writer Consultancy, which was established in 2014. The company’s ethos is to provide affordable bid-writing support to small- and medium-sized companies to help them win government contracts.

Following a successful 30 year career in business development roles within charities and private sector companies, Sharon understood that winning contracts was becoming increasingly important to help businesses thrive and grow. Her business model – providing freelance writing support seven days a week, and out of hours – recognises that small business owners often have to prioritise their ‘day jobs’, while trying to respond to complex bid requirements within funders’ deadlines.

As a member of the Association of Bid and Proposal Management Professionals Sharon is committed to helping companies win business by making technical writing spring to life – painting a clear picture of each companies’ experience and expertise. In the past three years, Sharon and her team have supported clients of all sizes and sectors to win contracts in excess of £130 million.

Visit: http://www.bidwriterconsultancy.co.uk/

Neil Fineberg

Managing Director, The Finegreen Group

Neil Fineberg is the Managing Director of successful award winning recruitment & development consultancy, The Finegreen Group – focused on helping organisations (predominantly Healthcare) recruit & develop the best people to Executive / Management positions; now also providing executive education, mentoring and board governance reviews.  With 13 years of experience in his field, Neil has built up a business with excellent networks at the highest levels across the NHS, private healthcare and international healthcare arenas, as well as strong links to education, local government and large private sector providers of services to the Healthcare industry.

Finegreen helps healthcare organisations appoint to the full spectrum of specialisms – everything from Boards and Non-Executives to HR & OD, Finance, Estates & Facilities, Project/Programme Management, Procurement, Commissioning, Strategy, Business Development, Clinical & Corporate Governance and Operational Management – together with their Medical / Clinical Division where they have a particularly high quality database of senior clinicians. In short, Finegreen see themselves as a true one-stop shop for senior levels of the recruitment industry.

Recent awards include:

  • Winner – HealthInvestor Awards – Recruiter of the Year 2013, 2014 & 2016
  • Winner – Best Business Awards – Best SME 2013-2016
  • Winner – CV Magazine – Best Upper Level Recruitment 2016
  • Winner – Talk of Manchester Awards – Agency of the Year 2015
  • Winner – Best4Recruitment Awards 2013 & 2014

Visit: www.finegreen.co.uk

Julie Gowland

Managing Director of Three x 8 Ltd

Julie is the multi award-winning managing Director of Three x 8 Ltd. A Board Level operational & strategic leader, Julie has a proven track record of driving growth, improvement and sustainability across front and back office operations within Financial Services, Claims Management & BPO sectors. She has 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, starting her career with a major ‘Blue Chip’ FTSE 100 company, moving up through the ranks from filing clerk to board level.

Julie established her own successful Interim Management Consultancy in 2007, successfully managing outsourced contracts for a wide range of clients, from leading ‘Blue Chip’ multi-nationals such as Aviva, RSA and Lloyds Banking Group to smaller boutique specialists. She has won national awards for her line of work, one of which was her placing in ‘The Most Respected People in the Contact Centre Industry’ in 2012; this was determined by peers and professionals in the field, making it a great honour and privilege to receive.

Visit: www.threex8.co.uk

Matt Lumb

Chief Operating Officer and Director, Tangle Teezer

Matt Lumb is Chief Operating Officer and a Director at Tangle Teezer; the world’s first and best-selling detangling hairbrush with ten brushes now being sold every minute. Tangle Teezer has created a whole new category in hair care and has achieved global recognition in a remarkably short space of time. Since founder, Shaun Pulfrey, unsuccessfully pitched his idea on Dragon’s Den just six years ago, the company has gone on to win dozens of awards including two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: for Innovation in 2012, and for International Trade in 2014. The brand has also achieved “CoolBrands™” status for the last two years and has just been ranked the 19th fastest growing privately owned company in the UK in the “Sunday Times 2014 Fast Track 100” league table.

Matt has a strong background within accountancy and finance, but since joining Shaun in 2010 he now oversees the day-to-day running of the company, working closely with all departments.

Visit: www.tangleteezer.com

Nicky McCrudden


After graduating with a first-class honours degree and a stint in academia, Nicky had a fast-track career in the public sector where she studied Strategic Leadership at post-graduate level and became the youngest senior manager in her organisation. In 2010, she moved out of the public sector and founded what is now a thriving and multi-award-winning training, coaching and consultancy company.

A Belbin Accredited Practitioner, Nicky’s approach to workplace learning is characterised by theory and experience wrapped up in creativity, with just a light dusting of madness. This trademark style has seen Nicky and her company rack-up a multitude of awards for business, innovation, entrepreneurship, and nationally at the Training Journal Awards.

Visit: www.mccrudden-training.co.uk

Claire Gates

Managing Director, borro

Claire has over 10 years of experience in the financial services sector working for major blue chip companies. Having previously led the Retailer and Partnership section of GE Capital in Central & Eastern Europe, Claire was most recently Managing Director at Virgin Money, where she established Virgin Money Canada. Claire brings a wealth of consumer finance leadership to the business.

Visit: www.borro.com

Lorraine Collins

Executive Director for Enterprise & Development, Uxbridge College

Lorraine Collins has been working at Uxbridge College since June 2003. Her current role is Executive Director for Enterprise and Development and she has a particular interest in introducing new initiatives to help employers improve their business competitiveness. Part of her remit is also to ensure that students leave the College with the qualifications, skills and attitude which will make them suitably equipped for employment and an asset to employers. The College works with over 500 local employers ranging from sole traders to large multi nationals. It understands how to support the challenges and opportunities that businesses face from recruitment and retention of appropriately skilled staff to in- work training and supporting their future workforce needs.

Visit: www.uxbridge.ac.uk

Tom Nabielec

Founder, Perfect Storm Media

Tom Nabielec is an experienced Internet entrepreneur having started Perfect Storm Media with its “Pay-per-Sale” business model. Perfect Storm has won awards for its work, including being nominated 3 times at the 2010 Affiliates4U Awards, including Best Paid Search Partnership. Perfect Storm is backed financially by Chris Mathias of Arbor Ventures. Tom has worked with entrepreneurs most of his career, having previously been a technology investment professional at General Atlantic Partners, a $10 billion global private equity fund. He began his career in the New York office of Goldman, Sachs & Co. in the Investment Banking Division.

Visit: www.perfectstormmedia.com

Ian Hughes

Managing Director, Consumer Intelligence

A graduate of Harvard Business School, Ian has always had a passion for information technology and combined IT with Marketing at M&S and MM Group where he created the first Internet shops for Wallace and Gromit. Ian formed eCharity.com during the .com boom before going on to become founder of Consumer Intelligence which provides access for companies to high-quality information about their price competitiveness to inform their marketing, pricing and product strategies. Ian is driven by a passion for information – the way it is collected, analysed, designed and delivered.

Visit: www.consumerintel.com

Howard McKenzie

Managing Director, HMSL

Howard McKenzie spent 30 years as a manager and academic in education and training rising from tenant dairy farmer to Principal of a large College in Scotland. In 2008 he returned to the portfolio life of a consultant building an international client base in the engineering, financial services, education and publishing sectors. He remains the senior academic consultant for Pearson plc. – Direct Delivery who deliver education and training to 20000 students across the Gulf region. He is deployed to make high level educational management interventions including a four month assignment as Interim Dean at TQ Pearson Makkah College in Saudi Arabia. Howard is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and a Chartered Director with experience of providing high level advice and support for Boards and companies. He is also a published romantic novelist.

Leonor Stjepic


As the CEO of award winning charity – RAFT – which finds new ways of treating the injured, Leonor Stjepic is very different from the charity norm. She thinks and acts like an entrepreneur (having run her own consultancy for years) and won’t put limits on herself so achieves a lot. One example was launching RAFT’s subsidiary Smart Matrix Ltd in January 2012 and exceeding the investment fundraising target by 23%. Under her leadership, RAFT has won a number of awards, including

  • Health Investor Awards Third Sector category
  • Prize for Innovation awarded by the British Journal of Nursing
  • AMRC Best Practice in Medical and Health Research Peer Review
  • Finalist in the National council for Work Experience Awards

Leonor is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the RSA. By heading RAFT and helping lots of people to make lots of little changes, she hopes to create a big difference, because Leonor wants the thing she’s most proud of in her life to be something she has yet to do.

Visit: raft.ac.uk and smartmatrix.co.uk