2021 Awards: shortlists reflect governance expertise across all sectors

The excitement is mounting as we draw nearer to announcing the winners of The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland’s Awards for 2021. The shortlists are now available.

The excitement is mounting as we draw nearer to announcing the winners of The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland’s Awards for 2021. The shortlists are now available and we are delighted to see so many nominees from a wide cross section of the governance community singled out for praise. In the first of two blogs, read on to find out more about this year’s shortlists for the individual and team categories.

Last year’s winner of the prestigious Company Secretary of the Year award came from the corporate sector, with Paul McCullagh, Company Secretary at Barclays Europe taking the crown. This year we have a very diverse line-up of sectors in the running, with nominees from the housing and social care sectors and the NHS. The full list is:

  • Valerie Lynch, Company Secretary at Silva Homes
  • Lauren MacIntyre, Director of Corporate Affairs and Company Secretary of North East London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Lauren Osman, Group Company Secretary, Avenues Group
  • Glen Palethorpe, Company Secretary, University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust.

Speaking about being shortlisted for the award, which recognises those individuals and teams who have mastered the complex legal and regulatory environments in which they work and have made a demonstrable difference, Val Lynch says:

“I am absolutely thrilled to have been nominated for such a prestigious award along with the other nominees. I am very proud of my amazing team who work so hard to deliver an excellent governance service to our business, board and customers. Just to be nominated is a great honour and I wish everyone the best of luck!”

Next up is Governance Professional of the Year. This award celebrates those individuals who have made a positive and sustained contribution and have gone above and beyond to encourage, support and raise awareness of good governance. Last year, the award was won by Paul Denton, Deputy Company Secretary at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, and again this year the shortlist is drawn from across several sectors. So difficult was the choice this year, so high the standard of nominations received, that we have a very fulsome shortlist from whom to choose. The contenders are:

  • Nicola Carroll, Corporate Governance Director, Rolls-Royce Holdings plc
  • David Gracie, Director, Indigo Independent Governance
  • Nabil Jamshed, Head of Corporate Governance, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • Robert Lyons, Deputy Company Secretary, Marks and Spencer Group plc
  • Phoebe Stamford-Moroz, Senior Assistant Company Secretary, Tate & Lyle PLC
  • Helen Stockill, Head of Governance, Discovery Schools Academy Trust.

Says Robert Lyons: “I am clearly delighted to be nominated for the Governance Professional of the Year award. Although this is clearly an acknowledgement of the work undertaken by my team. It is important for company secretaries and governance professionals more generally to be progressive and help drive corporate change that materially adds value to the businesses in which we work, ensuring that we are delivering in line with the wider corporate strategy. We should seek to be integral to the business and objectively value-adding and that is how I endeavour to operate at M&S.”

One of the newer categories on offer is the award for Governance Champion of the Year, which originated in 2020 when many of us were still in lockdown. This award acknowledges those members of the governance community who lead by example, advocating and demonstrating through their behaviours the value of good governance. Fiona Chalk, Governance Consultant & Trainer, Governance4FE was last year’s very worthy winner and this year the following people have been shortlisted to join her:

  • Tesse Akpeki, Director and Lead Strategist, Tesse Akpeki Associates
  • Fiona Jenkins, Governance and Assurance Manager, Hafan Cymru
  • Dr Sam De Silva, Partner, CMS
  • Zoe Bucknell, Co-Founder, Kuberno Limited.

We look forward to seeing who takes the crown this year.

 Moving on, we come to an old favourite, the very popular award for The One to Watch. Each year the postbag is groaning under the weight of nominations for this award, which recognises the real “rising stars” of governance, the people we expect to be hearing much more about in years to come. It’s always very heartening, and enlightening, to see the future of the profession is in such good hands. So, shortlisted this year we have:

  • Oliver Coverley, Senior Associate, PwC
  • Siobhan Dowdall, Subsidiary Governance Office, Royal Bank of Canada
  • Yana Fowle, Company Secretariat Assistant, Marks and Spencer Group plc
  • Leah Ritchie, Assistant Company Secretary, AstraZeneca PLC

One of those shortlisted, Yana Fowle, told us: “I am honoured to be short listed amongst such an impressive group of professionals at such an early stage in my career, and am truly grateful to all the colleagues, sponsors and mentors who have contributed so significantly to my development thus far. I feel very lucky to have benefited from their guidance and investment in the future of the profession.”

And so, finally we come to another very popular category, the award for Team of the Year. This award recognises those company secretarial and governance teams who have really made a mark over the last year, and there are always plenty of strong nominations from which to choose. This year is no exception and again we have a long list of contenders. The following teams have been shortlisted in this category:

  • AstraZeneca PLC’s Board and Corporate Support team
  • CHP (Chelmer Housing Partnership) - The Governance and Assurance team
  • Coca-Cola Europacific Partners’ Company Secretarial team
  • easyJetplc’s Company Secretarial team
  • National Grid plc’s Company Secretariat team
  • Rolls-Royce Holdings plc’s Governance Team.

“We are delighted to be shortlisted in the Team of the Year category”, says Louisa Loizou from Chelmer Housing Partnership. “At CHP we pride ourselves on delivering industry leading standards of governance, in order to achieve our corporate objectives. The team has worked tirelessly to embed sound governance practice across the organisation, and we constantly strive to deliver the highest standard of corporate best practice. We are proud to be shortlisted for this award alongside so many highly regarded organisations, and this is a testament to the hard work of the team over the past year.”

Congratulations to all our nominees and we look forward to seeing you on the night. In the meantime, look out for out next blog where we talk about some of the other awards on offer this year, including our new awards for best initiatives in the field of Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) and Diversity & Inclusion (D&I).

The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland’s Awards for 2021 will be presented at London Hilton Park Lane on 16 November. Tickets are still available but places are filling up fast. To book your places go to www.cgi.org.uk/awards/bookings.

Maria Brookes, Media Relations Manager, The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland

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