The ACE Robyns were created in 2016 in memory of Robyn Jones, joint founder of CH& Co who sadly died in 2015. She was a strong advocate of mentoring, training and developing young talent.
The inaugural winner was Leanne Findley.
As senior account manager for Sodexo Sports & Leisure, 31 year old Leanne is responsible for the day-to-day running of airport lounges and various cleaning contracts at Heathrow, Manchester, Glasgow and Gatwick airports for Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Gulf Air and Virgin Holidays.
Leanne joined Sodexo as a 16-year-old food services assistant at a staff restaurant at Gatwick Airport. Her meteoric rise through Sodexo’s aviation business now sees her responsible for a team of eight managers and 170 employees looking after 400,000 first and business class passengers every year.
Tim Jones, who jointly founded CH&Co with his wife Robyn, was one of the judges. He said, “The standard of award entries was very high and several were particularly inspiring, demonstrating the drive and initiative that Robyn was well-known for. The judges had to make some difficult choices but I could see that Leanne would have struck a chord with Robyn.”
Since winning the award, Leanne has been invited to several high profile industry events, and in doing, has raised her own profile in the industry.
Just a few days after the award ceremony in July, she appeared on London Live TV with judge & ACE Robyns sponsor, Susie Boyd from Troika to talk about her win.
In October, she attended the Shine Awards at 8 Northumberland Avenue, celebrating women working in hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism.
In November, she took her prize - dinner and an overnight stay at The Shard and said “It was amazing. The best experience ever. Loved, loved, loved it! Thank you to everyone who made it happen.”
Later in November there was a Robyns Reunion at Boyds hosted by Troika where some of the shortlisted candidates met up with the judges and organisers.
In February, she was a guest at the ACE wine Dinner and was invited to be a judge for the 2017 ACE Robyns – a challenge that she has accepted!
The judges have now been through the applications for the ACE Robyns 2017 and have agreed the shortlist as follows:
Rebecca Cupitt, Lusso
Marta Pegram, Lexington
Sam Roth, BaxterStorey
Laura Amos, Ampersand
Sonia Carvalho, Restaurant Associates
Amanda Cox, Sodexo
Nicole Du Preez, Restaurant Associates
Teresa Gohil, Amadeus
Christopher Howard-Kraft, Blue Apple
Rob Simmons, BaxterStorey
Miguel Teixeira, Bartlett Mitchell
Adam Thomason, Restaurant Associates
David Touizer, CH&Co.