Our highly experienced judging panel is represented by each of the partners and representatives from the region’s most influential bodies. Judging is rigorous, fair and honest. Judges will score and pick the winners from the individual interviews.

The 2018 judging panel included:

Stephen Roberts

Investment Director |

Stephen is an Investment Director in ECI’s Manchester team, where he focuses on investing in growing businesses across the north. Current and previous investments include Tusker, Oaktree, Imagesound, Make it Cheaper and Great Rail Journeys. Stephen joined ECI in 2015 following a secondment. He previously spent 9 years at PwC, including 5 years within the Corporate Finance division. Stephen holds a BA in Economics and Politics from the University of York and holds an ACA.

Greg Doran

Northern Head of Tech, Media and Telecoms, Barclays |

Greg Doran leads our larger corporate TMT business across the North of England. Greg has over 20 years of corporate banking experience across a range of sectors, roles and locations. Outside of work Greg is married to Catherine and has two daughters, Holly and Isabelle. All the family are keen tennis players.

Alexandra Fogal

Director, Barclays Corporate Banking |

Alexandra is a Director in the Larger Corporate Banking team in Barclays International covering clients across Yorkshire with a manufacturing sector focus. 

She joined Barclays on the Corporate Banking Graduate Programme post university and has undertaken several roles as part of her development and career progression.

In 2010 Alex was appointed as a Relationship Director in mid corporate as one of the youngest female RDs in the North. She then went onto secure her Director level in 2015. 

During her career Alex has undertaken many external roles including Head of the P100 an independent networking club for professionals, Organising the annual charity Yorkshire Professional Fashion Ball, a Prince Trust Business mentor, together with establishing the Barclays Women in Business Awards in 2015. The external awards have grown with the North West launching in 2017. Alex went on to win the Global Diversity Award in 2017 for Business Impact following the success of the awards and return on investment to the business.

Alex currently  leads on the WIN work stream as part of the CB Diversity council and is keen to support female development and career progression.

In her spare time she enjoys travelling & spending time with friends and family. She is also a qualified dancing teacher in ballet, ballroom, modern, latin, disco freestyle and hip-hop.

Hilary Heap

Partner, EY |

Hilary leads EY’s Valuation & Business Modelling team across the English regions.  Throughout her career Hilary has worked with a wide range of clients from private mid-market, private equity and FTSE 100 companies operating globally, helping them achieve growth through mergers and acquisitions; corporate reorganisations and restructuring and joint ventures.

Mark Pickard

Partner, EY |

Mark heads up EY’s North region indirect tax practice supporting clients and leading EY’s team across their five Northern offices. 

Throughout his career he has worked for HMRC and now advises a wide range of clients including multi-nationals, entrepreneurial businesses and public sector bodies. His diverse client base has given him the experience of advising on a broad range of projects from complex international supply chains to domestic VAT accounting and compliance. He also has significant experience of advising in respect of corporate acquisitions, disposals and restructuring.

David Baggaley

Director, EY |

Davis is a Senior Manager and digital lead for EY in the North where supports clients across various sectors and of differing sizes, to help them understand how digital is impacting business and how they can seize the upside of disruption.  He also has a wealth of experience supporting international clients with taxation, transactions and IPO’s having worked across all client service areas of EY as part of various global teams.  

Liz Richards

Independent Director |

Liz has a diverse portfolio of NED and audit committee chair roles, and a successful track record as CFO of private equity backed business.

Her current NED positions include LINK Scheme Limited, the UK ATM operator, where she chairs the audit committee, and Tracsis plc, Aim-listed software provider to the transportation industry, where she also chairs the audit committee. She is a governor of Leeds Trinity University, where she also sits on the audit and remuneration committees.

She was formerly CFO of Callcredit, the credit reference agency, and a founder member of the board, which led Callcredit from start-up to £150m turnover, and through a £500m private equity exit.

She is ACA qualified with EY, after an early career with Lloyds Bank.

Chris Blaxall


Chris Blaxall is Chief Financial Officer of NBS as well as a Group Executive Director working alongside Chief Executive, Richard Waterhouse and Chief Operating Office, Helen Whitfield.

NBS is the leading provider of technical information, specification and BIM tools to construction industry professionals.

Chris is responsible for all finance, legal, partnerships, facilities, compliance and IT matters together with other corporate initiatives.

Chris has multi sector experience with a background of operating in financial and non-financial roles as both an Executive and Non-Executive Director.  Prior to NBS, Chris was CFO at Parnerize (previously Performance Horizon) during which time the business saw revenues grow tenfold, offices were opened in San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Newcastle and Hamburg and the team grew from 35 to 200. 

Chris’s experience of private equity and transactional experience contributed to the completion of three fund raising rounds from overseas investors and a number of trade sales both as an Executive Director/Shareholder and adviser.

Chris’s international experience also includes 8 years in Australia that included time with Deloitte as Corporate Finance Partner, where he specialised in advising private equity and venture capital backed businesses. 

Hannah Kendrick

Partner, Squire Patton Boggs |

Hannah leads the Squire Patton Boggs Corporate Practice in Leeds and has a wide range of experience advising both public and private companies on mergers and acquisitions, fundraisings, takeovers, restructurings and reorganisations.  Her work varies between UK and cross border and she works closely with executives, in-house legal teams and general counsel both in the UK and globally.

Hannah is also a member of the Regional Advisory Group of the London Stock Exchange plc for the North East.

Hannah is recommended in The Legal 500 UK 2017 for Corporate.

Paul Mann

Partner, Squire Patton Boggs |

Paul is a partner in the Squire Patton Boggs Corporate team and heads the UK Private Equity team. Paul trained with the firm, qualifying in 2005 and being appointed as a partner in 2013.

Paul’s particular expertise covers all types of corporate work, in particularly private equity and mainstream mergers and acquisitions (both locally and internationally). On the corporate side, Paul’s clients range from owner managers to PLCs and on the private equity side, Paul covers all aspects of such transactions ranging from advising management teams and/or the shareholders to advising the private equity house and/or the company.

Paul’s particular style is “client first” in all aspects and he displays huge commitment and drive to deliver for his clients. Clients told Chambers UK that Paul “is amazingly client-focused. He manages our expectations very carefully and is an excellent project manager.”

Throughout his career Paul has been fortunate enough to receive certain awards. He was named “Rising Star” at the Yorkshire Lawyer Awards in 2009 and was further recognised in both 2013 and 2015 as the Emerging Dealmaker at the Insider Yorkshire Dealmaker Awards.