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The Heropreneurs Awards Judging Panel

Alistair Halliday

CEO, RFEA

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Alistair Halliday

CEO, RFEA

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Alistair Halliday joined RFEA as Chief Executive in January 2019.

A veteran of the Royal Navy, Alistair has worked in corporate business, government and the voluntary sectors, with extensive experience in media communications, strategy, change and business development. He has had high-level Corporate Communications experience in government, advised many charities, ran Raytheon’s training business, and commanded three warships and a Royal Marine detachment. At BFBS he set up and ran the acclaimed Forces Media Academy. He is a Director of Cobseo and chair of the Cobseo Employment Cluster. RFEA became the Forces Employment Charity on 3 May after combining with the Officers Association

Simon Banks - Cooper  

Heropreneurs Trustee

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Simon brings first-hand experience of transition from a military career to successful entrepreneur. He was an Infantry Officer, before leaving regular service in 2000, and is currently the Honorary Colonel of the Humberside and South Yorkshire Army Cadet Force.

 

An accountant and entrepreneur, Simon has held a number of board  appointments either an executive, non-executive or investment director of quoted, unquoted and start-up companies across a broad range of sectors in the UK and overseas.

Ben Brabyn

Ecosystem specialist and Heropreneurs

Ambassador

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Former Royal Marines Commando Ben Brabyn worked as an analyst for JP Morgan after leaving the military.  He then launched the world’s first crowdfunding business, Bmycharity, which enabled 800,000 donors to deliver over £50 million to UK charities. 

 

He worked for the UK government as COO of UK Trade and Investment’s Venture Capital Unit, establishing relationships between global investors and a wide range of UK entrepreneurial businesses. 

 

From 2016 to 2020 he ran Level39, a community of over 200 fintech, cybersecurity and other technology companies in Canary Wharf, and he now advises UK and international companies on building - and benefitting from - high growth ecosystems. He is a consultant, NED and regular speaker on how messaging, relationships and incentives can transform business growth

Neil 'Jacko' Jackson

Director, Defence Relationship Management

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Jacko served as a senior Army officer completing operational tours around the world and postings in the UK MoD, Army Headquarters, the UN and NATO. He has since focussed commercially on executive level stakeholder management, refining customer service delivery models and business process outsourcing including as Operations Director for a complex recruiting programme in partnership with the MoD. 

 

     He was appointed as the Director of DRM in 2019. DRM works with employers and organisations across the UK to develop mutually beneficial partnerships that support the Armed Forces community of Reservists, Service Leavers, Veterans, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, the Cadet Movement, the Wounded, Injured & Sick and military spouses & partners. The Armed Forces Covenant and the Employer Recognition Scheme (delivered by DRM) are key to this partnership. Jacko was recently awarded Chartered Fellowship of the CIPD.

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Becci Parris BA, RCDP

CEO, Heropreneurs

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Becci joined Heropreneurs as CEO in January 2021 and has worked with the team to develop the core strategy, putting the beneficiary at the heart of service delivery and creating a dynamic and supportive community for entrepreneurial service leavers, veterans and family members. 

A keen participant of the COBSEO Employment Cluster, Becci maintains strong working relationships with MOD resettlement services, CTP and other key UK military charities, ensuring collaborative working and always seeking to secure the best possible outcome for the beneficiary. Prior to Heropreneurs, she enjoyed roles with RMA – The Royal Marines Charity and Salute My Job.

A Registered Career Development Professional, Becci is a qualified Careers Advisor, combining her ongoing professional development with practical and commercial experience and applying them to the unique circumstances of the UK’s diverse military community. 

Andrew Anderson

CEO, Celaton

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Following seven years with the Parachute regiment, Andrew built and exited four software companies over a thirty year period in UK, US & Europe. With all that experience in leadership, strategy, capital raising, M&A and commercialising technology, he now helps other founders and investors to realise the potential of their technology ventures as a Chairman, Non-Executive Director, Advisor and Mentor. 

Karen Barker

Director of recruitment and marketing,

Warwick business school

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Karen is a highly driven recruitment, coach and career management specialist. She is currently leading an integrated student recruitment and marketing team of 60 specialists at Warwick Business School, developing a strategy to attract and recruit high calibre and diverse talent pools across the Undergraduate, Masters, MBA and Executive Education portfolio of programmes.   Prior to transitioning to the HE sector, Karen led the development of graduate recruitment strategies for Deutsche Bank and Mercer. 

Alongside her recruitment expertise, she has a real passion for coaching and leadership development honed during her 16 -year tenure at The University of Warwick (Warwick Business School).  Karen’s natural ability to build rapport and client centricity has earned her a strong reputation as a Recruiter and Career Coach. She has expertise in helping high achieving Full-Time and Executive MBA students, undergraduates and school leavers achieve career aspirations, transitions and professional development goals.

Iain Church

Chief Operating Officer. Moringa Miracles. 1st Heropreneurs Award Winner: WBS Bursary

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Iain Church is a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Engineers.  Never one to shy away from a challenge, in 2016 Iain traded a career in bomb disposal for a career in business seeking to establish a social enterprise based in Malawi – Moringa Miracles Limited (MML).  A firm believer that actions speak louder than words Iain has overseen the donation of 1.2 million trees to 20,000 smallholders across southern Malawi that will lift 100,000 Malawians out of extreme poverty within 5-years.  

Iain’s entrepreneurial journey has been helped immeasurably by being the first winner of the Heropreneurs-WBS Executive MBA scholarship in 2018 (starting his studies in 2019).  He is due to graduate from WBS in July 2022 with a Distinction and in June will be presenting the findings of his research project to a global sustainability conference, hosted by Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Peter Kelly

CEO and Co Founder, Imployable
app

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Jacko served as a senior Army officer completing operational tours around the world and postings in the UK MoD, Army Headquarters, the UN and NATO. He has since focussed commercially on executive level stakeholder management, refining customer service delivery models and business process outsourcing including as Operations Director for a complex recruiting programme in partnership with the MoD. 

He was appointed as the Director of DRM in 2019. DRM works with employers and organisations across the UK to develop mutually beneficial partnerships that support the Armed Forces community of Reservists, Service Leavers, Veterans, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, the Cadet Movement, the Wounded, Injured & Sick and military spouses & partners. The Armed Forces Covenant and the Employer Recognition Scheme (delivered by DRM) are key to this partnership. Jacko was recently awarded Chartered Fellowship of the CIPD.

Steve Rowbotham

RBLI, Chairman

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Steve worked in the defence industry for over 4 decades, initially as a control systems engineer and then in a number of senior management roles including MD of Royal Ordnance and Chief Operating Officer of General Dynamics UK. He is now a NED of GDUK, Chairman of Royal British Legion Industries, Trustee of Bovington Tank Museum and has been an Heropreneurs mentor since 2019.

Lt Gen Dick Applegate

Patron, Heropreneurs

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Dick Applegate is a pragmatic, decisive and trusted strategic leader, main board executive and mentor to a wide variety of international companies. He is highly experienced in the defence, aerospace, logistics and security industry sectors. Previously, in a successful military career, he exercised combat command in the most confused of conditions, crisis management and policy formulation at the very highest international political levels and was accountable for equipment and logistic support of UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to his UK awards, he is an Honorary French Foreign Legionnaire following combat command in Sarajevo in 1995, holder of the US Legion of Merit and a Fellow of the City and Guilds Institute.

Paul Blair

CEO, Serial entrepeneur, Veteran

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Paul has a track record of building teams, managing resources and delivering results in both the military and commercial worlds. He is an established leader and serial entrepreneur. After a twenty-year career in The Parachute Regiment and five years in the corporate world Paul has launched businesses in property, financial services, pet product and wearable technology sectors. 

Adam Coxen

Entrepeneur / Investor

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Adam Coxen was a Captain in the Corps of Royal Engineers from 1992-7. On leaving he founded and successfully sold two of his own companies and now helps others do the same, as an Investor Chairman. He has recently achieved exits in two software and a mobile telecoms business and has just acquired a fibre telecoms business. Adam has been a Mentor at Heropreneurs for six years. 

Iain’s entrepreneurial journey has been helped immeasurably by being the first winner of the Heropreneurs-WBS Executive MBA scholarship in 2018 (starting his studies in 2019).  He is due to graduate from WBS in July 2022 with a Distinction and in June will be presenting the findings of his research project to a global sustainability conference, hosted by Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

PETER MOUNTFORD

Chairman, Heropreneurs and The Veterans’ Foundation

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Peter Mountford is the Chairman of Heropreneurs and also the Founder of the Heropreneurs Awards. He is also the Chairman of the Veterans’ Foundation, a national charity that raises funds for mainly smaller, but   effective, military charities that help veterans in need through the Veterans’ Lottery.

 

During his career as an entrepreneur, Peter has been an investor in, and sat on the Board, of 25 businesses and has floated 3 of the most successful companies ever floated on Aim.

Sarah Stone

Heropreneurs Ambassador

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Sarah is the founder and director of Samtaler, a fast-growing Social Value consultancy which helps large public sector suppliers deliver social, economic and environmental benefits through the delivery of their contracts.  Clients include Oracle, KBR and Capita.  Before starting Samtaler, she founded and ran McNeill and Stone, a social enterprise which helped community groups and grassroots campaigners to access the political system.  

Sarah served as External Adviser to David Cameron until her husband’s military service prompted her to leave Downing Street in 2012.  Later, she held a senior position on the successful campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom before advising Ruth Davidson during a number of high-profile election campaigns in Scotland.  

Sarah is also a former Royal Signals veteran and ‘military spouse’ who is passionate about supporting and strengthening the military community and helping others overcome the challenges she herself faced.  As well as supporting a number of military charity and community initiatives, Sarah is the founder of the Military Coworking Network (MCN), which runs coworking spaces in military bases and provides a professional network for the partners of serving personnel.

A MCN pilot project, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant, and operating in 12 military bases across the UK and overseas involving over 1,500 military partners, is currently being incubated by the Forces Families Federations, in partnership with the Ministry of Defence.  The concept of ‘military coworking’ has also spread globally with initiatives being developed by the US and Australian Armed Forces. 

Sean Taylor

Canaccord Genuity Wealth

Head of UK Intermediary Sales

Sarah Walker

Founder, 'Supporting the unsung hero'

Matt Williams

CEO and Owner, Brigantes grop

Sarah is the founder of ‘Supporting the Unsung Hero’ the first business start up programme for families of the armed forces community, her passion for supporting individuals into business as enabled over 1500 families start and grow in Business.

Sarah has continued to support families of the armed forces by being a integral member of the Mod Partner Employment Steering Group. In 2019 Sarah formed the Partner Employment Working Group bringing armed forces organisations together to find solutions for issues and launch the first ever families awards - Celebrating Forces Families.

 

Sarah is a ambassador for the Armed forces covenant, supporting business to pledge there support and work through the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. In 2020 Sarah launched the Chamber Military Network to further Advocate the Armed forces covenant via the Chamber of Commerce network. Sarah is now lead for the Gold Award Association Employer Engagement group.

Matt is the owner and CEO of Brigantes Group.  Brigantes covers key areas of on    

   the man capability which includes extreme cold weather equipment to drones.  They are heavily involved in capability development and the evolution of  

 land forces.

 

A former regular Royal Marines Officer Royal Marines Reserve he saw active service in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Whilst as a reservist he mobilised for a second  time to Afghanistan. He trained within media operations and was involved in the military support to the London Olympics and also delivered command training to regular Royal Marines.

 

Matt founded Brigantes in January 2014 . Before branching off from the family business he was the International Sales Director for Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) and grew sales across Europe and Japan.

 

​Matt supports Heropreneurs with business start-up workshops, which help service leavers and their families identify and develop business ideas and concepts so that they can establish successful businesses themselves.

Sean has worked in the financial services industry for 20 years.  Before financial services, he served as an Officer in British Army in a variety of locations and roles. Now at Canaccord Genuity Wealth, an Internationally focused Canadian firm. Leads a team of specialists who work closely with private clients, Charities, dedicated intermediaries, Law firms, Accountants & Family advisers. Multi asset specialist with global focus from previously held positions at UBS, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. 

 

Currently Chair of DFM Connect, the discretionary fund management Industry think-tank. He holds trustee & advisory board positions at several charities, Regimental Associations, City institutions and as an Ambassador for the Investment industry Diversity Project. Sean was recently recognised for his Military Charity work by a Prime Minister’s ‘Points of Light’ Award in 2021. In addition to various STEM & ESG advocacy projects, a thought leader in the City Veterans space, Sean commentates regularly on City & Macro events.

James Matthews
Defence and Security Technology Lead, PA Consulting

James leads PA Consulting’s Defence and Security technology business after spending the last
20 years delivering from research to product development.  James has a deep understanding
of a wide range of technical disciplines and combines this with broad consulting skills to support
a variety of clients. He has a track record in delivering projects across the engineering lifecycle
from generating innovative concepts, research and development through to new product
development and including technical strategy and portfolio management. In addition to working
primarily in the Defence and Security sector, with good long-term engagements with MoD,
industrial and Government clients, he also has experience working across sectors such as
consumer, transport and the energy sector. Confident in leading teams and particularly
motivated by bringing together the right, diverse set of skills together to meet client challenges.

He is founder of the Veterans’ Foundation and co-founder of the Veterans’ Lottery.  Since 2016, the Veterans’ Foundation has raised and given almost £12M to members of the armed forces community who are in need.

David Shaw

CEO, The Veterans' Foundation

David Shaw concluded his military career as the Major General commanding 2nd Division in 2012.

 

He is co-founder of the award-winning veterans’ charity Launchpad, which helps mainly homeless veterans move into successful independent living, via Launchpad’s houses in Newcastle upon Tyne, Liverpool and, since May 2022, Durham.  

 

He is founder of the Veterans’ Foundation and co-founder of the Veterans’ Lottery.  Since 2016, the Veterans’ Foundation has raised and given almost £12M to members of the armed forces community who are in need.