star with shadow

How does judging work

We have complied a list of frequently answered questions which outlines how the system works below. 

  • How does the system work?
    The Thames Valley Business & Community Awards attract nominations from across the region. We get nominees from Oxford right down to London and from a variety of industries, sectors and company sizes.

    We promote the awards via our regional database of 40,000 businesses, our Thames Vallley business show’s and through our regional partners and sponsors.

    The process of entering the awards is as follows:

    1. Look at what categories’ best suits either yourself or the nominee you want to nominate
    2. Complete the nomination form to the best of your ability and make sure you provide correct contact details for the nominee. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the details that are required as we will request and give an opportunity for the nominee to supply additional supporting information at a later stage.
    3. Once the nomination form is completed, we will send the nominee a confirmation email advising that they have been nominated.
    4. The nominee will then receive a digital badge/logo stating that they have been nominated in the relevant category for them to promote and advertise. 
    5. The nominated is then put forward for the shortlisting process.
    6. If the nominee is shortlisted, we will contact them and advise accordingly. We also send them a shortlisted nominee badge/icon and details of the awards ceremony.
    7. We announce all shortlisted nominees publicly on the website and via our press releases.
    8. We will give all shortlisted nominees an opportunity to submit additional supporting information for final judging.
    9. Judges meet virtually for the final decision on winners. We would encourage all shortlisted nominees to attend the awards ceremony as the winners will be announced on the night.
    10. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony and presented with certificates and award. All shortlisted nominees that attend the awards ceremony will also be presented with a certificate and have an opportunity for press features. 
  • How do I nominate someone?
    The nomination process is simple, go onto the award category page of the website and look through to see what category or categories are most relevant and applicable to yourself or nominee.
    Once you have chosen your category/categories, please click on nominate now button which will take you to our nomination form.

    Once you are at the stage of completing the form, you can select multiple categories that you feel are appropriate for your nomination. Please be advised that if you do choose multiple categories, you must include relevant details for each category within the subject boxes provided.

    Once you have completed all the nomination form, press submit nomination then your nominated is entered. We will send a confirmation email to the nominee advising that they have been entered into this year's awards.
  • How do I become a sponsor?

    Becoming a sponsor is simple and very rewarding.
    We have different sponsorship packages such as:

    • Main Award Sponsorship which includes a judging position
    • Category Sponsorship which includes 5 tickets and an opportunity to present the category award.
    • Prize sponsorship, we have various auction and raffle prizes that we use on the night of the awards to raise money for the selected charities / non – profit groups.

    If you are looking at category sponsorship, firstly, you need to look through the categories and see which one you would like to sponsor and then contact us to see if it is still available.
    You can call us on 0843 289 4634 or email
    All the money raised from the awards is donated to charity / non-profit groups. Your sponsorship makes a huge difference and enables us to get back to the neediest in our society.

  • Can I nominate someone outside the Thames Valley area

    You can nominate anyone that does business, charity or community work within the area. For example, that nominee may have a business that operates within the area, but they live outside of the region. Or it is maybe a national charity; however, they have a presence/operation within the region.

    For every nominee, you need to be able to demonstrate the impact they have or are making to the region. Any nominees that are not based in the Thames Valley or are not associated with the region will be disqualified.

Our Judges and Hosts

  • PAUL112
    Paul Waite
    Paul Waite (CEO of Aspen Waite)

    Paul is a driven and passionate individual with a wealth of experience across a range of the UK and International industries and sectors.

    Paul has a strong background in International business, marketing, and accounting. Paul specializes in working with SMEs and has a proven track record in helping them to grow and succeed.  Having worked for two of “the big four”, Paul has gained a national reputation within the accountancy sector, his experience and industry knowledge has lead him on to work with any sized company throughout the UK. He has taken Aspen Waite into the top 100 accountancy firms and Aspen Waite has been one of the 3 fastest Growing companies in its sector for the last 3 years in a row. Paul has diverse interests outside of professional services most notably radio. 
     Paul has over 27yrs entrepreneurial experience and has worked for some of the world’s biggest brands. Most recently he has successfully grown his company to be one of the UK top 100 accountancy firms and one of the top fastest growing firms within 2019.
    Paul knows from experience that launching and growing a business is an incredible adventure. There are euphoric highs, but also crippling lows. He is looking forward to celebrating all the achievements of this year’s nominees!
  • Natalie1
    Natalie Gayle (Presenter Sky TV)
    Natalie Gayle (Presenter Sky TV)
    Natalie Gayle is a Presenter and DJ from London who has worked for several leading brands and networks. She is currently a presenter for Sky Arts on the interview series “Unmuted” and an award-winning actress.
    Natalie recently joined the Aspen Waite team to boost the groups ambitions to be a media, film and publishing force. She is a business relationship manager, a DJ on Aspen Waite radio and is shortly to present the first
    Aspen Waite documentary.
    On the radio, Natalie has previously been heard on the UKs leading uncensored station Fubar Radio as well as West London’s leading station Westside Radio and Vibe 107.6FM. She currently presents a weekly DJ mix show on dance music station Select UK and can also be heard on Aspen Waite Radio (Fri 1-4pm). She has also made it to the top 10 of Kiss FM's 'Kiss Chosen One' in 2019 at the
    presenter academy.
     As a DJ, Natalie has played all around the UK and out in the party capital of Ibiza. She has DJ’d and presented at numerous festivals both in the UK and Europe that includes Hideout (Croatia), Reading, Wireless, Wilderness and Eastern Electrics.
    Natalie has a vast knowledge of music extending across Urban, Dance and Pop. Her latest show that she presented was an online speed dating show for international dating app Badoo. The 3 episodes have
    already accumulated over a million views on YouTube.
  • tina1
    Tina Fincham
    Tina has over 20yrs of experience working with SMEs across the UK. Within her career she has been an legal advocate for businesses, provided
    counselling for entrepreneurs and a serial philanthropist.
    Working predominantly within the banking and finance sector Tina brings a wealth of experience to the judging panel. After many years of working for Natwest Bank, Direct Line and now for Aspen Waite Tina knows the
    struggles and triumphs that all the nominees would have experience on their entrepreneurial journey.

    Now as the PA to our main sponsor’s CEO Paul Waite of Aspen Waite, Tina is this year’s head judge.
    now is also a market leader within her industry.
  • Jackie New
    Jackie Chappell
    Jackie Chappell was the first woman CEO of British Rail. Jackie has smashed the glass ceiling, worked with UK prime ministers, cabinet members and union bosses.

    Jackie can tell it like it is a woman in business today. She has been at the coalface of British industry, worked her way to the top in a corporate environment, and (most recently) set up her own business which is now also a massive success within the region. Jackie has fought passionately for gender equality, equal pay and equal representation at the board level. Having worked with previous prime ministers, cabinet members and trade union bosses Jackie Chappell provides a unique “voice” for women in business on some of the industry stories hitting the headlines, as well as offering expert advice and expertise on how to get ahead in business today.

    Jackie bring a unique voice to the panel both for Women in Business but also for the charity / community sector as she is an ambassador for Women in Business and National Charity Sue Ryder.
  • Ed1
    Michael Hill
    Michael Hill JUDGE
    Michael is the great grandson of Edward Hill, founder of Hills Waste Solutions and joined the family business in August
    1994 after spending several years in Bristol working for the accountancy firm KPMG. Mike graduated from Brunel University with a joint honours degree in European Business Management and Spanish and in 2004 graduated from the University of Bath with an MBA. Mike became Group chief executive in April 2008.

    Hills has come a long way since Edward Hill started his one-man business manufacturing bricks in 1900.
    Based for most of the last century in Swindon, the company expanded into haulage, quarrying and eventually waste management. Edward could hardly have imagined that, four generations of his family later, the business would have evolved into a multi-million pound operation, harnessing the latest technologies, pioneering major infrastructure projects such as the Northacre Resource Recovery Centre (Wiltshire’s first mechanical and biological waste treatment plant) and employing nearly 400 people across western and southern England.

    Hills is proud to provide jobs and homes for local people, supply materials for the construction industry and contribute significantly to the regional economy and local communities. Hills also care passionately about the environment, and about minimising any impacts on its neighbours.

    While there have been many changes since 1900 the same qualities of energy, enterprise, affability and confidence with which Hills was founded, still characterise it today. Hills’ people remain the greatest asset of the business as it looks confidently to the future.
  • Jacynth
    Jacynth Ivey
    acynth is the Founder & CEO of Jacynth Ivey Global and Inspiring Hope. She is a Multi-Award-Winning Transformational Leader, Coach, Author, Mentor and sought-after Inspirational Speaker. As Founder of Inspiring Hope, Jacynth works with Businesses, Public Services and Corporate Companies to create Peak Performance Environments & Sustainable Work Life Balance Initiatives. As Chair and Non-Executive Director of a few charitable organisations, Jacynth strives to ensure a thriving community for all.

    A former Public Service Executive Director, Jacynth has been invited to speak to large international audiences and has delivered highly engaging and insightful keynotes to various organisations. She is the author of the long-awaited book - “Its ok to be different: reignite your passion, fulfil your dreams” which provides the reader with seven life changing habits to confidently step forward into successful living.

    Jacynth has over 30+ years of experience as a senior leader within government, commercial, third sector organisations and SME’s. She previously worked in the National Health System of the UK in senior nursing, midwifery, as a health visitor, lecturer, speaker and advocate. Over the many years she has supported, national bodies, large corporate organisations, charities, entrepreneurs and senior leaders. Her accredited programmes address leadership, successful living and inclusion
  • Christina
    Christina Briggs
    Christian is the CEO of New World insights. Christina is known across the region as a specialist that uses strategic interventions with her international client base. Previously with Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce as Director of External Affairs, she campaigned for Crossrail, Heathrow expansion, and Investment in digital infrastructure. She also founded several respected initiatives for her brand name, international client base. The forums include Windsor Debates, Business Alliance, The International Energy Forum. Her spectrum of knowledge is both wide and deep and primarily focuses on the sharing of knowledge in areas of artificial intelligence, technology, inward investment, global expansion, leveraging talent, online digital marketing and knowledge transfer covering a cross section of industries and markets.

    After working in the region with some of the world biggest global brands and SME’s for over 20yrs Christina brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the judging panel.
  • Lynsey
    Lynsey Jones (CEO of Quote4Energy)
    Author and Award Winning Female Entrepreneur Lynsey Jones has an incredible story of survival! Having climbed the corporate ladder for one of the UK’s biggest corporates, survived terminal cancer and launched her own business Lynsey knows the strength, courage and determination it takes to be successful!

    Lynsey’s enterprising experience is insightful and brings a dynamic approach to the judging panel.
  • Sandra 1
    Sandra Berns (CEO of Centric HR)
    Sandra has both Operational and Strategic HR expertise across Public and Private sectors and has assisted senior teams in meeting challenging workforce objectives in many corporate environments.

    Having worked with thousands of SMEs and some of the world’s biggest brands Sandra brings a huge amount of experience and knowledge to the judging panel.

    Having experience in a corporate background, Sandra has had exposure to a wide variety of employment issues from attraction and retention to exit strategies and dealing with contentious and complicated cases.
  • Anita Jaynes
    Anita Jaynes
    Anita Jaynes is a highly respected media entrepreneur within the South West.

    At only 31, Anita has a wealth of experience under her belt. Her passion for media started at the tender age of 15 when she joined Bath Hospital Radio as a volunteer presenter for Royal United Hospital and Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases. Her passion for radio grew and developed, and she flourished there for 10 years, during her GCSEs, A levels and University.

    After her studies, Anita worked at BBC Radio Wiltshire and BBC Bristol, which lead to paid contract work across both TV and Radio. Anita learnt the crafts of the trade inside out by working in multiple roles within various companies within the South West, from freelancing as a reporter to working in sales.

    Anita launched her own media group which now produces the region’s leading business publications for Swindon, Wiltshire, Bath, Bristol and Somerset. Through her entrepreneurial passion, The Business Exchange group continues to thrive and is expanding its readership on a monthly basis.

    Anita brings unique insight to the judging panel, which is both entrepreneurial and media (PR) focused.
  • greg award
    Greg Robinson
    Greg Robinson is the editor of SME Today which is a national digital publication for UK SMEs. Greg has over 30 yrs running multiple businesses and vast experience working within digital media!

    SME Today is read by over 90,000 subscribers every month and the website can attract 50,000+ unique visitors each month (100,000+ website page views monthly).

    SME Today provides its readers with the latest news, high profile interviews, industry insights and sound business advice. Our features, reports and surveys give an in-depth look at topical business issues through genuine experiences providing actionable information, insight, and inspiration.