Business Leader – Sponsored by Leadership & Management Wales.

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The Inspire Wales Awards are an initiative of the Institute of Welsh Affairs in association with the Western Mail.

To celebrate the achievements of the men and women throughout Wales who make a significant contribution to society, the Institute of Welsh Affairs has teamed up with the Western Mail for the Inspire Wales Awards. The awards reward those in the fields of business, education, science, arts and media, the environment and sport, as well as seeking champions in citizenship and young achievers. Entries are encouraged from the public, private and voluntary sectors. In this profile, we reveal the finalists in the Business Leader category.

Lynda Campbell
In the face of the recession Ms Campbell has risen to the challenge and has steered British Gas’ flagship Cardiff-based customer service centre into a very healthy position. As its general manager, responsible for 1,400 members of staff, she has helped establish the centre as one of the most decorated in Europe with numerous awards to its name. Ms Campbellcame from an inner city area and did not have the opportunity to go university, making her rise to the top of the pile even more impressive. In her role she has delivered the best results across British Gas in customer retention, customer advocacy scores and employee engagement. As a result of her achievements she has been elected to sit on the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) council for Wales and more recently she was elected to the Welsh Contact Centre Forum board, which promotes the growth of contact centres in attracting new investment in Wales. In the future Ms Campbellhopes to take her role out into the local community and inspire other women who have not gone done the traditional university route to enter into business.

Hayley Parsons
As founder of internet comparison website gocompare.com, Ms Parsons has proved businesses can thrive even during a recession. In just three and a half years the former office clerk has seen the website develop from an idea conceived around a kitchen table, to a small business where new starters had to assemble their own desks, to a company of 84 employees. Having been part of the development of rival website confused.com, Ms Parsons clearly knows what it takes to succeed despite not having any formal training and having learnt most of her skills on the job. Since day one of gocompare.com she has attempted to instil an open and honest culture with every one of her employees and has created a thriving and relaxed environment. All the hard work put in by Ms Parsons and her team has seen gocompare.com become the only comparison site recognised by the British Insurance Brokers’ Association.

Alison Love
Mother-of-two Alison Love is a prime example that work and personal life can be juggled and can flourish alongside one another. With two teenage sons, Ms Love is on the go many hours of the day but she has still managed to forge a successful business career. As partner head of employment of Cardiff-based Hugh James Solicitors, Ms Love manages a budget of more than £200,000 and directs a team of 16. When she joined the firm it had no employment department but now there is a highly regarded and well recognised team in the sector. She is passionate about employee development and has been responsible for implementing training across the organisation. One of the most significant programmes she has introduced is 360 appraisals – where employees are given feedback by peers as well as their managers and supervisors. Ms Love is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management and has contributed to leadership training modules as part of the University of Wales leadership programme.

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Copy written by Sam Malone, Media Wales. Photos supplied courtesy of Media Wales.

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