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 Sodexoâ€™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, â€œThe 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.â€
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 â€œIt was amazing. The best experience ever. Loved, loved, loved it! Thank you to everyone who made it happen.â€
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 â€“ 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.