Maggie is CEO of The Women’s Organisation, a social business dedicated to supporting more women to start and grow their own businesses. She is responsible for the overall strategic development of the business and have been actively involved in business development and economic development policy influencing on an international, national and local basis.
Dame Angela Eagle DBE is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Wallasey since the 1992 general election. Eagle was born in Yorkshire and studied PPE at the University of Oxford, before working for the CBI and then a trade union. Eagle was made a dame in the New Year Honours List for her parliamentary and political service.
Hetal (she/her) is a proud LGBTQ+ woman of Indian-Irish heritage who grew up on the Wirral. She is a Liverpool based associate and discrimination lawyer at Jackson Lees Group. Hetal is a small business owner and also a co-founder of an initiative called “What Does A Lawyer Look Like?”, which aims to increase accessibility and diversity of the legal profession. Hetal is a fierce driver of the diversity agenda both in her day job as JLG’s leader of the Diversity Committee and in her personal life. She is passionate about celebrating differences and creating a space where every person feels equal.
Carl Austin-Behan was born and raised in Manchester. On leaving school he worked in various retail roles before joining the Royal Airforce as a firefighter aged 19.
During active service Carl received a number of awards and recognition for his bravery and was mentioned in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 1996, with a Commander in Chief’s commendation.
In 2016 he was elected to the office of Lord Mayor of Manchester: the youngest in the city’s history, and the first openly gay Lord Mayor.
In recognition of his outstanding services to the LGBTQ+ Communities and equality across Greater Manchester, In 2018 Carl was awarded by The University of Bolton with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution.
In November 2019 Carl was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and more recently he received an OBE in the 2020 New Years Honours List for services to Charity, LGBTQ+ Equality and Communities.
Kenman is a start up business consultant, adoptive father of one, motivational speaker and mentor. He has supported hundreds of young people on their journey to becoming entrepreneurs through his work at The Princes Trust. Kenman has a passion for supporting individuals to achieve their goals and to become the very best version of themselves.
Harry is a Liverpool City Councillor and Director of Aspire Liverpool, a project working with disadvantaged students across Liverpool to inspire and support them through the Oxbridge University application process. Harry is also a qualified teacher and avid campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights & visibility
Warren is Executive Director at Wirral Chamber of Commerce, overseeing Policy & Global Trade and representing Wirral interests nationally and internationally. He was elected a Councillor in 2016 aged 18, he was one of the UK’s Youngest Elected Politicians and made history in the city region.
He has been named in the LCR’s 30 Under 30 list consecutively since 2016 and was listed in the LCR’s Top 100 Power List for the most influential people in the region.
Drew is the founder and managing director of luxury fragrance house OWEN DREW. He also founded the LGBTQ+ Business Awards and feels strongly that the LGBTQ+ community's contribution to the British economy needs greater acknowledgement and celebration. Drew believes passionately in the need to break down the stigma surrounding mental health and has been very public about his previous struggles with Bipolar.
LGBTQ+ ally Carol Johnson Eyre is the Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Advice Wirral. The Citizens Advice Bureau a network of 316 independent charities throughout the United Kingdom that give free, confidential information and advice to assist people with money, legal, consumer and other problems. Carol believes passionately in the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights.
Alex is Head of Marketing and Sales for a large accountancy firm in the UK and Ireland.
Alex started his career in Media and Advertising Sales Management for a large publishing company in the UK before taking a leadership role in Marketing for a local, North West, building society.
He leads the Marketing and Sales efforts of over 100 accountancy firms across the nation.
Alex is also On the committee for Stockport Pride and acts as their sponsorships manager
Paul Corcoran is founder and CEO of Agent; a 30-strong full-service brand and communications agency based in Liverpool.
In 2014, Paul founded Agent Academy CIC which helps young people kick start careers in the creative, digital and tech industries. Agent Academy has helped over 160 learners secure employment.
Paul is deputy chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, co-chair of the LEP’s creative and digital board, vice chair of Liverpool’s Everyman and Playhouse theatres, board member of the North West Business Leadership Team and Net Zero NW and an industry champion for the Policy and Evidence Centre for the Creative Industries.
Paul has won the Guardian’s “Sustainable Business Leader of the Year’ award and a number of other regional and national accolades for his work and social impact credentials.
Lesley Martin-Wright, Chief Executive, Knowsley Chamber of Commerce
Born and educated in the North East of England, Lesley has worked in Singapore, London, Liverpool and Knowsley and worked for several local businesses before starting her own consultancy company. Lesley spent years as Head of Marketing & Business Development at a Liverpool law firm before joining Knowsley Chamber as CEO in 2011. Lesley was appointed Head of Business Growth & Inward Investment at Knowsley Council in 2015 in a combined role with the Chamber. This unique role brings together a public and private sector partnership and a single front door for all types of business support in Knowsley. Lesley said: “I am delighted to be on the judging panel for the first LGBTQ+ Business Awards in the North West. We support an inclusive culture at Knowsley Chamber across all our activities and networks, where everyone is welcome. These regional awards will celebrate all that is good in and around the LGBTQ+ community and I’m extremely proud to represent The Chamber, and Knowsley as a judge.
Gareth Shenton-Harold began his career in business in 1998 at luxury retailer Selfridges in their Human Resources and Learning & Development departments as a trainer.
In 2007 he married his partner Colin Shenton and left The Co-operative Group to set up his own Learning & Development practice. In 2009 he joined The Riverside Group to deliver their Director Leadership Programme and worked with them till 2015 on various Human Resource and Learning Projects. In 2015 he joined the family business Shenton Group to open a business called Ziferblat in Manchester, the brand expanded quickly and won many awards. Following the success of Ziferblat (and a name change to Oppidan-Social) he adopted the group wide role as Operations Director.
Shenton Group is a highly diversified, international group of businesses operating in the United Kingdom and the Eastern Caribbean. Established in the mid 18th Century when the family moved from Derbyshire to Cheshire in 1749, the Shenton family farming businesses have evolved through the decades by adding real estate and hospitality to the portfolio.
Gareth has a passion for interiors and is always looking for another project.
Nikki Parry - Founder and Director of Be Well Learning, a Merseyside based training consultancy which specialises in supporting employers to implement policy and strategy to improve workplace wellbeing. This includes developing people in a wide range awareness courses from LGBTQ+, equality and diversity, understand disability and mental health issues, conditions and disorders.
Nikki is an active ally who supports LGBTQ+ inclusion. From raising awareness to training people, Nikki’s support for the LGBTQ+ community extends far beyond flying a Pride flag and has been actively involved in organising St Helens Pride for a number of years.
Nikki also volunteers as a mentor for Wirral based Open Door Charity. A multi award winning modern support service for children and young adults experiencing mental health issues and mental health illness.
Michael Skeggs is Operations Director of multi award-winning luxury fragrance brand Owen Drew. After working in banking and investments for several years, he left corporate life to join Drew in building the Owen Drew brand. Michael worked with Drew and took what was then a cottage industry from the metaphorical kitchen table to the national stage. Owen Drew is now sold in over 40 independent retailers nationwide with a cumulative turnover in excess of £1m.
Ben Osu is the strategy lead for leading anti-racism charity, the Anthony Walker Foundation, A charity which exists to tackle racism and support victims of hate crimes in communities across the North West. Ben has worked with national and international brands (O2, BBC, MOBO Awards, CultureLiverpool) to help them engage with communities across the country.
Rosie is the managing director of Kenyons, a marketing and PR agency based in Liverpool. Rosie is committed to nurturing an inclusive environment, with the team working on a range of projects that deliver positive creative impact. Before joining the family business, Rosie worked in Hong Kong in roles in the worlds of education and gaming, as well as sports and fitness back in the UK. In these roles, Rosie experienced the value of organisational culture and the significant impact a positive and inclusive environment can have on team wellbeing. These awards help to celebrate those taking positive action and extend the warm welcome of the LGBTQ+ community.
Keri has played an integral role in developing various businesses and initiatives across Liverpool City Region (LCR). This includes: delivering the first speed dating event in Liverpool solely for female identifying individuals; co-creating the brilliant Olliefest raising significant funds for charity; founding Liverpool Music Tours, as well as performing in, and managing, various musical groups.
Keri now works at Professional Liverpool, an organisation supporting business development across LCR. Since joining, Keri has improved the diversity and inclusion outcomes through developing recruitment process policies. Keri said:
‘It is important the young LGBTQ community have visible role models within the business community, this is why events like the LGBTQ+ Business Awards are so valuable’.