Maria Thomas wins FirstPro 2015

Maria Thomas of Barclays Bank was named Coventry & Warwickshire FirstPro 2015 at a glittering gala dinner at the Ricoh Arena on 23 April.

Taking place every April, the FirstPro Awards recognise and celebrate the most talented individuals working in Coventry and Warwickshire’s professional and financial services community.

The FirstPro must be more than simply excellent at his or her job. The winners have contributed to the community outside the workplace, supported others and shown an active commitment to the region. They also need to posses the intangible x-factor.

Maria is ‘an irreplaceable member of the team’ who exhibits outstanding behaviours. An active board member of the Coventry Business Improvement District she is driving up footfall in the city centre and consistently supports a wide range of community projects and activities. The judges were particularly impressed by her willingness to step forward and assume responsibility beyond her remit. She supported a personal customer who had attempted suicide, bringing together Age UK and Barclays retail collections team to re-structure the personal loan repayments.

The competition was particularly tough this year, with close to 4o entries across the five categories.

The generosity of those present meant £2,000 was raised for Coventry and District Samaritans, which is being matched funded by Barclays Bank.

The five award categories are:

Finance Professional – Sponsored by Band Hatton Button

Legal Professional – Sponsored by Barclays

Property Professional – Sponsored by Wright Hassall

Business Services Professional – Sponsored by  Coventry CORE

Young Professional – Sponsored by Shakespeares

The drinks reception was sponsored by Coventry and Warwickshire LEP and our Associate Sponsors are Cranfield Business Recovery, Dafferns Chartered Accountants and Harrison Beale & Owen

 

2016 Winners

Highly Commended

FirstPro of the Year

SQJenny simpson

Jenny Simpson

First Pro of the Year: Jenny Simpson, Stewart Fletcher & Barrett

Jenny Simpson, a Client Manager at Stewart Fletcher & Barrett, has been named FirstPro 2016.  Jenny joined the firm straight from school in 2009.  Last year was an exceptional year for Jenny.  At the age of just 22 she passed her exams to become ACA qualified, was promoted to Client Manager and now co-runs the firm͛s Coventry office, managing a team of four and looking after nearly 200 clients.   

Jenny is a pillar of the local community. She runs a local Brownie unit, stepping in when the previous ͚Brown Owl͛ retired to secure the future of the group.  She has also served as a  parish councillor for her local area, her support for her community being acknowledged in 2012 when she was selected to carry the Olympic Torch.

Business Services Professional

SQPhil Ewing

Phil Ewing

Business Services Professional: Phil Ewing, Harrison Beale & Owen

Phil Ewing is one of the driving forces behind HB&O, a strong ‘medium’ sized accountancy firm, and leads their Coventry office.  Phil is excellent at building networks in the business community, always presenting a very human front to his working relationships. Whilst a ‘good company man’ he goes beyond the normal representational role, and in his spare time devotes no small effort to the cause of the Heart of England Trust, along with other personal charity work.

 

 

Financial Professional

Rachel cropped (3)

Rachel Horner

Financial Professional: Rachel Horner, SFB Group

Rachel Horner is Director of SFB Tax Solutions Limited, part of The SFB Group. Rachel, who has over 15 years’ experience advising UK and international businesses, set up SFB Tax Solutions 18 months ago in response to a local need for specialised tax advice.

Rachel has recently launched a wellbeing programme for staff at The SFB Group, which has been instrumental in maintaining high staff motivation and happiness levels at the firm. Rachel is also supporting the Mary Ann Evans Hospice this year and will be taking part in the Strictly Learn To Dance competition.

 

Legal Professional

SQEmma Gamble

Emma Gamble

Legal Professional: Emma Gamble, Shakespeare Martineau

Emma is an outstanding contributor to the business, her team and to the community in her charitable fund raising.  She has climbed the ladder to partnership in Shakespeare Martineau through hard work and a unique approach, bringing to bear her previous career experience working for a property investment company in Australia and then in the sales team of a leading Midlands housing association.  Her management skills have developed a highly motivated and proactive team and she is always the first to organise charitable fund raising events.

 

 

Property Services Professional

Paul Rice

Paul Rice

Property Services Professional: Paul Rice, Wright Hassall

Paul Rice is the Team Head of the rural department and a Partner at Wright Hassall. He advises on buying, selling and leasing of property as well as all aspects of domestic and European Legislation as it impacts on farming and rural businesses. Paul took over as chairman of CLA Warwickshire in August 2014 and has previously held the position of Warwickshire NFU Chairman. Paul is a director of the Warwickshire Rural Hub, a community interest company set up to help rural businesses develop innovative, profitable and market led enterprises. He also chairs the rural sub group of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

 

 

Young Professional

SQJenny simpson

Jenny Simpson

First Pro of the Year: Jenny Simpson, Stewart Fletcher & Barrett

Jenny Simpson, a Client Manager at Stewart Fletcher & Barrett, has been named FirstPro 2016.  Jenny joined the firm straight from school in 2009.  Last year was an exceptional year for Jenny.  At the age of just 22 she passed her exams to become ACA qualified, was promoted to Client Manager and now co-runs the firm͛s Coventry office, managing a team of four and looking after nearly 200 clients.   

Jenny is a pillar of the local community. She runs a local Brownie unit, stepping in when the previous ͚Brown Owl͛ retired to secure the future of the group.  She has also served as a  parish councillor for her local area, her support for her community being acknowledged in 2012 when she was selected to carry the Olympic Torch.