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Acorn Winner 2006: Kathy Lawton

27 April 2006
Acorn Winner 2006: Kathy Lawton

Kathy Lawton
Age: 24
Position: Project manager, Sodexho Defence Services

Career to date… A 2:1 business studies graduate from Sheffield Hallam University, Lawton spent her degree placement year in conference and banqueting with the Hilton Group before joining the Sodexho graduate programme in 2003. Key client placements while she was on the course were Wellington College and Royal Ascot and, on completion of the programme, she joined Sodexho Defence as a development manager.

Over the past 18 months, she has been part of the team that has developed the new Sodexho Defence Services brand, progressing on to the project management of specific contracts, including her current one for the Royal Navy.

Why is she a winner? In a short period of time at Sodexho, Lawton has continually pushed herself to develop new skills, learning how to recruit, manage and develop a small team of people - maximising both her team's potential and the business potential of the company.

Specifically, she was integral to first developing the identity of the Sodexho Services brand and then securing for Sodexho 75% of the business tendered by the Ministry of Defence since the brand's launch. Successes include the £140m contract to deliver services to the Royal Navy, which she is project-managing.

Away from the day job, Lawton has worked with Kingswood High School in Hull, giving seminars on healthy eating and encouraging students to enter the hospitality industry, and securing a budget from Sodexho to create a classroom restaurant at the school. She has also continued to be involved with Sodexho's graduate programme, developing content and becoming a mentor for new employees.

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