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Acorn winners 2016: Leanne Johnson, 29

01 July 2016
Acorn winners 2016: Leanne Johnson, 29

Non-food category manager, CH&Co Group

Nominated by Jonathan Williams, group purchasing director, CH&Co Group

Proudest moment "The succession of promotions over four years through three different roles that I worked so hard to achieve."

Greatest inspiration "My sister. She is very driven and has progressed up to a senior level in her career in a short space of time through hard work and dedication. She has continuously mentored and supported me in my career."

Ambition "I aim to lead a successful group of category managers within the catering industry. In the long term I aim to get to director level."

In the short time since joining CH&Co in November 2015, Leanne Johnson has worked with the contract caterer's supply chain to ensure it is delivering commercial benefits. She has a budget of £14m across the group's recruitment, disposables, design and build and events categories.

Already, she has carried out two major tenders for front and back-of-house disposables, which will deliver a £470,000 annual benefit. She is also finalising a tender for light and heavy catering equipment, which is set to deliver £260,000 annualised benefit.

Her fantastic commercial acumen is evident in her previous role at Serco. In 2013, Johnson delivered savings of £382,375 benefit as a buyer and in 2014 she delivered £297,974 even though she was on maternity leave for seven months. In 2015, she delivered £566,000 through projects including an initiative to standardise menus across eight prisons. She also worked on a food wastage project that used food reaching its sell-by date for the prisoner population. This delivered £75,000 of savings on yogurts alone.

Since joining CH&Co, Johnson continually looks for opportunities to improve the business. She asked to run the deli tender, working with executive chefs to ensure the company gets the best products under the best terms.

Johnson has exceptional people skills. While at Serco she implemented a purchasing helpdesk and managed a team of six, supporting both end-users and the category management team.

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