Sponsored by Bunzl Catering & Hospitality Division
EMMA WILLIAMS, GREEN & FORTUNE
As director of operations for Green & Fortune at Kings Place in London, an events venue and hub for music, art, dialogue and food, Emma Williams has overall responsibility for all the company's 110 employees. All departments report directly to her, and with the business running conferences, meetings, private parties and corporate hospitality, as well as the Green & Fortune Cafe and the Rotunda bar and restaurant, she has her work cut out.
John Nugent, chief executive of Green & Fortune, describes her as a "born leader", who is both liked and respected by those that work for her. She has been instrumental in growing revenue at Kings Place by 18% in 2014-15, driving sales across the business.
Such is the range of her achievements - controlling costs, nurturing and developing new members of staff, taking a role in the recent refurbishment of the Rotunda, identifying new business opportunities, devising the Rotunda's successful summer campaigns - it is hard to pick out one above the rest.
One of her most recent projects - and one of her biggest - has been to manage the renovation of a new space. Taking an existing space in the building and creating a new office as well as a private dining/executive meeting room, she worked closely with the designer and off-site project manager to co-ordinate the works over a 10-week period so as not to interfere with the day-to-day business and Green & Fortune's existing event bookings in adjoining rooms.
She fronted two working groups for each space. For the new event venue this involved co-ordinating the operational delivery, which included equipment, standard operational procedures and menus, and supporting the marketing manager and business development director in the sales and marketing strategy.
For the office, she worked hard to ensure a better working environment for all staff, working with the designer on an economical but comfortable layout, with great design elements that not only function for the team now, but provide an environment that can facilitate growth for years to come.
"Emma's presence and persona personify all the positives of the hospitality business," said Nugent. "Poised, caring and articulate, Emma juggles the complex nature of her role in a manner that represents the business in a confident and competent way."
What the judges said
"Emma really came to life in the submission. Her energy, drive and sheer force of will have made a huge impact on her team's development and on business performance. Emma is clearly the beating heart at Kings Place."
Andy Harris, ISS Group
"This category had a host of excellent candidates, but Emma showed a tenacity and drive that are not found often. Her financial performance was consistently above expectation."
Renier Oberholzer, Harbour & Jones
"Emma is clearly very hands-on and always goes above and beyond the expected. She's clearly resourceful and inspirational. Does she ever sleep? A worthy winner and a positive role model for our industry."
Lin Dickens, Bartlett Mitchell
- Nerida Antoniou, Lexington Catering
- Neil Jones, Centerplate
- Ed Walker, BaxterStorey
- Emma Williams, Green & Fortune
- 2014 Jamie Stevenson, BaxterStorey
- 2013 Renier Oberholzer, Harbour & Jones