The People Awards

Meet the Judges

We're committed to honest and transparent judging...

The finalists and winners of The Business Travel People Awards are selected by a panel of independent and impartial judges.

They are astute and highly-respected figures representing a range of knowledge, expertise and skills from across the business travel sector.

To ensure complete impartiality, each judge is required to declare any conflicts of interest to the Judges Chair before being given access to the submissions. Each judge is then allocated specific categories and will extensively study each entry in that category.
Judges score and comment on each submission and this will be used to determine which candidates will be shortlisted.

Successful nominees are contacted in person towards the end of May before the final shortlist is announced on and in The Business Travel Magazine.

The number of shortlisted candidates in each category will depend on the quality of the entries.

Judges then get together in early July to choose the winners.
Shortlisted candidates for the Rising Star and Shining Star categories are also interviewed in person by the judges before a winner is chosen.

Following tradition, the winners of the previous year’s Rising Star Award will also help with the judging.

Our Judges

The People Awards

Leigh Cowlishaw, Judges Chair

Joint Managing Partner of business travel consultancy Black Box Partnerships, Leigh has more than 25 years’ experience in travel, accommodation, and meetings. Cowlishaw is former Chair of the HBAA, and is Global Supplier Partnership Director for the Advantage Travel Partnership.

The People Awards

Bex Deadman

Bex is an Independent Consultant. Her career in travel spans 20 years, working with corporates to design robust, sustainable travel management programmes.  Recognised as an industry disruptor for challenging traditional value propositions and commercial models, she leads a group of industry professionals in the development of certification standards in Travel Risk Management.  She is the host of Talk’n TRM the Podcast and its sister podcast, The Traveller Files and has launched the Travel Risk Academy, a place to educate, inspire and qualify those involved in the management of travel programmes.

The People Awards

Carol Fergus

Carol is Director of Global Travel, Events and Ground Transportation for Fidelity International with over 30 years Travel experience. Carol has an MSc in Facilities Management and is CIPS qualified. Recently appointed on the GBTA Europe Advisory board, she is also Vice Chair of their Diversity Equality & Inclusion strand as well as Co-Leading the TAMS DI&E group. She has written and critiqued key topics in various travel magazines, sat on panels, steering committees and spoken at many industry events. 

The People Awards

Carolyn Pearson

Carolyn is the founder and CEO of Maiden Voyage and is recognised as one of the world leaders in inclusive travel safety. She launched her company in 2008 after her own experiences of travelling solo during her career leading tech teams for companies such as easyJet and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Over the years Carolyn has contributed industry-wide on the inclusive travel risk and safety agenda, having spent a number of years on the GBTA Risk Committee and is a well-known speaker and media contributor. She was the winner of the Chair’s Award at the 2022 Business Travel People Awards.

The People Awards

Clive Wratten

Clive was appointed to the position of Chief Executive of The BTA in 2019. Clive joined The BTA from private equity backed travel partnership company Amber Road, where he was Chief Executive Officer. Clive spent eight years as General Manager UK at Etihad Airways. Clive joined Etihad Airways from HRG as Head of International Business Group and has also held senior positions with Gulf Air, Qantas and British Airways.

The People Awards

Dani Ives

Dani began her career age 19 in the Marine travel sector with Instone International. She soon moved into supplier relations at ATPI before moving to Advantage Travel Partnership, where she was named in the ‘TTG 30 Under 30’, and then onto Focus Travel Partnership as Events Manager in 2020. Dani was promoted to Commercial Manager with Focus in 2023 having undertaken a variety of roles within the partnership including technology supplier relations, PR, Social Media, and the ongoing Focus Events planning. In 2021 Dani won the first ever coveted Shining Star award at the Business Travel People Awards, highlighting her continued exceptional dedication and contributions in the Business Travel industry.

The People Awards

Danny Cockton

Danny is Vice President, Global Travel Services at Wood PLC, and a co-founder of the People Awards. He has previously held commercial roles with Amex GBT and Agiito as well as serving ITM since 2005 in various capacities.

The People Awards

Darren Jeacock

Darren is an Assistant Director in the global Supply Chain Services team at EY. As Travel Supplier Manager for the Asia-Pacific and EMEIA region, he is responsible for sourcing, implementation and supplier management for air, hotels, corporate housing, and ground for the region. He began his career in travel at EY, as an Assistant Travel Manager over 10 years ago. Before joining EY, Darren worked at Marks & Spencer PLC and J. Sainsbury’s PLC.


The People Awards

Emma Lamb

Emma is the Global Travel Safety & Security Specialist for Milestone Tech @ Facebook, looking at all areas of travel risk best practices, training and education. She was previously the Global Travel Safety and Security Coordinator at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for seven years, helping to build and establish the Travel Safety Program.  

The People Awards
Francesca Mendola Francesca Mendola is Vice President of Global Travel Collection UK. She joined as Business Development Manager in 2015 and during her eight years at GTC UK she has been promoted twice – to Global Account Manager, Director of Account Management, and then to her current role. She was voted Rising Star in The Business Travel People Awards 2023 in recognition of her aptitude and aspirations to become a business leader of the future.
The People Awards

James Foice

James is the CEO of the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers, the trade body for serviced apartments. James has 37 years’ experience in the hospitality and travel sector and has orchestrated the introduction of the International Serviced Accommodation Accreditation Process (ISAAP) which has 154 participants, in 27 countries.  

The People Awards

Jan T. Jacobsen

With 26 years of senior-level and entrepreneurial career experience in the global hospitality and travel industries, Jan offers a wealth of expertise in sourcing, procurement, vendor management and programme development. A Corporate Travel Manager specialising in multi-national programme management in the corporate travel and meetings sector, he is currently Global Category Director Travel & Mobility Accenture.  

The People Awards
Juliet Price

Juliet has enjoyed a successful and varied career in hospitality and events, working with hotels as well as with venue finding, events and online agencies. In 2011 she joined her husband as co-director of Polygon Consulting and has worked closely with industry association beam (formally known as HBAA) for several years as a consultant Executive Director and now Development Consultant.

The People Awards

Lee Whiteing

Lee worked at HSBC for 27 years, of which 15 years were spent in travel. For his last 6 years he was the Global Head of Travel Operations. In this role he oversaw the creation of a global team and policy, consolidated TMCs and saw his team achieve outstanding NPS scores across all of their stakeholders. In April 2021 Lee starts a new role as the Commercial Director for Global Secure Accreditation, a company that specialises in accrediting hotels on their safety, security and cleanliness on an unbiased and independently verified basis.  


The People Awards

Lynne Griffiths

CEO of Sirius Talent Solutions, Lynne began her career in the travel industry as a trainee business travel consultant in 1984, progressing through senior management roles to Managing Director of a leading TMC. In 2003, Lynne founded Sirius; a specialist recruitment and headhunting firm dedicated to the business travel industry. In response to the global pandemic, Sirius introduced additional services, including outsourced HR, training, coaching and mentoring programmes, winning the company the Business Transformation Initiative of the Year in the 2021 Business Travel People Awards. Lynne was also recognised for her contribution to, and support of, the business travel industry by winning the Shining Star Award in 2022. 

The People Awards
Merv Moonien Merv is a travel and finance specialist with more than 20 years’ experience overseeing various corporate companies’ EMEA and global travel programmes. He is currently Travel and Fleet Manager at TJX and previously worked for EY, JLL and CWT. He is an active member of ITM and an ambassador for the Black Scottish Professionals.
The People Awards

Sonia Michaels

Sonia is Head of Business Travel Services and Events for the Advantage Travel Partnership with 25 years’ experience working in the travel industry. Sonia joined Advantage in 2009, originally appointed as Business Development Executive but quickly progressed to Corporate Relationship Manager, before moving into the Head of Business Travel role in 2014. Currently, Sonia is responsible for the consortium’s overall business travel and events proposition. Sonia was appointed to the Level UK Leadership team in April 2019.