Star Awards

Sean Haley
Star Awards Group Photo
Sing Out Choir
Winners of HR commendation and Employee of the Year award

About the event


Bringing together 480 Sodexo employees for a night to remember, last year’s Star Awards honoured finalists and winners in 16 categories in total, all of whom have one thing in common: they bring our values to life and help Sodexo stand out from our competitors.

Held in Manchester for the first time – in the city’s iconic Principal Hotel – 2018’s event was hosted by Sodexo ambassador Matt Dawson alongside brand and communications director Melanie Duffett.

Awards and winners

Rising star award

Charlotte Platt

This award recognises an outstanding employee who has demonstrated the development of their skills and the subsequent benefits to their contract or department.

Charlotte Platt, management accountant, Finance

Asked to sum up her Rising Star Award win, Charlotte said it was “surreal”. Having been with the company for just 20 months, she had no expectations of picking up such a big accolade this quickly. “It’s been a whirlwind since I joined to be honest and to win this is just incredible. This is an amazing company and I understand it was one of the hardest fought categories. There was some tough competition.”

Charlotte wowed the judges with her energy and drive and has risen swiftly, stepping up to opportunities outside her everyday role, including becoming a communications champion, and taking part in a recruitment project.

The judges said Charlotte stood apart from other winners because of her ability to ‘set her own course’.  

Watch the Rising Star Awards finalsts video

Attending the Star Awards for the first time, Salford-based Charlotte said: “It’s obvious that a huge amount of effort has gone into tonight. Presenting the award to her, Matt Dawson said: “Sodexo’s future is safe knowing we have people like Charlotte working for us.”

Allan Tilley award

Jackie Reed

This prestigious award is a tribute to the memory of Alan Tilley, who epitomised loyal and devoted service and was awarded an OBE for his services to hospitality. It is given to an individual who has served the company consistently well for a considerable number of years and who has focused solidly on the performance of their duties.

Jackie Reed, head of design, Service Operations

The winner of the coveted Alan Tilley Award, Jackie Reed, received a standing ovation in the room in recognition of a Sodexo career that began nearly 40 years ago.

Watch the winner video

Jackie started off as a management trainee for Gardner Merchant, and has worked in a variety of roles, including sales, operations and marketing. According to the judges, Jackie embodies everything Sodexo stands for, and lives and breathes our values. She always delivers exceptional results, and is held in very high regard by colleagues.

It’s not Jackie’s first Star Award either – she picked up an Employee of the Year accolade five years ago. But she confessed this was the one that she really wanted. “My first reaction is ‘wow’. It just means a great deal to me,” said Jackie. “There are so many people in Sodexo worthy of The Alan Tilley Award, I thought there was no way I would win – I didn’t even tell my family and friends I was nominated! I can’t believe it. It’s an honour and a privilege.”

Regional chair's award

Regional chair's award

Regional chair Sean Haley selects the recipients for this special award, which recognises an individual or team for a contribution to Sodexo during the past 12 months which has been outstanding, and of significant value to the company. This year there are two winners.

Winner – Organisational Efficiency: Financial Shared Services, SoOne Project

Financial Shared Services has managed to deliver their day-to-day activities while at the same time being engaged in the region’s – and group’s – biggest finance project, SoOne. This involves moving the accounting shared service centre from Salford, Manchester to Porto in Portugal in March 2019.

The FSS team was praised for its commitment and engagement during such a challenging period and how, to ensure a smooth transition to Porto, they’ve been explaining their operating procedures and training Portuguese colleagues.

Winner – Organisational Growth:  Microsoft Solutions team, Corporate Services

This Corporate Services team was fundamental to winning the global Microsoft contract, successfully mobilised in July this year. The special team was created from across HR, Sales, Strategy, Operations and Service Operations along with expertise from colleagues in France and NORAM.

They worked alongside Microsoft to meet the needs of employees, and also developed a wider strategic partnership with the company, which means Sodexo can expand its offer to other clients.

The four-year contract provides integrated facilities management services to Microsoft across 16 countries, including the UK and Ireland where we are delivering services across 10 sites.


Matt Lucas

The Growth Award recognises someone who has made a significant contribution to growth in the region, demonstrating a personal commitment that goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Matt Lucas, head of energy, sustainability and innovation, Service Operations

Matt Lucas joined Sodexo just over a year ago – but what a year it’s been! His personal drive to spread knowledge and understanding about what the team offers has brought in more than £5 million of profitable growth.  

His focus on innovative energy services has led to new contracts across all segments, including one of Sodexo’s largest energy procurement contracts. His “monumental undertaking”, said judges, has transformed the Service Operations business.

Matt said of his win: “I’m shocked, amazed and humbled in equal measure. It’s been a superb night, with great energy in the room. Although I have only been with Sodexo for 15 months, what I’ve seen is deeply refreshing, particularly the commitment to quality of life. It’s a pleasure to work for the company and brilliant to be recognised among your peers in this way.”

Senior operational leader

Tony Eleftheriou

This award recognises an account manager or director who delivers excellent levels of performance, measured against 10 key business points.

Tony Eleftheriou, contract director, Defence and Government Affairs, Cyprus

Tony Eleftheriou won praise – and 2018’s Senior Operational Leader award – for leading by example and creating a one-team approach that has boosted employee engagement, and helped build business within the contract.

Tony was the first Sodexo employee based in Cyprus, 15 years ago, and has progressed through eight different roles to now lead a team of 800. Under his leadership, the team has strengthened its relationship with the client, which has been key to introducing new offers and services, increasing revenue and profitability as a result.

His focus on teamwork, honest and transparency, alongside recently introduced ‘back to the floor’ activities, proved a real hit with people, and delivered an 88% employee engagement score.

“I’m a bit shocked, but obviously delighted,” said Tony on the night. “But I can’t get an award like this without my team. You can be the best leader in the world but you are nothing without them.”

Chef of the year

Alan Sallis

The Chef of the Year award recognises a chef who excels in quality of food produced, client and customer service skills and application of unit business/cost management and team management skills.

Alan Sallis, executive chef, City University, Universities

Alan is 2018’s Chef of the Year, after impressing with his personal dedication and leadership skills. Confessing he was “ecstatic to win” he said the award was the result of “lots of hard work in the last three years.”

Alan’s job sees him managing one of the biggest segment businesses in London with a demanding consumer base, but he also finds time to develop the skills of other chefs – particularly in plant-based menus – and to nurture young aspiring talent via Future Chef.

He is constantly at the forefront of food innovation, introducing trend-based menus and focusing on sustainability and ethical supply chains. His efforts have helped grow business within his own contract, and in the wider segment.

Alan shared the praise with his team, saying: “It’s for them. By helping to develop their talent I’m hoping I’ll be back at the Star Awards in future years watching my team members pick up their own accolades.”

Support employee of the year

Jité Young

This award recognises an outstanding individual who works in an administrative or support role, who has demonstrated personal commitment above and beyond the call of duty making a significant business contribution to supporting their team, and who embodies our values.

Jité Young, administration assistant, Imperial Hospitals, Healthcare

Jité was undoubtedly one of the night’s most popular winners, and the huge cheers she received from around the room left her full of emotion. Speaking minutes after collecting her award on stage, Jité said: “Why am I here? I actually can’t believe it! I met all the other finalists at a lunch with the judges and they were all amazing. I was so chuffed to have just been nominated among them and genuinely never expected I could win it.”

Jité joined Sodexo’s Imperial Hospital team in July 2016, having previously been finance administrator at Queen Mary’s Roehampton. In her current role as HR administration assistant she covers Imperial’s five London hospitals, proving a real asset to her team. Jité provides a constant feed of HR information, such as lateness and sickness reports, and oversees the recruitment process for service managers, so that new starters are processed and ready to start.

The judges were particularly impressed with her resilience and resourcefulness, great problem-solving abilities and fresh ideas.

“The night has just been fantastic,” said Jité. “The Champagne reception, the choir, the food. There’s been such attention to detail and I feel so spoilt.”

Better tomorrow champion

Liz Marlow

The Champion’s award recognises an individual or team that shows outstanding dedication and impact in either diversity and inclusion or the environmental aspects of Better Tomorrow.

Liz Marlow, social media manager, Brand & Communications

Liz’s work with the PRIDE network, and in launching a working parents network, has challenged thinking and helped create a more inclusive culture within Sodexo.

She launched the working parents Facebook group as a result of her own experiences on returning to work after maternity leave. Parents, parents-to-be and those with childcare responsibilities can find and share advice and support within the group, alongside information on work-life balance and career opportunities. There was also praise for her “unwavering support” for PRIDE, and for her general approach, described as ‘low on ego, but high on delivery.’

Liz said: “I’ve attended the Star Awards for the last six years, but as part of the team behind the scenes. So it’s been a dream of mine to win one myself. I’m moving from the UK & Ireland region to a new global social media manager role when I return from maternity leave, so this will be the last one I attend. I love the event, and it’s great to see how social media is becoming more integrated into the night.”


Asier Nantes

This award recognises an employee who is committed to continuous improvement and who looks for new ideas and solutions that help us increase productivity, drive efficiency and improve our ways of working. 

Asier Nantes, programme, data and governance manager, Corporate Services

Asier set out to tackle a problem with one client, and ended up making a major breakthrough in the way we manage data. He created an online platform, called the ‘Single Source of Truth’, which transformed the way data was gathered and managed by site teams.

It was the result of his tireless efforts to find a way of managing the huge amount of information required from our site teams. This new system provides better quality, faster data, and gives time back to the site team. It’s described as ‘ground-breaking stuff that makes doing the basics so much easier and less administratively painful’.

Asier said he admired Sodexo’s drive for innovation. “What I love about the company is that we are encouraged to be creative and to experiment, and if we fail we have the backing to keep going until we find the solution.”

He was excited to be going on holiday soon after the Star Awards event and said winning was “the cherry on his pre-Christmas cake.”

Health and safety

Emma Smith

This award is given to a line manager or supervisor who has shown measurable improvements by embedding a proactive and positive culture of health and safety in everything they and their team do.

Emma Smith, UK programme deployment manager, GSK, Stockley Park

Corporate Services’ Emma Smith is someone who definitely ‘walks the talk’. By demonstrating her own values and behaviours around health and safety she’s been key to embedding a strong safety culture, and transformed ways of working. Emma’s determination and commitment led to the site achieving its first year of zero lost time incidents since the contact began in 2014.

She confessed it was “a lovely surprise” to win. “I’m slight shell shocked to be honest and incredibly flattered. This is a great event, a true celebration of success.”

Emma’s first step at GSK Stockley Park was to appoint a team of safety champions and she’s focused on open and honest conversations among site teams, as well as introducing an engaging style to safety campaigns. “I’m so proud of the whole team and share this award with them all. I can show them how to effect change, but they are the ones who own it.”

Employee engagement


This award recognises an employee who has demonstrated a measurable difference to our business by role-modelling one or more of the company’s Focus on Five standards.

John Fraser, operations manager, Energy & Resources

John Fraser said winning 2018’s Employee Engagement Award was “absolutely great for the segment, and his team.”

Judges said John epitomised the behaviours and passion that make an engaging manager, and the engagement score for his business shows his team members think the same. In the units he’s responsible for, leadership and consistency between managers’ words and actions, both scored 90%.

John, who spent 25 years working for the military before joining Sodexo 21 years ago, won particular praise for his passion for strong communication with his team members. “Always listen to your people; always get back to them personally – they are your best asset,” said John on the night.

He’s also clear in the succession plans he sets, which really helps individuals see how they might progress their careers.

Watch the highlights


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See all our awards in pictures

See all our awards in pictures

See all the pictures from the 2018 event on our Sodexo Flickr.

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