Star Awards

Star Awards Group Photo
Star Awards Stage
Matt Dawson & Melanie Duffett
Winners of HR commendation and Employee of the Year award

About the event


Recognition is at the heart of Sodexo’s business and the annual Star Awards is the jewel in our crown, bringing together 600 Sodexo employees for a night to remember. The Star Awards honour finalists and winners in 27 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 at London’s Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, 2017’s event was hosted by Matt Dawson, alongside Sodexo’s regional chairman Sean Haley and brand and communications director Melanie Duffett.

Awards and winners

Employee of the year award

Employee of the year award

Our Star Employee of the Year for 2017 is John Holmes from St Edwards College. 

As a kitchen porter John Holmes plays a pivotal role in a team of 16 providing 850 lunches for pupils at St Edward’s College in Liverpool. But our Star Employee of the Year for 2017 proved his dedication goes way beyond what is required of the job.

John is widely praised by colleagues for his warm and welcoming nature, yet his willingness to help out in challenging circumstances helped him to shine in this hard-fought category.

“Last year the assistant chef was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer and John stepped in to help,” explained head chef Shaun Strong.I wouldn't have got through those six months without him and I owe him an awful lot. He’s the glue that keeps us together.”

Having spent 25 years a bus driver, John joined the business four years ago and was runner up in the Kitchen Porter of the Year category at this year’s Service Excellence Awards too. Despite working two jobs – he also replenishes stock at a local Tesco three nights a week from 6pm until midnight – John gives up his Saturday mornings to provide refreshments for the college sports team.

“I love the job, it’s a great team – more like a family,” admits John, who lives in Liverpool with his wife and two daughters. “I’ve made some good friends and if anybody needs my help I’m happy to give them a hand. It’s good to see the customers with smiles on their faces too.”

John admitted he was ‘shocked’ when his name was called as national winner. “My managers were very emotional on the night but I held it together until I got home to my family then shed a few tears with them. They were over the moon. It was a lovely night, with so many people coming up and shaking my hand and saying congratulations.”

Find out more about all the Star Awards finalists and winners in this story.

Congratulations also go to the other segment finalists in this hard-fought category: Garry Bowering, Universities, Gary Coburn, Sports & Leisure, Michael Sargeant, Justice Services, Neil Reid and Gordon McLeod, Energy & Resources, Peter Moon, Healthcare, Diane Hancox, Defence & Government Services, Barry Wood, Corporate Services

Alan Tilley award

Alan Tilley award

It was Malcolm Emery, who collected 2017’s most coverted Alan Tilley Award

Find out more about Malcolm in this story.

There will be full interviews with Malcolm Emery and other key winners in the winter issue of Stars magazine, out soon. 

Rising star award

Rising star award

Simon Turner, from Supply Management, Service Operations, picked up the Rising Star Award for 2017.

Rising Star Award winner Simon Turner has channelled valuable operational, technical and commercial experience into a promising new career path since joining Service Operations earlier this year.

After joining Sodexo as a receipt and distribution operative at Central Manchester University Hospitals in 2009, Simon worked his way through several frontline roles at the contract before becoming waste development manager with the Centre of Excellence in 2014.

Simon is now a category manager in the supply management team, part of the Soft FM platform. “I’m responsible for buying additional service support including laundry, waste, pest control and security for sites across the UK and Ireland,” said Simon. “It was quite a leap in responsibility to go from one Healthcare site to having to understand the complexities of a wide range of segments. FM is a challenging and competitive industry and collaboration is key to success in this role,” said Simon.

His enthusiasm to grasp the job and take advantage of Sodexo’s learning and development opportunities to push his career forward impressed the judging panel and ensured he reached top spot this year. Simon, 29, has successfully completed a number of training courses including a HNC in waste management. He has just started a CIPS advanced diploma, which will further improve his commercial and stakeholder management skills.

After making in to the finals in two previous years, it was third time lucky this year for Simon. “I felt like a bit of celebrity all night really, everyone was really pleased for me,” he said. 

Find out more about all the Star Awards finalists and winners in this story.

Congratulations also go to the other rising star finalists: Tom Hodge, Universities, Denise Crowley, Schools, Katie Brickell, Sports & Leisure, Jim Murphy, Justice Services, Sarah Kinrade, Brand & Communications, Transversal Functions, Karen Williams, Energy & Resources, Jethro Pickard, Healthcare, Marcio Vieira, Defence & Government Services, Bernie McManamon, Corporate Services

HR Commendation Award

HR commendation award

Our HR Commendation Award winner for 2017 is Barry Wood from Shell, Corporate Services.

The HR Special Commendation was awarded to an inspiring individual who gained promotion less than two years after losing both of his legs and half of his left hand in a freak accident.

Barry Wood, business services manager for Sodexo's contract with Shell, suffered the life-changing injuries back in November 2015. “I was on my way home from work when I fell under a train,” said Barry, whose wife was four months pregnant with their first child at the time. “From the day the accident happened I wanted to get back to work as soon as possible to live a normal life for myself and my family.”

During his time in hospital, Barry was visited by friends and colleagues from the Shell contract in London. He credits his line manager, Daniel Davies, for helping him feel his role “was there waiting for me to come back.”

Barry was back at work just seven months after the accident. He was initially restricted to working part-time and was only able to perform desk-based duties. But as his mobility improved, he began to take on more tasks and hour-by-hour returned to working full time. In June this year, he gained promotion to the role of business services manager where he's responsible for ensuring the smooth running of Shell's office space in Bank Street. "We're the first port of call when everything goes wrong," he said. “But I like the fact that I'm not just sat at the desk all day hiding behind a laptop.”

Shell's IT accessibility lead, Jodie Greer, is among the colleagues who've been impressed by his recovery: “There's a lot of places you need to be to do his job well,” she said. “He's up and around the floors he's up and around with his team, he's engaging with people and in his work he's the quiet professional.” 

The HR Special Commendation was a fitting reward for Barry's inspiring return. “It was nice to get the recognition for the hard work it took to come back,” admitted Barry. 

Awards in pictures

See all our awards in pictures

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

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