Recognition is at the heart of Sodexo’s business and the annual Star Awards is the jewel in our crown, bringing together 640 Sodexo employees for a night to remember. The Star Awards honour finalists and winners in 23 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, 2016’s event was hosted by the BBC’s Fiona Bruce, alongside Sodexo’s regional chairman Sean Haley and brand and communications director Phil Hooper.
Our Star Employee of the Year for 2016 is Debbie Russell from Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. Café assistant Debbie is described as a ‘rock for all her colleagues, someone who is thoughtful, kind, hardworking and hugely fun loving’.
Debbie admitted she got emotional taking to the stage to collect the award. “I was overwhelmed, and over the moon,” she said. “I’ve never worked for a company that recognises their employees like this.”
Find out why Debbie’s story inspired the judges and ensured there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
Congratulations also go to the other segment finalists in this hard-fought category: Ian Friel, Corporate Services; Karl Morgan, Defence & Government Services; Jennifer Shaw, Energy & Resources; Anastasia Markou, Healthcare; Kelly Wilson, Justice Services; Seamus Dolan, Schools; Ines De Oliveira, Universities.
One of the event’s most popular winners was Jane Farrell, who collected 2016’s Alan Tilley Award. FM development manager Jane was selected from a strong shortlist for sharing Alan’s dedication to the company and its values.
“The evening was amazing and the memories will stay with me for many years to come,” admitted Jane. “My award meant a lot to me as it summarised what a flexible company Sodexo is: encouraging career progression and supporting people to care for their families too.
“I was very touched by the video shown on the night, which demonstrated my 34 years of success and perfectly captured the feeling of team spirit from my colleagues over the years. To have my son announcing me as the winner was wonderful.”
There will be full interviews with Debbie Russell and other key winners in the winter issue of Stars magazine, out soon.
Diane Gleeson, a security co-ordinator with Service Operations, confessed she “couldn’t believe” she’d picked up the Rising Star Award for 2016. “It was such an honour to be nominated, never mind win the award,” she said.
Diane impressed the judges with her passion and drive, having personally led the deployment of a new licensing system across all security contracts in the UK, despite having no previous experience of either security or the platform.
“There was an incredibly positive atmosphere in the room on the night,” said Diane. “To know that there are people out there in the wider business rooting for my success means the world, and I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months has in store for me.”