British Ex-Forces in Business Awards 2019

Supporting the front-line

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Congratulations to Michael Fildes and Jamie Thomas who have both been shortlisted for awards at the 2019 British Ex-Forces in Business Awards.

The British Ex-Forces in Business Awards is the largest celebration and recognition of ex-military personnel in the UK workforce. In 2018, the awards welcomed 500 attendees for the UK’s largest ever celebration of military veterans in business.

Both Michael and Jamie have a British forces background and now work in different areas of the Sodexo business. The award nomination process is tough, with a set of judged rounds just to get through to the finals!

Discover more about why Jamie and Michael have been shortlisted below.

Business Leader of the Year award

Michael Fildes - managing director Circles UK & Ireland, Personal & Home Services

In 1998 at just 18 years old, Michael joined the Royal Air Force. In 2008, five years after he left the RAF, Michael made a move into travel and concierge services where he has thrived!

Michael joined Sodexo in 2014, rocketing forward and joining Circles UK & Ireland as managing director in 2018. He set up and developed Circles UK & Ireland into what it is today - a leading concierge service available to the wider Sodexo portfolio within the UK and Ireland.

“For the foreseeable future my time is definitely with Circles - concierge is an industry that I am passionate about. The opportunity for Circles is huge and I want to be a part of that growth.”


Pictured: Michael during his time in the RAF

Michael has been shortlisted for the Business Leader of the Year award, not only for his keen eye for business, but his ability to use the strengths and values he learnt in the RAF to develop the team around him.

“I am genuinely humbled to be shortlisted as a finalist for the Business Leader of the Year award. When I was told I had been shortlisted, I had been thinking for some time about the transferable skills I brought over from my time in the Royal Air Force. There were a number of obvious skills such as discipline and comradeship, but the most valuable and meaningful to me were resilience and self-worth, without which I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Over the next year, Michael wants to focus on the expansion of Circles UK & Ireland and continue to impact what Sodexo can offer its clients. Michael is also keen to continue championing Diversity & Inclusion - last year he attended London Pride with Sodexo who entered the parade for the first time.

Good luck Michael - we hope to see you come full circle and take home an award!

Outstanding Achiever award

Jamie Thomas - account manager, Ministry of Justice, Defence & Government Services

Jamie was in the British Army for 25 years. Three years ago, Jamie ended his Colour Service with the Army and joined Sodexo as part of Corporate Services.

“I wanted to work for Sodexo as I felt the values were so aligned to my own - I made the right choice! You don’t often find companies in the modern world were people and quality are still at the heart of what they do.”


Pictured: Jamie during his time in the British Army

Last year, Jamie made the move to work in Defence & Government Services as an account manager for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) contract, and he hasn’t looked back! He was nominated for his innovative approach to leadership for the way he led the team through the challenges of the mobilisation and stabilisation phases of the contract, working hard to engage with his new team and implement a values-based approach.

In the next year, Jamie would like to see his contract become “Platinum” grade as part of a UK Government strategic partner scoring system. His focus to achieve this goal is ensuring the environment is right for his team and help unlock their true potential to become the best they can be.

“It’s amazing to be nominated for awards, but success can only happen within a great team. From clear trust, intent and not to forget leadership from senior management. The most Important factor; the team that work below me, as its their hard work, commitment and talent that really gave me the opportunity to be nominated for this award.”

Good luck to Jamie, and we’re excited to see what happens over the next 12 months!

The British Ex-Forces in Business Awards support SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, raising fund to help servicemen and women, service leavers, veterans and their families.

SSAFA is also Stop Hunger Foundation charity partner. In 2018, Stop Hunger donated £40,000 to SSAFA who used the grant to support over 100 veterans and their families around the UK. You can discover more about Stop Hunger’s work with SSAFA here.

In 2018, Sodexo fulfilled it’s pledge to employee 200 ex-service personnel as part of the Sodexo Public Service Pledge.

Sodexo was also an early signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant. This initiative commends employers who actively support the Armed Forces community in their workplace and encourages others to follow their lead. In August 2017, Sodexo received the Gold Employer Recognition Award, the highest badge of honour from the Ministry of Defence, in relation to our commitment and support to the UK Armed Forces Community.

The Public Service Pledge and our participation in the Armed Forces Covenant initiative forms part of Sodexo’s commitment to the armed forces and support to our staff in becoming reservists. You can find out more about the Sodexo Public Service Pledge here.

The second annual British Ex-Forces in Business Awards will take place on 8 May 2019. Click here to find out more information about this prestigious awards event and see how you can support your Sodexo colleagues.

We all wish Michael and Jamie the best of luck. We’re rooting for you!


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