Yorkshire Leadership Awards winners revealed

Chris Delaney, managing director of renewable energy firm Green Building Renewables, was named Yorkshire and Humber’s Leader of the Year at the Yorkshire Leadership Awards.

Delaney has transformed the York firm from a turnover of £3m to more than £40m, and from 18 staff to more than 200.

Chris Delaney, Leader of the Year

“I always try to lead from the front,” he said. “I think one of the things that makes us very special as a company is that we don;t mind if your the MD or a warehouse operator, we’ve all got a part to play.”

He said that Green Building Renewables currently covered half the country, and he had his eyes on the other half.

Nearly 300 people gathered at the Queens Hotel, Leeds, to celebrate the region’s finest leaders at the Yorkshire Leadership Awards.

Guest speaker Kully Thiarai, creative director and chief executive of Leeds Year of Culture 2023, spoke of the value of culture to people’s wellbeing and creativity, calling it vital for any civilised society. “What is the unit of measurement for joy?” she asked. “And how much should it cost?”

The judging panel included Karl Oxford of African and Caribbean Business Ventures, Bex Williams of Bradford 2025, Dan Fell of Doncaster Chamber, and 2019 winner Taryn Edge.

TheBusinessDesk.com Yorkshire editor Andrew Staples said, “I continue to be impressed by the quality of leaders within Yorkshire and Humber. The breadth and depth of talent within the region is truly impressive – leaders who not only have the vision and drive to achieve great things, but motivate and empower their teams to unleash their own potential.”

Category winners

Young Leader (aged 35 and under)

Winner: Charles Draper, Sure Group.

Charles has turned Sure Group into a multi-million pound business with six offices, and leads campaigning on job opportunities for disabled people and those with criminal convictions.

Shaan Ahmed, Roomzzz
Georgina Fairhall, WAC
Yung Lau, Jacobs
Andy Lucas, Parsons Chartered Accountants
Joe Scargill, Huddersfield Town Foundation


Winner: Julian Mason, Bradley-Mason LLP

Julian has consistently, over many years, mentored team members with site visits and informal chats to support their growth and development, and has been a volunteer APC assessor for 28 years.

Jamie Clark, Trident Building Consultancy
Lee Clayton, CHN Financial Consultancy
Phil Harris, Coppice Wealth
Simon Hartley, Be World Class

Sales and Marketing Leader

Winner: Edward Armstrong, CPMedia

Edward has help build the firm into a multi-million pound concern, and his marketing team from himself to 15 people by identifying and nurturing home-grown talent into an award-winning team with a distinctive meritocratic style.

Rebecca Hopwood, Youbee Media
James Maden, Nexus Vehicle Rental
Alexandra Price, Trident Building Consultancy
Lizzie Turner, Peachy Digital

HR Leader

Winner: Olivia Cowling, Strata

Olivia empowers and nurtures staff, shaping a desire to go further, to do better and work harder. She provides opportunities for staff to learn new skills outside their core, and launched the firm’s Wellbeing Champions programme.

Hayley Berry, Nexus Rental
Sharon Kinder, Northern Powerhouse Consulting

Finance Leader

Winner: Lee Clayton, CHN Financial Consultancy

Lee is a driven leader who sets an example for his firm. He has worked hard to create an environment encouraging professional excellence and guided his team to a 100% client satisfaction rating.

Phil Harris, Coppice Wealth
Simon Webster, Headstar

Emerging Entrepreneur Leader

Winner: Danielle Best, Mexi Bean Express

Danielle is a hands-on leader, who can be found behind the counter of one of her restaurants as well as in her office. Her passion and dedication has helped the firm expand to a chain of five restaurants. Her commitment to inclusivity means all food is halal, with vegetarian and vegan options, strong community.

Josh Burridge, Richardson Moving and Storage
Valeria Camerino, Equity Report
Sophie Conboy, Connect Yorkshire
Hugh Douglas Roberts, Richard Roberts

Public and Third Sector Leader

Winner: Lucy Nickson, Day One Trauma Support

Lucy Nickson impressed judges with her drive, passion and effectiveness. From a start-up operating in one hospital in 2021, Day One Trauma Support now provides practical, emotional, and financial support to people who have suffered catastrophic trauma in seven Northern hospitals.

Claire Cook, Employability Solutions
Adrian Green, Unity Enterprise
Katie Hurrell, Bradford District Credit Union
Emily Wragg, Candlelighters

Diversity & Inclusion Leader

Winner: Sarah Tulip, Cognizant Worldwide

Sarah Tulip is senior director and head of Northern Delivery Centres for Cognizant Worldwide, chair of the firm’s UK and Ireland Women Empowered Network, and a committee member of its diversity council. She is a founder of Women in Leeds Digital, and a digital ambassador for Leeds City Council where she also champions inclusion, and speaks on DE&I at national events.

Yung Lau, Jacobs
Aisha Minhas, Openreach
Chris Nightingale, Parallax
Alexandra Price, Trident Building Consultancy

Green Leader

Winner: Tom Rumboll, SYNETIQ

Tom is a visionary leader who has helped turned his firm – once a breaker’s yard – into the UK’s leading integrated vehicle salvage, dismantling and recycling company. With clear vision, inspirational leadership style and strategic skills, Tom has implemented a defined and measurable sustainability strategy which makes SYNETIQ stand out in its industry.

Dr William Beer, Tunley Environmental
Chris Delaney, Green Building Renewables
Christopher Neave, Make it Wild
Matthew Pitt, Abode
Annelee Roscoe, Premier Modular

Professional Services Leader

Winner: Rachel Roche, Roche Legal

Rachel champions a transformative ethos at her York-based firm,, and combines a culture of mentorship and professional development with a commitment to financial astuteness and operational excellence. The impact of her journey is such that the Law Society commissioned her and co-author Darren J. Sylvester to write the book How to Start a Law Firm.

James Groot, Cortus Advisory Group
Hannah Strawbridge, Han Law Co
Nicky Voase, QAD Architects
Richard Walker, Parsons Accountants

Technology Leader

Winner: Philip White, Audacia

Philip fosters a culture and community that values each individual as a critical contributor to the success of the business. Working with consultants, he has developed his ideas of software development into a clear set of company values that drive its work and contracts.

James Clarkson & Aman Shergill, Adventoris
Richard Corderoy, The Oakland Group
James Hall, Parallax
Melissa Hendry, ddroidd
Geoff Shepherd, iSource Group

Property Leader

Winner: Hugh Douglas Roberts, Richard Roberts

Hugh founded land promoter Richard Roberts to bridge the gap between landowners and SME developers, helping small developers find the land supply they need to grow. From its first sites in 2020, the firm delivered 11 planning consents in 2023, with 21 in process and 39 more under promotion.

Naveen Ahmed, The Park Lane Group
Abi Hookway, Redmayne Smith
Chris Harding, JPG Group

Transformational Leader

Winner: Chris Delaney, Green Building Renewables

Chris has ignited a meteoric rise his firm, growing it from one office in York to 13 around the country since he took up his role in 2021 with a champion sustainability and energy efficiency. He’s done it with a commitment to nurturing a skilled workforce, and fostering an environment for engineers to learn about renewable technology.

Dan Bardgett, XSEM
Gareth Barker, Sheffield Forgemasters
Lucy Nickson, Day One Trauma Support
Richard Owen, Capital Extrusions
Paul Verrico, Eversheds Sutherland

Company Leader (up to 100 employees)

Winner: Naveen Ahmed, The Park Lane Group

Naveen founded The Park Lane Group more than 35 years ago with a handful of student let properties in Headingley. He’s grown it into a substantial property holding company with 11 luxury property and leisure brands managed by a team of 60 people. He leads hands-on, sharing his own shop-floor experiences with teams.

Dan Bardgett, XSEM
Mike Brennan, CPMedia
Poonam Kau, fds Director Services
Jonathan Sanderson, Corecom Consulting
Philip White, Audacia

Company Leader (100+ employees)

Winner: Sean Ramsden MBE, Ramsden International

Sean founded Ramsden International in Grimsby in 1995, and has grown it into the UK’s leading exporter of British grocery brands, exporting more than 24,000 products to 133 countries, with sales teams in in Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, and Dubai and an EU subsidiary in Belgium. In 2020 Sean was awarded an MBE for his services to international trade.

Chris Delaney, Green Building Renewables
Wayne Earnshaw, Lanes Group
Ryan Scott, Twentysix
Paul Teasdale, Premier Technical Services Group
Sarah Tulip, Cognizant Worldwide

Leader of the Year

Chris Delaney, Green Building Renewables



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