Aimee Postle, Tom Meredith and Vangeya Mhone Murphy were announced as the winners of the inaugural YoungPro at a gala reception at St Mary’s Guildhall, Coventry on Friday 27th January 2017.
Run by the Young Professionals Network of Coventry & Warwickshire First, YoungPro celebrates the breadth and depth of talent within the region’s professional and financial services sector’s next generation of leaders.
Aimee, Board Director of Prova PR, won the ‘Business Services incorporating Property’ category. Tom, Finance Manager at MarchantCain, won the ‘Finance incorporating Banking’ category and Vangeya, a Solicitor at Shakespeare Martineau, won the Legal category.
The judging panel comprised Chris White MP, Member of Parliament for Warwick and Leamington since 2010; Chrissie Elliot-Duxson, of the University of Warwick and Chair of the Coventry & Warwickshire First Young Professionals Network; and Michael Durkin, a Relationship Director at Santander and Chair of Coventry & Warwickshire First.
Aimee has progressed from Account Manager to Board Director at Prova PR in just six years. She is soon to take over as Managing Director and manages a team of over 20. The judges were impressed by her contribution to Prova PR’s success, which has been growing at a rate of 25% year-on-year. The judges were also impressed by the time she commits to mentoring other young professionals as part of both Coventry and Warwickshire First’s own mentoring scheme and Birmingham’s Inspiring Futures. She guest lectures at various universities around the country and somehow finds time to raise money for charity!
At just 20 Tom is charge of three departments at MerchantCain – Finance, Purchasing and IT. Since starting at the business he has implemented new purchasing and cost systems and overhauled the firm’s IT provision. The judges were impressed by Tom’s self-study of CIMA. He doesn’t attend evening or weekend classes, instead being entirely self-taught. Tom is a fantastic role model and is an active advocate of apprenticeships in the context of ever increasing higher education fees.
The judges were inspired by Vangeya’s career journey, from being told she would never make it as a solicitor to becoming the 2016 Warwickshire Junior Lawyer Division’s Solicitor of the Year! Regularly winning new business for her firm, Vangeya has also taken on responsibility for training newly qualified solicitors and trainees. Keen to pass on her skills and knowledge, she is setting up a mentoring scheme for inner-city girls aged 14-19. The judges were very impressed by the breadth of her activities, from being a committee member at BNI, where she grew the membership by 29% during her tenure, to fundraising for local charities such as The Shakespeare Hospice and her local parish.
Chrissie Elliot-Duxson, who chaired the judging panel, explained: “Every year we’re flooded with entries to the Young Professionals category of FirstPro so this year we decided to celebrate properly the depth and breadth of entries by creating YoungPro. Shortlisting the finalists from all the entries was tough but it got even harder when we had to settle on one winner in each category!”
Michael Durkin, added: “It was a real pleasure to meet the talented finalists. They each brought something unique and we certainly had some robust debates before settling on the final winners.”
Aimee, Tom and Vangeya now automatically go through as finalists in the Young Professional category of FirstPro, which celebrates the talent in Coventry and Warwickshire’s professional services sector.
FirstPro is run by Coventry & Warwickshire First, the only membership organisation to exclusively represent the interests of the region’s professional services sector. An award for individuals, FirstPro recognises exceptional professionals and showcases the depth and breadth of talent within the region. Nominations are now open for the Business Services, Property, Legal, finance and Banking categories. Nominees are assessed against three criteria: performance at work; their contribution to Coventry and Warwickshire; and the intangible x-factor.
Photography by Richard Nelmes