Our latest leadership round-up brings news of an OBE for a BAME business leader, a string of organisational changes at Medical Engineering Technologies to improve customer service, and a financial planner disgruntled by the government’s decision to implement a third national lockdown in England.
Upturn Enterprise boss Anwar Ali awarded OBE
A proud Mancunian, Anwar was born in Ashton-under-Lyne and has worked and lived in Greater Manchester throughout his professional life.
He established Upturn Enterprise back in 2004, which has since grown into a multi award-winning social enterprise from its base in Oldham and helped better the lives of and opportunities available to people from deprived communities and diverse groups across the country.
Anwar’s work with Upturn has been recognised with the OBE for ‘Services to Social Enterprise’ and the man himself could not be prouder of the accolade.
He said: "I am immensely proud of this award which I am delighted to accept on behalf of the Upturn family, our partners, clients, key stakeholders and funders [past and present] who continue to believe and back the work we do.
"A special nod to Maria Williams, Upturn’s co-founder, and Clive Hewson my mentor for everything they do. It is greatly appreciated by all of us.
"2021 is going to be a very challenging and difficult year for many people in our communities. I truly believe this is the year that all social entrepreneurs and social enterprises across the UK need to step forward, puff out our chests and start that real conversation on how we can work together/collaborate to deliver the real social change that is really needed in our country.
"Let us all build back better together and release the true potential of social enterprises."
Further improvements to customer services amid shake-up at MET
Medical equipment testing firm Medical Engineering Technologies and its managing director Mark Turner are sticklers for impeccable customer service and have strived to continue this ethos despite the increased workload and difficulties posed by the Covid-19 crisis over the last year.
In order to ensure that this high standard of service continues, Turner revealed that the business has made some organisational changes and internal promotions in recognition of those individuals who have gone above and beyond of late.
Turner told the Leaders Council: "Following her great success leading the biological physcial team, our very own Elena Couzens has been promoted to the position of laboratory manager and is now responsible for all technical services.
"Furthermore, Luminita Moraru has been made analytical chemistry manager in recognition of her exemplary work and growing team. Steven Malbon is now leading the combination device and physical testing teams.
"We have also strengthened our analytical chemistry team with the engagement of Vipul Vaghela. Vipul is an outstanding individual who first came to us from Catalent. He is a seasoned veteran of pharmaceutical and analytical chemistry and brings many years of GLP and cGMP experience which he gained working at GSK, Mylan and Bristol Laboratories."
RJB Financial Services’ Mark Nind criticises latest national lockdown
Although a YouGov poll of 1,592 adults in Britain suggested that 79 per cent supported a third national lockdown prior to prime minister Boris Johnson re-issuing his ‘stay at home’ message in England this week, not everybody was on board with the idea of national restrictions coming back into force.
The poll found that 16 per cent of respondents were against the idea of toughening restrictions further, and one business leader with his flag firmly in their camp was Mark Nind, managing director of financial planning firm RJB Financial Services.
Sharing his views on the latest national shutdown with the Leaders Council, Nind felt that the decision only brought more uncertainty for clients and personal friends suffering amid the financial strife of Covid, and described the government’s strategy as simply "hoping and praying" that the vaccine will work and allow for a reopening of the economy, with no initial indications as to when the latest lockdown is likely to end.
Nind said: "I am totally at the end of my tether with regards to the latest lockdown. I know of many clients and friends who are suffering financially and cannot see any light at the end of this long and dark tunnel.
"There does not appear to be any government strategy other than a hope and a prayer that the vaccine will work. There are no timescales for the end of the lockdown and no criteria, as far as I can tell, as to signify the end of the lockdown.
"My business is fine, but it is those less fortunate that I worry about."
Nind also raised concerns over the lack of an alternative strategy to lockdowns in order to control the spread of the virus, and took aim at politicians who chose to back national shutdowns without considering another course of action nor the consequences of lockdowns for the general public.
"I accept that those in government are not scientists and have to rely on experts, but if the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies [SAGE] are responsible for merely advising on lockdown after lockdown, then they ought to be disbanded.
"I have written to Steve Baker, former prime minister Theresa May, Iain Duncan-Smith and Huw Merriman regarding my views and they are all sympathetic of them.
"As for Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, who was vocal in his calls for this third lockdown along with his party, surely, he should realise that many of his traditional core voters are the ones most likely to suffer because of lockdown measures?"