Celebrating our wholesale stars

The wholesale sector came together at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 7 May to celebrate its learning and development stars

Enjoying a ceremony in the sunshine overlooking the Thames, Big Ben and many of London’s most iconic sights, 27 award winners were recognised individually for their commitment to skills development via an apprenticeship or further study at work.

The wholesale stars were joined by managers and wholesale bosses, along with supplier partners to hear from Mark Spencer MP, Minister of State for Food, Farming and Fisheries along with Labour MP Bill Esterson. Both MPs acknowledged the vital role of skills training in the wholesale sector in addition to the critical role played by wholesale in supporting the nation as a whole.

Ahead of the ceremony, winners had the opportunity to tour the Houses of Parliament and were greeted by MPs from their constituency.

2024 Wholesale Stars

Sunanda Shah
Accounts Manager, Welch and Tidy
Sunanda is a dedicated accounts manager with 22 years of experience, showcasing leadership in strategic financial planning and cost-saving initiatives. Sunanda’s journey from accounts assistant reflects continuous growth and innovation, driving the company’s financial success.

Jagtar Singh Gill
Purchase Manager, Welch and Tidy
Jagtar is a versatile purchase manager, advancing from warehouse assistant with notable achievements in optimising procurement processes. Jagtar’s leadership and adaptability demonstrate a significant impact on organisational efficiency and growth.

Josie Swift
Head of Purchasing, Harlech Foodservice
Josie is a dynamic head of purchasing, recognised for her rapid career progression and exceptional rapport with suppliers. Josie’s leadership and commitment to development highlight her influential role within the industry.

Ahmed Lawal
Data Technician, Caterforce
Ahmed has been a significant contributor at Caterforce, enhancing data utilisation and business planning. His dedication and positive impact deserve recognition for driving meaningful change within the organisation.

Rebecca Woollam
Own Brand Marketing Manager, Caterforce
Rebecca has demonstrated remarkable resilience and determination throughout her career, progressing from an artworker to the role of own brand marketing manager. Her commitment to personal development is evident through her pursuit of a Mini MBA, which has equipped her with advanced skills and knowledge to excel in her leadership role within the marketing team.

Jeanette Blatherwick
Accounts Administrator, Sugro UK
Invaluable during financial system transitions, excelling in problem solving and mentorship, Jeanette’s expertise and dedication to continuous improvement have been instrumental in ensuring operational success.

Humeera Manzoor
Marketing Administrator, Sugro UK
Humeera is a passionate marketing leader at Sugro, driving successful initiatives and industry engagement. Her commitment to learning and development underscores her proactive approach and impact within the wholesale industry.

Lisa Barber
Proposition Manager, A.F. Blakemore & Son
With extensive experience in foodservice, Lisa is celebrated for her outstanding customer service and dedication to professional development. Her pursuit of a post-graduate qualification showcases her continuous commitment to personal growth and industry excellence, making her a positive and influential figure in her field.

Rosie Labbett
Client Services Manager, Woods Foodservice
Rosie’s journey from client account manager to client services manager at Woods reflects her unwavering commitment to exceptional service and continuous professional development. Her pursuit of a business management degree at the London School of Economics underscores her ambition and dedication within the company.

Bella McGregor
Marketing Assistant, The Country Range Group
Bella’s career progression from temporary contract in our administration team to marketing assistant at The Country Range Group showcases her proactive approach to skill development. Her commitment to ongoing learning through practical training and formal courses demonstrates her determination to excel in marketing.

Viki Wilkinson
Category Buyer, The Country Range Group
Viki’s career evolution from assistant buyer to category buyer reflects her deep expertise and commitment to the wholesale sector. Her completion of advanced courses signifies her ongoing dedication to learning and supporting internal teams and suppliers with excellence.

Mila Young
Telesales Executive, Bidfood
Mila’s outstanding performance as a telesales executive highlights her strong work ethic and rapid mastery of processes. Her pursuit of personal and professional growth, exemplified by achieving distinctions in exams, underscores her dedication to a successful career path.

Thomas Perks
Administration-Commercial Apprentice, Bidfood
Thomas’s transition from commercial apprentice to sales administrator at Bidfood underscores his dedication and adaptability in the sales domain. Known for his positive influence on team dynamics, Thomas is poised for further growth and success within Bidfood.

Sheree Hatton
Commerce Area Leader, Suma Wholefoods
As a commerce zone leader, Sheree exhibits exceptional dedication to leadership and ongoing learning. Her decision to pursue external training through a Level 5 ILM in leadership and management demonstrates her proactive approach to developing her skills and driving success within her role.

Leyla Motisi
Digital Communications Manager, JJ Foodservice
Leyla plays a pivotal role in JJ’s social media strategy and influencer relations, contributing significantly to customer engagement and brand visibility. Her hard work, helpfulness, and continuous learning make her an indispensable asset to the company’s marketing efforts.

Kane Wingfield
Design and Marketing Manager, SOS Wholesale
Kane is a highly innovative design and marketing manager known for his creative vision and community engagement. His diverse project leadership, particularly in charity and community initiatives, reflects his commitment to making a positive impact both within the company and more broadly.

Surinder Mann
Mid-Shift Supervisor, SOS Wholesale
Surinder’s leadership within the industry is characterised by his proactive engagement in senior roles and dedication to ongoing improvement. His strategic vision and commitment to advancing organisational objectives highlight his invaluable impact within the sector.

Mehmet Direkoglu
Branch Manager, JJ Foodservice
Mehmet’s journey from shop floor worker to branch manager exemplifies his versatility and commitment to business growth. He has successfully navigated various roles within the company, demonstrating strong operational and HR skills that have contributed to the successful establishment and expansion of the Wimbledon branch.

Rebecca Brook
Head of Group Inventory, VOW Wholesale
Rebecca’s expertise in inventory and supply chain management is complemented by her pursuit of a Level 7 Apprenticeship in Senior Leadership. Her ability to balance day-to-day responsibilities with advanced professional development underscores her ambition and drive to excel within her role as head of group inventory.

Elle Butler
Marketing Executive, VOW Wholesale
As a marketing executive, Elle has shown exceptional dedication to personal growth and skill development. Her proactive pursuit of formal marketing qualifications alongside her role demonstrates her enthusiasm and commitment to building a successful career within the industry.

Arthur Day
Regional Sales Manager, Sysco GB
Arthur’s dedication to sales leadership and industry development is evident through his participation in a senior leadership apprenticeship. His commitment to connecting with customers and advancing the company’s mission underscores his value as a key contributor within Sysco GB.

Charlotte Austin
Warehouse Supervisor, A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd
Charlotte’s role as a warehouse supervisor extends beyond traditional duties, with a focus on transport-related operations and auditing. Her efforts to enhance operational efficiency through training and skill development highlight her dedication to continuous improvement within her area of responsibility.

John Sipawa
Finance Associate, Sysco GB
John’s journey in finance is characterised by his relentless pursuit of qualifications and commitment to team development. His work ethic and rapport-building skills make him a standout example of professional growth within the finance sector.

Harrison Holmes
IT Support, Pricecheck
Harrison’s dedication to IT support and continuous learning is evident through his proactive approach to process improvement and his pursuit of further qualifications demonstrates his commitment to professional growth within the IT domain.

Jack Loach
Management Accountant, Pricecheck
Jack’s journey from assistant accountant to fully qualified management accountant at Pricecheck reflects his resilience and determination. His proactive leadership in finance projects underscores his capability and contribution to financial reporting and compliance within the organisation.

Natalie Gaunt
Junior Trading Controller, Unitas Wholesale
Natalie’s passion for supply chain management and continuous improvement shines through her role at Unitas Wholesale. Her dedication to delivering value and implementing best practices drives her impact as a key contributor to the organisation’s success.

Laura Rowell
Marketing Executive, Unitas Wholesale
Laura is an extremely hard-working individual with an excellent can-do attitude and continues to be an integral part of the Unitas marketing team. Over the past year Laura has undertaken several new tasks which have contributed to her further developing her knowledge and skills. She has also stepped up within her role, taking on more responsibility and she continues to go above and beyond and is an excellent role model within the business.

AF Blakemore Awards Bidfood Caterforce Country Range Group FWD Harlech Foodservice JJ Foodservice Pricecheck SOS Wholesale Sugro Suma Wholefoods Sysco GB Unitas Wholesale VOW Wholesale Welch and Tidy Wholesale Stars Woods Foodservice