Each year a new panel of impeccably independent Judges are solely responsible for deciding the Winners of the Cardiff Life Awards. They will give time to go through all the Finalists’ nominations with care.
Betina Skovbro / Entrepreneur, Baker and Photographer
Betina is a curious blend of entrepreneur, baker and photographer. A proud Dane, she arrived in Cardiff from Copenhagen in 1998 and began a career as press and PR photographer. Alongside her commercial work, she presented several solo exhibitions, curated a range of art exhibitions at Waterloo Tea, and set up the immensely popular Photomarathon which ran between 2004 and 2015.
In late 2015, she followed another long-held dream and opened Brød, a cosy and Cardiff Life Awards-winning Danish bakery and coffee shop. The bakery has established itself as a popular and distinctive destination in one of Cardiff’s most popular residential areas.
Caron Rockey / Director, Martyn Prowel Solicitors
Caron qualified as a solicitor in 1992 initially practising in Birmingham before returning to her home city, Cardiff.
Caron is head of the dispute resolution team, representing clients across a range of civil work. She acts for both businesses and individuals. Caron has encouraged the company to consider its social responsibilities through charity work and has fostered a long-standing equal opportunities policy. She is a member of the Law Society Specialist Personal Injury Panel.
Caron was shortlisted for Woman Lawyer of the Year at the Law Society Excellence Awards in 2015.
Councillor Huw Thomas / Leader, Cardiff Council
Huw is the youngest Council Leader in Wales.
Huw’s administration has prioritised tackling inequality and growing the city’s economy for the benefit of all communities, whilst ensuring that Cardiff’s growth is clean and sustainable.
He chairs the Cardiff Public Services Board and is a director of Millennium Stadium Plc. He is also the Welsh Local Government Association Spokesperson for culture, tourism and major events.
Huw graduated in music from Oxford University before completing a Masters in International Relations at Aberystwyth University.
Away from politics, Huw is a Wales football fan, outdoor enthusiast, keen cyclist and fluent Welsh speaker.
Helen Kemp / Client Services Director, Jelf
Born and bred in South Wales, Helen has worked in the insurance industry for 30 years and is currently client services director at Jelf.
Working with a dedicated team who proudly serve the local business community, Helen helps ensure clients are supported through the protection of their business.
Helen is active in supporting businesses locally and beyond, helping ensure that they’re recognised for the fantastic work they do. Cardiff is a city full of outstanding achievements, and that’s why these awards are so important to her.
Out of the office Helen enjoys the theatre, long walks and caravanning.
Julie-Ann Haines / Chief Customer Officer, Principality
Julie was appointed the chief customer officer in 2017. She is responsible for strategy, marketing and distribution as well as the commercial lending portfolio and leading the Society’s transformation program as executive business sponsor.
Julie is chair of the UK Finance, Cymru and also sits on the End Youth Homelessness steering group.
Prior to Principality, Julie held a number of senior roles in sales, marketing and technology, working in leading customer centric businesses including Sainsbury’s, Reckitt Benckiser and HBOS.
Outside of work Julie loves watching rugby and is a fan of all types of music and theatre.
Mark Peters / Chairman, Montague Place
Mark has over 30 years’ experience in business strategy, management and operations.
Prior to establishing Montague Place, Mark founded and ran a strategy and private equity advisory business for seven years. He also worked with government, the BBC and the broader education sector to create a £300m scheme to create and deliver digital learning resources to schools across the UK.
Mark is currently leading Westbourne’s expansion globally, initially to Hong Kong in 2019 and Sydney in 2020.
Mark holds an MBA from INSEAD, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Finance & Investment (Finsia) and a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Sydney.
Nia Llewelyn Jones / Freelance Publicist/Director, Nia Jones PR
Nia has worked within the arts and culture industry in Wales for 15 years.
Working as a PR and communications specialist, she launched her freelance career in 2016 after heading up press and PR team at Wales Millennium Centre for several years.
She now works with a diverse range of organisations within theatre, music, major events and festivals across the UK. Nia also represents London PR agency, The Corner Shop, in Wales.
Nia is hugely passionate about her home city and loves to spend time exploring the hidden gems that the capital continues to offer.
Vicky Griffin / Owner, Goji Hair
Vicky has spent most of her career setting up and developing businesses.
Following an early spell as a teacher, Vicky bought her first franchise, giving her the confidence to start out on her own. She set up organic salon, Goji Hair, in May 2015 and oversees the running of the business which has grown significantly over the past three years.
Vicky has grown the business to a team of 14 incorporating hair, barbering and beauty. Goji has won several awards including the Hair category at the Cardiff Life Awards and so Vicky has first-hand experience of the Awards’ rigorous process!
Victoria Deane / Director of Support Services, New Directions
Victoria has been with New Directions, a specialist recruitment company for 10 years, working in many roles across the business.
New Directions was the first recruitment company in Wales to gain the Investors in People Gold award and has won over 20 other awards, including the REC’s ‘Best company to work for’.
Prior to New Directions Victoria worked as regional training manager for Rocco Forte Hotels, Europe for 10 years and was based at The St David’s Hotel and Spa, Cardiff. Victoria is passionate about people, leadership and providing an excellent service.