City Hall, 13 May 2021

Judges

Take a look at the 2020 Cardiff Life Awards Judges...

Claudia Le Gros

Founder and managing partner, Le Gros Solicitors

Claudia is a leading figure in the Welsh legal sector having founded Le Gros Solicitors, a niche property law firm in Cardiff nearly nine years ago. The firm has gone from strength to strength since it was established, now employing over 20 members of staff and being involved in some of the largest transactions in South Wales. Claudia is used to juggling a busy work life with an even busier home life as a mother of three young children.

Dean Euden

Business Development Manager, WSET

Dean has worked in the wine and spirits trade for over 10 years, starting at Majestic and then working at Averys in Bristol and Fine Wines Direct before joining the WSET in 2014. Dean enjoys interacting with the hospitality trade, it’s a sector full of passionate people who work hard and play hard. As a Cardiffian, Dean couldn’t be more humbled to be involved in honouring the people who help make Cardiff such a vibrant city.

Giovanni Malacarino

Owner, Giovanni’s

Giovanni is a Welsh Italian entrepreneur, restaurateur, local celebrity, life coach and author. He has been a major influence on shaping Cardiff’s restaurant and night time economy. On top of being the founder of his own restaurants, Giovanni’s, it was his idea to pioneer the Café Quarter, Mill Lane, which is now a go-to place to eat and drink. Giovanni’s gratitude goes out to his family, staff, celebrities, customers and to a very special lady, his sister Francesca, who has always been the the backbone of the Giovanni dream.

Guy Christian

Owner, Guy Christian Salons

With over 25 years’ experience in the hair and beauty industry, Guy is a skilled hairdresser, photographer and business consultant. He has developed a strong formula for success in his salons by combining high-quality services and great stylists with a strong management team and multi-channel marketing. Over the last year Guy has stepped partially off the salon floor to take on a business coach role, fulfilling his passion to help other salons to achieve their full potential.

Jo Evans

Project development officer, Cardiff Capital Region City Deal

Jo has almost 15 years’ experience of working in local government in a variety of roles. She joined Caerphilly County Borough Council in 2005, in Economic Development and moved to Newport City Council in 2008. Jo has worked in various teams including, Tourism, European and Economic Development and Regeneration for Newport. She now oversees the digital strategy for the region, ensuring that suitable digital infrastructure is included and considered across all City Deal interventions and a holistic approach is achieved across all 10 Local Authorities and Welsh Government projects.

Karen Jones

Director, TSR Legal Recruitment

Karen started her career in recruitment, working in Watford for Blue Arrow. She was then offered a role by Brook Street to open new branches, including its flagship St Albans office. Two years later a friend offered Karen the opportunity to work in the city in legal recruitment, this was when she realised her future lay in legal recruitment. After several years of working in the city, Karen took up a role at Office Angels in Reading. She then moved back to Cardiff, where she met her current business partner, Robert Adams. In 2004, they set up Tailored Solutions Recruitment, which later became known as TSR.

Rakie Ayola

Actor

Cardiff actor Rakie grew up in Ely and is a graduate and fellow of The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She recently appeared at the Sherman Theatre opposite Rhys Ifans in On Bear Ridge. Other stage work includes leading roles with the RSC, National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe and in the West End she played Hermione in Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. Rakie’s screen work includes Shetland, No Offence and three series of Holby City. Rakie will next be seen in the BBC adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses. Rakie is a patron of Childhood Tumour Trust, ambassador for Parents in Performing Arts and a trustee of The Actors’ Children’s Trust. In 2019, she received an Honarary Doctorate from Warwick University.

Richard Davies

General manager, Chapel 1877

Having first moved to Cardiff in 1996 for university, Richard went on to run several of Cardiff’s most prominent businesses over the last 22 years, from first opening the Millennium Plaza complex alongside the Stadium back in the early 2000’s and since managing health clubs, hotels and even night clubs to more recently, seven years running the stunning Chapel 1877. Richard is in a great position to have a fantastic knowledge of the cities top businesses. He has loved every minute living and working in this hugely vibrant city and looks forward to working with his fellow judges to decide the winners of this fantastic accolade hosted by the dynamic Cardiff Life team.

Rory Fleming

Centre manager, Morgan Quarter

Rory has been managing the Morgan Quarter since April 2012. Before this, he managed a variety of shopping centre’s in the North East and Yorkshire. Originating from Bessbrook, County Armagh in Northern Ireland, you will know him before you see him, as he still has quite a distinctive accent! Rory has a passion for property management in which he’s always striving to make a difference in the service and the environment that he is responsible for. Outside of work you will usually find Rory on his road bike or exploring the many places there are in Wales on foot, in 2019 he walked solo from Conwy to Cardiff.

Steve Williams

Former PE teacher, Whitchurch High School

Steve was a Whitchurch High School pupil from 1960. He returned as a PE teacher from 1975 until his retirement in 2011 before becoming estates director, a role he still holds today. During Steve’s time as a PE teacher he trained and taught Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale, former Welsh rugby international Sam Warburton and Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas. In 2011, Steve was presented with the Rugby Union Writers Clubs Special Award for contribution to Rugby. In 2018, he was awards the J.L.Manning Award for outstanding services to sport at the GB Sports Awards. And in 2019, he was awarded both the Lord Jack Brookes Award for outstanding contribution to Welsh Sport at the Welsh Sport Hall of Fame Presentation Evening Cardiff and our very own Cardiff Life Awards Special Achievement, presented by Gareth Bale.