Meet the judges: The Blue Patch Awards 2019

Best foot forward: you can now enter the 2019 Blue Patch Sustainable Business Awards.

With our influential and expert panel you’ve opportunity to get your products and services in front of the right people. It’s all about participating. Very best of  luck everybody!

Katrina Burroughs Blue Patch Awards judge 2019
Katrina Burroughs, Journalist, Sunday Times Home.

Katrina Burroughs has written the interiors column for Sunday Times Home for over a decade and never cease to be amazed by the creativity of designers. She is fascinated to observe each cohort facing the same issues – sustainability in manufacture, longevity of their designs – with fresh solutions and renewed commitment. Check out Katrina’s Instagram

Richard Eaton, Design Director, Denby.

Richard Eaton first came to Denby Pottery as an enthusiastic young student for work experience and then returned after completing his Master of Arts degree in Ceramics and a Bachelor of Arts degree in 3 dimensional design.  During his work experience, Richard’s designs so impressed Denby that they were fully commissioned as a ‘giftware’ range before he returned to take up a permanent post with the company. That was over 30 years ago and Richard is now Denby’s Design Director having built up a respected Denby Design Team.

In addition to his work for Denby, Richard encourages the work of new designers. Richard has been a member of the panel of Judges for the Royal Society of Arts design competitions and an advisor on the Princes Youth Business Trust. Richard  has also been an external assessor for the M.A. in Ceramic Design, course at Staffordshire University and is currently undertaking special projects for many Universities.

Richard continues to lead Denby Designs through lifestyle trends and ensures its portfolio is relevant for its international customers whilst ensuring as a member of Denby’s Board of Directors, sustainability has a high priority. Whilst Richard’s team have pioneered innovations in the ceramic industry, traditional skills are still very evident at Denby with over 20 pairs of hands involved in the crafting of every piece of pottery.


Seán Dagan Wood, Publisher of Positive News.

Seán Dagan Wood is Publisher of Positive News, the magazine for good journalism about the good things that are happening. He is a leading voice for ‘constructive journalism’, having presented at events such as The International Journalism Festival and TEDx. Seán is also passionate about purpose-driven business and ownership models, and led a crowdfunded ‘community share offer’ that transformed Positive News into a co-operative owned by its readers worldwide. He has been featured in media including The Guardian, BBC and HuffPost.

Blue Patch Awards judges 2019

Alex Oliver, strategist and coach, Oliver Boo.

Alex Oliver is the Founder of Oliver Boo Coaching & Consulting Ltd. Alex is a strategy and coaching professional with many years’ experience spanning public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Alex began her career in the private sector in international marketing, strategy and training roles before joining the UK Government’s Cabinet Office to lead a cross-government programme of work around citizen-led service and policy design.  She later joined global consultancy Kantar where she has managed public/ non-profit sector teams and led projects for government and public clients around the world.  Since 2012, Alex has worked independently through her own business. This includes working at board level as strategy advisor and head of global innovation for the public global government consultancy and research division within Kantar. Alex is a professional, certified life and leadership coach (Co-Active method).  She is an executive mentor for high potential women in business, and for social entrepreneurship via the EU Social Innovation Competition. She also has a large pro bono portfolio including a board trusteeship for ground breaking older people’s charity, Claremont.

Oliver Heath, Blue Patch Awards judge 2019

Oliver Heath, Architectural and Interior Designer.

Oliver Heath is a recognised global expert in Biophilic Design. His work is expressed in number of mediums including the design for built environment, writing and the media; having worked for a number of television channels including BBC, ITV channel 4 and the National Geographic channel. He has acted as a spokesperson for the likes of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and is currently a Biophilic Design Ambassador for Interface. His practice Oliver Heath Design are also the lead designers in the BRE’s Biophilic Office project.

Emma Matthews. Merchandising Consultant, Royal Opera House.

Emma Matthews started her career with Next and has over 20 years’ experience in the high street sector the majority of which was spent within the sportswear market including a number of years as Womenswear Product Director for JD Sports. She moved into the heritage sector to become the Buyer for the Whitworth and Manchester museum before joining the Royal Opera House as a Merchandising consultant in 2017.


Abena Poku-Awuah, Managing Director, Legacy.

Abena is the Managing Director of Legacy, a sustainable events agency that organises events and special occasions whilst considering their environmental impact, carbon footprint, and potential for positive social change. She also runs the Legacy Marketplace, an online marketplace to help anyone organise an event using environmentally friendly suppliers.

Legacy represents the next generation of events and experiences, transforming the old ways and creating a market shift towards sustainable events. With her team, Abena is on a mission to revolutionise the way events are planned and run, demonstrating that sustainable events can be beautiful, engaging and inspiring.

Bill Grimsey, Blue Patch Awards judge 2019
Bill Grimsey, businessman and commentator.

Bill Grimsey began his retail career at the age of just 15 years old when he became a butcher’s boy. His first managerial job was at Bishops Food Stores, where he rose to become a director, before joining Tesco in 1986 in the new role of customer services director.

In a varied and full retail career, Bill Grimsey went on to be chief executive of store groups both in the UK and abroad in South Africa and Hong Kong and has earned a reputation as a turnaround specialist. He gained particular attention for masterminding the recovery of DIY group Wickes, which had been at the centre of an accounting scandal that resulted in the suspension of its share price and the banks foreclosing.

Another of these recovery roles was during Bill Grimsey’s five years at the helm of Iceland, which was renamed the Big Food Group, and was later bought out by Icelandic investors Baugur Group. Most recently, he worked with private equity backers heading the Focus DIY chain. Bill Grimsey is author of the Grimsey Review and writes about business, retail and the High Street for the Guardian.

Blue Patch Awards judges
Deborah Pocock. CEO, Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST).

Deborah has been CEO of QEST since 2017. QEST (the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) is a charity of the Royal Warrant Holders Association which supports the education and training of talented and aspiring craftspeople.  Since 1990, QEST has awarded almost £4.3 million to just over 500 craftspeople of all ages and backgrounds in at least 130 skills, from the traditional; to rural; to cutting-edge craft and conservation.   HRH The Prince of Wales is Patron.  In 2002, Deborah was awarded an LVO by HM The Queen for her work during the Golden Jubilee and she has undertaken many high profile projects since that time, joining the Royal Warrant Holders Association as Director of Development in 2013, immediately following the Coronation Festival in the gardens of Buckingham Palace.

Blue Patch awards judges 2019
Phillipa Smith, Editor, Vegan Life and Be Kind magazine.

Phillipa is the editor of Be Kind magazine. Focussing on the environment, community, sustainability and creativity, Be Kind magazine exists to make the world a better place. It’s a scary and uncertain time, as we watch our seas fill with plastic, our bins bulge, and our air become dense with fumes and pollution. Our readers understand the problems that we, as a planet, are facing and want to help.

It’s vital to stay positive, and through our magazine we want to encourage people to make small achievable changes that will have a much bigger global impact. From cutting down on food waste, ditching single-use plastic, supporting sustainable businesses or organising beach litter picks, we want to inspire change, share ideas and leave as little trace as possible.

Judges Blue Patch awards 2019
David Hodge, Digital Content Executive, London Design Fair.

David strategises and curates digital content. His work has included London Design Fair. David has his ‘finger on the pulse’ sharing news, streaming and showcasing the work of hundreds of talented designers. A photographer by training, David’s eye for design makes him the perfect judge for talent spotting.

Judges Blue Patch awards 2019


In The Right Light Photography

Alice and Anna take photographs of people at work. They visit workplaces, from factories and studios to farms and offices. They also take photos of people for their websites.

Clients include artists, lawyers, academics, schools and therapists. They have published two books, The Peckham Connection, 2016 and The East Dulwich Connection, 2017. These books illustrate the impact of rapid economic development on local communities. Alice and Anna are developing a series of portraits of Blue Patch members at work.

Judges Blue Patch Awards 2019
Rebecca Clouston, Stylist.

Rebecca holds a BA Hons in Fine Art from Surrey University. In 1987 Fenwick of Bond Street selected her to be their first ever graduate trainee and her training has been the model for all subsequent graduate applicants. Over 10 years at Fenwicks she held buying positions in Underwear, Cosmetics, Hosiery, Shoes and, finally Menswear and remained a buyer for Bond Street Menswear for seven years. In 1997 she was appointed to the Retail Board at Mulberry in the role of  Senior Retail Merchandiser, responsible for Mulberry Home, Womenswear and Menswear, a position she held until the birth of her first child in 1998. Following a 4 year break to concentrate on parenting, in 2002 , she established her own business offering a bespoke Personal Styling service for image conscious, time poor professionals. Over the past 17 years Rebecca has built a portfolio of clients comprising Peers, Cabinet Ministers, Television Personalities, Musicians, Writers,  Entrepreneurs, career oriented  and life loving individuals. In 2014 she expanded to include a Home Styling service to clients. In addition to my private clients, Rebecca works with leading retailers on a consultancy basis focusing on brand direction and development.

Judges Blue Patch Awards 2019
Emma McKenna, Business Advisor, Advance London.

Emma is a Business Advisor at LWARB working on Advance London, their circular economy business support programme helping businesses to scale up their circular economy activities or transition to more circular ways of working. Prior to joining, Emma was a Project Officer on the future cities programme in Peterborough where she led on the Empowerment and Smart Business strands of the programme delivering projects to drive innovation; smarter ways of working; and the transition to a Circular City. Emma has experience working with businesses from various sectors and managed the development and launch of Peterborough’s own B2B resource sharing platform.

Judges Blue Patch Awards 2019
Carolyn Burnett, Director of Corporate Development, Japan House

Carolyn Burnett spent her early career with IBM in their consultancy business leading a number of client projects, before going on to establish Manchester Art Show, the largest contemporary art fair in the north of England. Most recently, she headed up live content for global events company UBM, leading on an annual series of international events and managing partnerships with key industry associations across the globe. Fascinated by both Japan’s deep history and culture, and the immense creativity of the Japanese people, Carolyn is looking to drive a legacy of engagement between the UK and Japan through Japan House London.

Blue Patch Judges 2019
Annie Sloan, Founder of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Anne Sloan is a world-leading expert in paint and colour and the inventor of Chalk Paint®, which has revolutionised the world of upcycling. It’s no-prep formula was a total game changer and opened up a whole new world of creative possibilities for everybody; from casual DIY fans to professional Interior Designers. Annie hasn’t stopped refining and improving her product range since Chalk Paint® was released in 1990.

The Annie Sloan business is and will always remain family run – with Annie and her husband firmly at the helm. Annie is also committed and proud to support independent businesses, and does this through selling her products exclusively through a network of over 1,700 independent Stockists located in 55 countries around the world.

Matthew Clayton : Managing Director, Thrive Renewables.

Thrive Renewables connects people to sustainable energy and offer accessible opportunities for individuals and businesses to invest in clean energy projects that deliver financial, environmental and social rewards. Matthew has worked in the Thrive Renewables team (formerly Triodos Renewables) since 2006 and undertakes the overall full time management of Thrive Renewables Plc. In this time Matthew has contributed to 15-fold growth in the Company. Thrive are Blue Patch members and Gold Patrons.


Judges Blue Patch Awards 2019

Natalia Komis, Founder, Remote Mission.

Natalia Komis  is the founder of Remote Mission, as well as a business and marketing strategist for high flying female entrepreneurs and social businesses. So aside from her passion and expertise in helping people figure out their ‘why’ and go after it, she brings a lot of business and marketing knowledge into getting you the job that is right for you!

Judge Blue Patch awards 2019
Michael Davies,  Associate Director, Green and Seen.

Michael Davies is an Associate Director at Green and Seen (, a consultant specialising in environmental auditing and behaviour change. Michael’s previous role as Head of Environment at Business in the Community brings great insight to his role with Green and Seen. His liaison between the business and charitable sectors gave in-depth insight into the CSR and sustainability agenda of both sectors. Michael led Business in The Community’s Circular Economy and Community Energy programmes Previous to this Michael held responsibility for Eurostar’s international sales & marketing. As well as growing sales in all markets outside France, the UK and Belgium, as part of his role as Head of International Sales, part of Eurostar’s Senior Management Team. His relationship management skills were honed during this period as he oversaw Eurostar’s relationships with Airline partners, General Sales Agents and International Tourist Boards. In his spare time, Michael is Chair and active member of Hackney Players, an amateur dramatic group and volunteers at St.Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney where he sits on the Green Committee and Volunteer Committee.

Jane Langley, Founder, Blue Patch,
Jane Langley, Founder, Blue Patch.
Jane is Founder and CEO of Blue Patch, a social enterprise that aims to bring sustainable and heritage businesses closer to customers. Blue Patch, launched 2014, is a theory of economic change – one that hopefully people will grow to appreciate and then adopt. Jane is a (now occasional!) painter and teacher with experience of curating exhibitions. She founded a creative environmental programme for young people, using art to learn about and tackle the climate emergency and species collapse. Films made by children from around the world were screened an international film competition at the Barbican and BFI. During International Year Of Biodiversity in 2010, Jane realised over production and the race to exploit and deplete resources was a key driver in social inequality and climate change. Blue Patch supports sustainable production and gives 100% of its surplus profits to invest in renewable energy, conservation and community-based initiatives.
Thank you to our Patrons and Sponsors !
Thank you to our wonderful Patrons, Naturesave and Thrive Renewables. Patrons support the Blue Patch awards, ensuring they are freely available for all to enter. Naturesave insure Blue Patch too, so we’re all in safe hands!
Thrive Renewables
Thank you also to our marvellous Sponsors, longstanding members Denby have sponsored the 2019 Sustainable Innovation Award – the factory in Denby has achieved 100% to landfill! EQ Investors are also members of the Blue Patch Collective and present options for investors to put their money to good use. EQ sponsored the 2019 Global Impact Award. Bouncepad are superb designers based in London and create stylish and top quality digital display for tablets – the only one Blue Patch would use on our stand at London Design Fair!  Bouncepad sponsored the New Business Award this year. A ‘secret sponsor’ is supporting Social Good Award.