Verastar CEO Chris Earle has been named the first Male Agent of Change in the Forward Ladies National Awards and Summit 2018.

Forward Ladies’ mission is to create a global platform that connects women to opportunities, networks, businesses and expertise that empowers them. Now in their ninth year, the Forward Ladies National Awards were launched to acknowledge and promote the fact that women are an integral part of every business. The regional finals for the North West, Ireland and Wales, sponsored by HSBC, took place on 12th October at The Lowry Hotel, Manchester. The build-up to the day featured excellent networking opportunities, a delicious three-course meal and an inspirational keynote speech from Helen Walbery, Managing Director of Recycle Scooters and head of the National Federation of Self Employed and Small Businesses committee.

During the awards section, twelve categories were celebrated ranging from STEM Rising Star to International Entrepreneur. Verastar’s Programme Manager Holly Mack and Chief Commercial Officer Nicola Smith (pictured above) were finalists for Emerging Leader and Corporate Leader respectively. This is a fantastic accolade, as described by Forward Ladies Manager Director Griselda Togobo:

“The calibre of entries has been increasing year on year, and our regional shortlists are the everyday heroines, trailblazers and role models who have succeeded despite enormous challenges. They deserve recognition.”

For the first time, Forward Ladies is recognising men who are championing and leading the drive for diversity in their business and the wider community through their Male Agent of Change Award and Verastar is delighted with their choice for the North West, Wales and Ireland Regional Awards – Verastar’s CEO Chris Earle.

Verastar is a leading provider of essential business services for the small business market through their brands kinex, Clear Business and Unicom. Not only do they provide telecoms, broadband, mobile, gas, electricity, water and insurance (through their sister company The Insurance Octopus) to over 160,000 customers, they also strive to be an employer of choice for their 900+ colleagues. Across the South Manchester Head Office and 14 regional offices, equality and diversity is a key focus, so to be recognised by Forward Ladies is a real honour. Chris Earle comments:

“At Verastar we have a real focus on creating an environment where all colleagues will succeed and thrive, part of this is ensuring that there are equal opportunities for all. To put it simply, we encourage and reward performance. All other factors are irrelevant in our workplace.”

This approach was cemented in Verastar’s Gender Pay Gap Report published in March 2018.

From a personal point of view, this award also meant a lot to Chris. He adds:

“As a dad to three girls, the recognition from this award has a sentimental aspect too, as I am truly invested in promoting equal opportunities which I hope will lay strong foundations ready for when my daughters start their careers. The work that Forward Ladies do to empower women in the workplace is brilliant and as a company we are really pleased to be a part of this.”

Forward Ladies commented in their blog:

“Chris has created a culture for a truly diverse workforce with equal opportunities for all in the company. He believes that if you make a positive contribution within an organisation, you will succeed, irrespective of your background, race or gender.”

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