These exceptional individuals have overcome adversity, showcased innovation, and dedicated themselves to their respective fields.
Join us in celebrating their remarkable contributions to Manchester and beyond.
This distinguished honour has been meticulously crafted to celebrate the extraordinary individuals who embody the very essence of dedication, commitment, and hard work in their respective fields.
These remarkable nominees have not only overcome countless obstacles but have also displayed unparalleled drive, creativity, and innovation in their relentless pursuit of excellence.
So without further ado, let’s meet the incredible people up for I Love MCR’s Worker Bee award
Benjamin Hall – Managing Director of LOFT
Benjamin Hall is the visionary leader behind LOFT, a nationwide furnishing provider that began as a local, family-run business.
Over the past two decades, he has guided LOFT’s evolution to meet the demands of the Private Rented Sector (PRS) market.
Their core offering, delivering, assembling, and installing furniture while recycling old items, remains at the heart of the company.
Benjamin’s journey from a small second-hand furniture store in Manchester to serving the booming Buy-to-Let (BTL) and Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) sectors reflects his adaptability and market insight.
He anticipates future booms in co-living, multi-family, and retirement spaces, ensuring LOFT remains market-driven.
Gemma Krysko – Founder of Queens of Tomorrow
Gemma Krysko is a dynamic entrepreneur who co-founded We Are Indigo and is now on a mission to empower women in business through her app, Queens of Tomorrow.
This innovative app combines self-affirmation with direct networking, providing women with a platform to connect and support each other.
Gemma’s journey from the world of destination PR to tech entrepreneurship showcases her adaptability and commitment to empowering the next generation of female leaders.
She envisions Queens of Tomorrow becoming the go-to social network for women striving for success in the business world.
Jane Dowler – Owner of Evuna
Jane Dowler made a remarkable career shift from digital marketing to owning Evuna, a celebrated tapas restaurant in Manchester.
Her journey reflects her commitment to bringing a taste of Spain to the city.
Evuna’s success story, from its launch in 2003 to expansions in Knutsford and Altrincham, is a testament to Jane’s entrepreneurial spirit.
The decision to expand to Altrincham, a thriving foodie town, further demonstrates her strategic acumen.
Lisa Morton – Founder and CEO of Roland Dransfield
Lisa Morton is a connector and storyteller extraordinaire.
As the Founder and CEO of Roland Dransfield, she has created numerous lasting relationships between brands, businesses, clients, media, and charities.
Beyond her business success, Lisa is dedicated to providing quality career opportunities for young people.
She runs the podcast, We Built This City, which has incredible conversations with the Mancunians – born, bred and adopted – who put the heart into Modern Manchester.
We Built This City focuses on how these extraordinary Mancunians have built something that impacts lives and the purposeful relationships that have helped steer them, the values that have driven them to do it, and the legacies they plan to leave behind.
Lisa Morton interviews Mancunian icons like Andy Burnham, John Thomson, Gary Neville, Sacha Lord, Stacey Copeland, Clint Boon, Sir Richard Leese, Diane Modahl MBE, Ged King, Chris Brindley MBE, Carl Austin-Behan OBE, Karina Jadhav, Joanne Roney OBE and Sir Howard Bernstein.
Lisa has cultivated purposeful relationships and connections that foster business growth and social impact. Her commitment to supporting women within her company and across Manchester is unwavering.
Lisa’s journey from founding her business in Manchester to becoming a role model for aspiring young women in the PR and marketing field showcases her resilience, dedication, and integrity.
Lisa’s passion for amplifying incredible stories and making invaluable connections continues to shape her impactful career.
Nicole Broad – Founder of The Fruit Moth
Nicole Broad is a creative force in sustainable fashion. Her journey began with a sewing machine purchase during the pandemic, leading to the birth of The Fruit Moth.
Nicole specialises in transforming pre-loved charity shop items into bespoke garments and accessories, fostering a unique approach to fashion.
Her success, marked by custom designs and influencer recognition, highlights the power of passion and creativity in driving a thriving business.
Mike George: A Lifetime of Inspiring Community Impact
Mike George’s journey is a testament to unwavering dedication and a passion for community service. Despite facing early hardships, his life has been marked by remarkable contributions and a commitment to empowering those around him.
At the age of 15 months, Mike battled meningitis, spending six months in the hospital during a time when healthcare resources were limited. His early years were defined by hard work, as he assisted his single mother in sewing garments to make ends meet. Mike’s work ethic was evident from a young age, as he tirelessly delivered sewn goods and missed school to support his family.
Although financial constraints forced him to give up formal education, Mike’s resilience led him to pursue a career in dental technology. He completed an apprenticeship swiftly, crafting dentures for his mother. His path eventually led to teaching, where he made a lasting impact on students at various schools.
Mike’s dedication to youth and community work shone through as he became a Youth and Community Worker in Sharston. He initiated projects to renovate facilities and secure support from the Prince’s Trust, creating training programs for young adults.
Later, as the head of the Birtles Adult Education Centre, Mike managed a team of educators and support staff, fostering an environment that encouraged volunteer participation. He organised cross-Wythenshawe play schemes, leaving a lasting mark on the community.
Mike’s marketing efforts for the cross-city Adult Education Service earned him recognition, including the Chief Executive’s Award.
Notably, Mike spearheaded a citywide project that resulted in the creation of a Millennium patchwork quilt displayed at the People’s History Museum in Manchester.
Despite a quadruple coronary bypass in 2000, Mike’s enthusiasm for community service never wavered. Retirement was a foreign concept to him. He continued volunteering at various organisations, including Wythenshawe Hospital, Wythenshawe Community Radio, and schools.
Mike’s advocacy for equal opportunities has touched the lives of many, including notable individuals like Amir Khan and Jason Orange. His ongoing dedication to community service, even in the face of health challenges, is a testament to his unwavering spirit.
As Mike George approaches the age of 78, he remains undaunted, embodying the spirit of resilience and dedication. His tireless efforts to uplift and inspire others make him a true community hero.
Sandy Lindsay MBE – Prominent Businesswoman and Philanthropist
Sandy Lindsay MBE is a businesswoman with a heart for the community.
Recognised by the Queen for her contributions to business and youth development, Sandy’s journey reflects her dedication to creating quality career opportunities for young people.
Her digital apprenticeship program, The Juice Academy, has impacted countless lives.
Sandy’s commitment extends to her recent appointment to the board of the Rugby Football League.
She cherishes Manchester’s inclusive culture and its can-do attitude, making it a place where all voices matter.
Joseph Houston and William Whelton – Co-Founders of Hope Mill Theatre
Joseph Houston and William Whelton are the creative minds behind Hope Mill Theatre, a hub for innovative theatre experiences.
Their mission is to enrich, educate, and entertain the community through superior theatre.
Hope Mill Theatre provides a safe and inclusive home for both artists and audiences to explore creativity.
Transitioning from private ownership to a registered charity, ‘A Factory of Creativity,’ Joseph and William continue their roles, fostering inclusivity and community engagement in the arts.
Their dedication to the theatre scene has earned them accolades, including Fringe Venue of The Year at The Stage Awards in 2018.
The Manchester Worker Bee Award is proudly sponsored by The Hilton Manchester Deansgate.
This is an inclusive event and it’s because of their support, we’re able to offer complimentary tickets to charities, community groups, disabled people and carers who may not otherwise be able to afford to attend.