commsHERO Awards... the finalists are announced

These awards are ones you will have never seen before but will most definitely want to win! The first ever CommsHero awards received over 96 entries.

We were looking for individuals in the comms and marketing space that had demonstrated innovation and excellence across the communications sector. We are excited to highlight the excellent work demonstrated by the comms community.

The judging is now complete and we have added our finalists to each category.

Book your ticket:

Our awards ceremony will take place on 26th September in Manchester at the in-person day of #CommsHero Week. It will be a great event to showcase the finalists achievements and success with the comms, marketing and PR community.


The finalists

For this award we want to recognise the pioneers of sustainability. As CommsHeroes we have the responsibility to our businesses, customers and the wider public, to communicate and demonstrate why sustainable practices are vital. This award is for an individual that champions sustainability. We are looking for stories of innovation, creativity but most of all sustainability at the heart of the project, demonstrating best practice, that other CommsHeros can learn from.

This award is centred around action; steps taken, factors considered, impact generated. Tell us the what, the how and the result/s. It can be big or small, it can be a one-off change or lots of little changes to the ways we work and how we do what we do.

The finalists

  • Caroline Chapman, Dalkia
  • Rubianca Tiwari and Richard Mountford, West London NHS Trust
  • Nadia Khan, Brent Council

This award celebrates the gen Z super star! The nominee will be under 25 and a clear rising star within the comms profession! The nominee will be an individual that has excelled in their chosen field and made a considerable impact to a project, launch, activity or programme. The award can also include individuals who show leadership qualities and potential within the sector, including inspiring and motivating others, taking initiative, and demonstrating innovative thinking within comms!

The finalists

  • Ella Hazel, Gambling Commission
  • Ellie LeBeau, Wrekin
  • Cara Crotty, Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Lois Ward, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

For this award we want to know about the comms heroes pushing the EDI agenda forward through tangible, measured action. Tell us about a colleague’s, or your, activity and commitment to progress in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion. We’re looking for those individuals who are positively influencing the actions and behaviours of others in their organisations, change-makers leading the way in the public-facing work we do, and unsung comms pros who are contributing to meaningful change in their own ways.

This award is centred around action; steps taken, factors considered, impact generated. Tell us the what, the how and the result/s. It can be big or small, it can be a one off change or lots of little changes to the ways we work and how we do what we do.

The finalists

  • Lucy Dawson
  • Sophie Lowry, Health Innovation Network
  • Dave Roberts, Salisbury NHS Foundation
  • Anna Dilku, Aviva
  • Leicia Feare, NHS England
  • Louise Gibson, Sheffield City Council

This award highlights a strategy or campaign that made your audience feel ‘all the feels’.

Campaigns that have had high emotional impact on audiences should be put forward for this award, we want to hear about how organisations have created engagement through the methods of creating an emotional reaction.

The finalists

  • North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) Communications Team, #OUCH #ByeByeUTI
  • Rack Space Technology, RackFarm
  • South Wales Police, Humans of SWP
  • Bradford Council, Living Well
  • DBS Communications Team, To Love Somebody – Why we do what we do
  • Keech Hospice Care, Cancer Chose Me. I Chose Keech
  • R&I Comms Team, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Libmeldy

Do you know a comms professional who brings pure magic to the office? In collaboration with Comms Creatives, we are looking to celebrate those exceptional individuals with talent, passion, and a creative sparkle.

We want to hear about their incredible work, but also about the way they make everyone around them feel.

Whether they inspire their teams, accomplish amazing feats with limited resources, or revolutionise a brand’s reputation through innovative thinking, we want to know their story.

The Comms Unicorn of the Year Award isn’t about qualifications, age, experience, or job titles. It’s about recognising the true gems in the comms industry who never fail to amaze and bring smiles to people’s faces.

The finalists

  • Maame Yaa Serwaa Bona-Mensa, Ness Labs
  • Georgia Moore and Matt Reeve-Fowkes, Southern Health NHS
  • Rachel Gardiner-James, Tai Tarian Ltd
  • Angela Wong Keet, NHS (NHS Mid and South Essex)
  • Charlotte McIntyre, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Mellissa Higgins, Keech Hospice Care
  • Marianna Bebu, On the Beach

Think social media gets a bad rep? Well now’s your chance to turn the tables.

The Middle Aisle Award recognises social media interactions that really engage your community. From a laugh out loud moment to a heartfelt conversation, we want to see how you humanise social media.

The finalists

  • South wales Police, swpolice TikTok account
  • Cheltenham Borough Council and Cheltenham Borough Homes, #KeepItCleanCheltenham – War on Wee and Don’t take the #!$%
  • Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, MKUH Social Media Team
  • The Wrekin Housing Group, Damp and Mould

This award is open to nominate a member of your organisation/the CommsHero community who doesn’t work directly in comms/PR/marketing who always supports the work of the communications department.

This could be someone who is a huge employee advocate that always engages with internal communications/the organisation’s social media accounts, someone who volunteers at internal events or someone from the finance department that always approves your communications budget without any questions asked!

The finalists

  • Romany Whurr, Kids Inspire
  • SWP Mike Jordan, South Wales Police
  • Dan Bebbington, Wrekin
  • Amanda-Jane Anderson, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust
  • Duncan Palmer, Platform Housing Group
  • Shehryar Khan, NHS (NHS Mid and South Essex)
  • Jacob Perry, Wrekin

This award is in memory of the late Amanda Bate. Amanda was a communications professional who had her ‘Dare to Fail’ moment during the CommsHero event back in 2019. Even though it was out of her comfort zone, Amanda plucked up the courage and volunteered to come on stage to speak in front of an audience of 100 people, a daunting experience for anyone who isn’t a seasoned public speaker.

“It was a big moment and one that I will remember for many years to come” – Amanda’s friend.

For this award, we’re looking for an individual that has stepped out of their comfort zone and not been afraid to fail, and as a result, succeeded. Examples of this could be from public speaking just like Amanda, to approaching C-suite with an innovating idea. We want to hear about any dare to fail moment, no matter how big or small.

The finalists

  • Eduvie Martin, Comic Republic, Getting Certified
  • Orla Gibney, Days Out
  • Lucy Nixon, JJ Housing
  • Amy Walker, The Wrekin Housing Group

This award is in memory of the late John Popham. A passionate communications professional that went above and beyond in all aspects of his work and was a dedicated #CommsHero. John always went out of his way to support the community and others within the communications industry. He would often volunteer to help at CommsHero events and never wanted anything in return. He truly loved his career and was an incredibly kind soul that will forever be missed.

Click here  to watch a video of John, taken from one of the very first CommsHero events.

For this award, we’re looking for individuals who like John, go above and beyond within their communications/marketing/PR career to support others and are a general joy to be around. We’re looking for people who do all this off their own back, and never look for anything in return. A real unsung hero.

The finalists

  • Leanne Hughes, Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Chantelle Botwright, Aster Group
  • Chloe Farmer, Barron McCann
  • Beverley Stonehouse, , Guildford Borough Council
  • James Sharp, NHS (NHS Mid and South Essex)
  • Kathy Hackett, The Wrekin Housing Group
  • Gareth Jones, The Wrekin Housing Group

This award is in memory of the late Sandra Barber. Sandra was driven, committed and never afraid to speak out. She made sure that comms had a seat at the table and that our voice was heard. She left school with little qualifications and started out at Honeycomb as an admin assistant in the customer services team! She got her degree, CIM qualification, plain English qualification and worked all the way up to Head of Comms.

She loved language and had a keen interest in behavioural economics and loved having debates about anything and everything. She would look for the new and innovative ideas and bring it back to the business and always wanted her team to do the same. She was ahead of her time in her thinking and approach to comms and people management.  She was super bright, caring and an encouraging and inspirational leader.

She was also strong and a formidable character too! She did not suffer fools that is for sure!

For this award, we’re looking for an inspirational leader/mentor who is forward thinking in their approach to comms and people management. We want to hear about someone who has had a positive impact on your career.

The finalists

  • Emma Lyons, Wyre Council
  • Adam Shepphard, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
  • Claire Williamson, Resonance
  • Abigail Scott Paul, LEEDS 2023
  • Carrie-Ann Wade, NELFT
  • Karlie Thompson, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Laura Wileman, Sheffield City Council

The Last award category celebrates the extraordinary superpowers of communication professionals in their reactive communication campaigns. In a world that moves at a supersonic speed, these Comms Heroes face unexpected events or emerging trends that demand immediate and strategic responses.

This category recognises the individuals, teams, or organisations that have displayed remarkable agility and resourcefulness, harnessing their Comms Hero abilities to craft and execute reactive communication campaigns.

The Last award is a shining beacon, highlighting the extraordinary efforts of Comms Heroes, who possess powers beyond mortal comprehension. These exceptional individuals have fearlessly transformed unexpected situations into opportunities for communication excellence, leaving their mark as true legends in the world of communication.

The victor of this category will be hailed as the ultimate master of reactive communication, a beacon of inspiration for Comms Heroes everywhere, capable of responding swiftly and strategically to any communication challenge that dares to stand in their way.

The finalists

  • Fife Communications Team, NHS Fife NHS
  • NHS Mid and South Essex Communications and Engagement Team, #DoYourBitEssex
  • Counter Terrorism Policing
  • Karlie Thompson, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

We’ve kept the award submission process as simple as possible, this is to ensure everyone has an equal chance, no matter the experience you have.

Award criteria:

  • Clearly define the background of the campaign including audience and purpose 
  • Explain the challenges, expectations and objectives 
  • Robust insight and analysis 
  • Explain what creativity and innovation was used 
  • Clear justification of your strategy 
  • Clear planning and campaign management 
  • Explain the outcomes and results  
  • Evidence of collaboration with teams, internal and external stakeholders and/or customers  
  • Evidence any learnings taken from the project/campaign 

  • The CommsHero Awards are open to any marketing or comms individuals/services provider from United Kingdom who contributed to a campaign as laid out in the category criteria. 
  • Entries must be no longer than 1500 words. 
  • Entries must be from in-house communications/marketing/PR teams only, we will not accept any agency work.
  • The judging eligibility period runs from 19 June 2023 to 31 August 2023. 
  • Entries must be made using the online entry template. Entries will not be accepted by any other means.  
  • Entries cannot be edited after submission. 
  • Entries can be made independently, or as joint client/supplier submissions. 
  • Projects may be entered into more than one category as appropriate. 
  • Please ensure that the information submitted is accurate and the correct companies are credited as appropriate. We accept no responsibility for any incorrectly submitted information. 
  • We do not require any supporting material to be submitted as part of an entry. Text only entries are sufficient. 
  • We will accept URL links to back any entry submissions. 
  • By submitting an entry, the entrant confirms that they have read and agree with the award terms & conditions and understand these now apply. 
  • Winners will be announced at the CommsHero Week in-person day Awards, taking place in Manchester on 26 September 2023. 
  • Shortlists announced end of August, we encourage all shortlisted nominations to purchase an in-person CommsHero Week 2023 ticket to have the chance to accept the award.
  • By submitting your submission you agree to your information being shared with resource.