Carmen Watson has today (June 19) completed a remarkable rise from secretary to the boardroom at recruitment specialists Pertemps after she was named the IoD West Midlands Director of the Year.
Carmen, from Wolverhampton, joined Pertemps in the 1970s, quickly rising through the ranks to become chairman and MD of the £400m turnover business. Carmen has always believed passionately that the UK’s service-based economy must be supported by strong corporate governance and boardroom accountability, and that management strategies must place inclusivity at their heart.
Judges for the Institute of Directors (IoD) commented: “Carmen’s award is well-deserved. Throughout her career she has demonstrated all the qualities we were looking for from our overall winner: vision, clear strategy, confidence, drive and above all, leadership.
“These skills have helped her steer Pertemps through challenging business climates, implement a strategy which has helped drive growth and position the company as a market leader in its field, servicing a broad cross-section of companies and public sector bodies.”
Dr Jason Wouhra of East End Foods, who stood down from his role with the IoD at the event after five years at the helm of the business leaders' organisation, commented: “Having worked her way up through the business, Carmen has led from the front and engaged her directors and managers in ensuring a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion which is at the forefront of Pertemps corporate strategy."
Dr Wouhra is succeeded as chair by Brian Hall, Chief Commercial Officer at BHSF, who also paid tribute to Carmen's passion for Pertemps. “Carmen has ensured Pertemps leads the way in the field of attraction, recruitment and retention of a diverse range of talent. It’s a strategy that has delivered an impressive client portfolio and a host of highly coveted industry awards.”
Carmen also won the Inclusivity category at the awards.
Other award winners included Dawn Hands of BMG Research, who was named the Director of the Year in the SME category; Henry Deakin of cufflinks and luxury accessories supplier Deakin & Francis Ltd, who won the Family Business category; and Kutty Prabakaran (Enzen Group) who was the Global Director of the Year.
Phil Neale of up and coming Innovation Birmingham-based tech company Snoozle Ltd was winner in the Start-Up category; Adam Kiani from Personal Trainer Ltd was Director of the Year for Innovation and, also based at Innovation Birmingham; Angus Drummond (Limitless Travel) took home the award for his commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.
The Public/Third Sector Director of the Year was James McLaughlin of charity Cure Leukaemia, and Innovation Birmingham-based Clive Bawden was named Non-Executive Director of the Year.
The Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice, selected by Dr Jason Wouhra, went to Dr Andy Palmer of Aston Martin Lagonda.
Brian Hall will now lead IoD West Midlands for the next three years and he said he was delighted to be beginning his term as chairman. He paid tribute to his predecessor, Dr Wouhra, who had been an “outstanding chair of this organisation.”
“Under Jason we have increased the IoD’s profile at a time when the voice of the business community needs to be heard more than ever. We will continue to follow the IoD's goal since its inception, of supporting, representing and setting the standards for directors and business leaders nationwide.
"Our role will be even more vital over the next few years as the region prepares for Brexit and the many challenges that will bring.”