The 2021 Judges
We have brought together a fine panel of judges for this year's Awards Programme. Collectively they bring a huge amount of expertise, insight and hard-won experience to the task of assessing the nominations and selecting worthy winners.
Melissa has been a driving force behind the rise of Event Cinema; her expansive strategic vision and superb commercial acumen she has used to simultaneously grow an organisation and change an industry.
Melissa spent 20 years in the UK film industry; 7 years at Disney and 3 years as Director of Film Operations for Paramount Pictures. She set up her own consultancy in 2009 and was retained by Royal Opera House to develop their own distribution department. Over time, seeing the position, branding and infrastructure required to help the industry to grow, she invented the name ‘Event Cinema’ to help audiences recognise the art form and set up the Event Cinema Association in 2012. She appointed a board of 10 key figures in the industry and with a global membership including Odeon, the British Museum and the BBC went on to organise conferences, trade shows, awards and networking events, as well as commenting in the trade press about the growth of the market.
Melissa’s achievements have been recognised with the Outstanding Contribution to Event Cinema Award at the 2015 ECA Awards, and she was also ranked 33rd in the Celluloid Junkie Top Women in Cinema in 2017. In 2020 she took a new direction as Managing Editor of Broadband Journal for the SCTE, Society for Broadband Professionals, based in London, publishing four journals a year and managing all the marketing and communications for the Society.
Catherine joined Openreach in 2016. She is responsible for Openreach’s corporate communications and reputation strategy, including media and digital, public affairs, brand and corporate responsibility.
Before Openreach, Catherine was corporate affairs director at Paddy Power from 2013–2016, and helped found the Senet Group, the first industry self-regulatory body. She was previously a director at Brunswick Group and in 2011 spent six months working on the BP Deepwater Horizon crisis.
Catherine started her career at the Foreign Office where she worked on a range of crisis situations, including the Government’s humanitarian response to 9/11. She also led the development of the UK’s policy on Kosovo and was personal political adviser to Lord Ashdown, the high representative for Bosnia, in Sarajevo.
Catherine is Chair of Vision for a Nation, a charity dedicated to providing universal access to primary eyecare, and a trustee of The Wiener Holocaust Library.
In a range of posts at Lancaster University spent 30 years deploying campus, regional and national networks across the UK, with a particular interest in the more rural areas. Retired from his role as Deputy Director-ISS in 2009 and founded Broadband for the Rural North Ltd (B4RN), a not for profit community benefit society which is deploying a full fibre FTTH network across North Lancashire, South Cumbria and parts of North Yorkshire. This is now delivering 1GbE and 10Gbs symmetric broadband to over 9,500 properties in the deeply rural last few percent of the country. Awarded an MBE for services to rural broadband in 2015. Retired as B4RN Chief Executive at the end of 2020. Holds a Professorial Fellowship in the Department of Computing, Lancaster University and is a Fellow of the RSA.
Elizabeth Harrison is the Strategic Programme Manager for Kent County Council’s broadband programme and has over 15 years of experience in working across the regeneration, digital and infrastructure agendas. Elizabeth is responsible for leading the Council’s broadband upgrade work, which has already delivered better broadband connectivity to over 140,000 homes and businesses through a variety of different approaches – including projects that have worked collaboratively with communities on locally driven solutions.
Chief Executive of UK based analyst house Point Topic Oliver has been involved in online environments for more than 30 years. He joined Point Topic as the COO in 2004 and moved to CEO in 2007.
Starting with internet projects in the mid-80s running bulletin boards, through building some of the first commercial websites in the UK in the early 90s and then to monitoring and analysing B2C and B2B market demand and supply he has built up a significant breadth of experience. Over the last 20 years he has researched, analysed and reported on global broadband markets and players down to zip code consumer modelling. Familiar with the range of influences that drive broadband, from political to legal to technical to socio-demographic effects he originates the bulk of Point Topic’s modelling and data analysis.
Originally a mathematical economist Oliver subsequently moved on from the City (working in strategic management consultancies) and progressed through a number of media rich environments including broadcast TV, online and offline advertising and digital marketing for some of the largest global brands and agencies before arriving at Point Topic.
Oliver oversees the analyst and development work on Point Topic’s geographic products in particular and continues to work on broadband scoping projects for the local and national governments, the European Commission and a range of industry clients.
Sara Kelly is the Digital Connectivity Lead at the Greater London Authority. She joined the GLA in 2013 and oversaw the development of the Mayor’s Connectivity Rating and the Connected London work programme. She now leads on policy and strategy to improve and promote London's digital connectivity, preparing the capital for FTTP and 5G. Most recently she has been the mission lead for the Mayor of London and London Council’s Digital Access for All mission, as part of London’s COVID-19 recovery programme.
Her previous projects include drafting London Plan 2021 policy to secure full fibre and mobile connectivity for all new developments, working with site providers and operators to develop the Standardised Template Mobile Access agreement, securing multi-million grant funding for connectivity upgrades of public sector sites across London, and fostering private sector investment into digital infrastructure while securing social value, to name a few.
Prior to joining the GLA Sara worked with technology start-ups as the Executive Director at the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec). She has a degree in British Politics and Legislative Studies and lives in London.