Anita Nadkarni – Chair of the MKBAA Judging Panel
Anita Nadkarni is the Supply Chain and Operations Growth Driver at PwC, UK. With more than 15 years’ experience in defining and driving large transformations to completion, Anita is a champion of helping businesses achieve their objectives through the implementation of strategies, which are underpinned by technology.
With such a high level of business experience across both the public and private sectors, Anita’s position on the judging panel marks an important step forward for MKBAA. Having built strong relationships across the region with businesses, educational institutes, charity organisations and professional bodies, Anita is also a brand ambassador for MK College and MK Hospital Charity.
Ruth Devine is the Managing Director and owner of SJD Associates Ltd, a local building services contractor. The business was established in 1996 by her father, Stephen Devine, an electrical engineer and former Clerk of Works for MK Development Corporation. Ruth joined ten years later to help build the business, following a career in supply chain management with global chemical manufacturer Chemetall Plc. Stephen happily retired five years ago and SJD continues to scale, working directly for many prestigious local companies and on regional construction projects.
SJD were delighted to win the MKBAA Small Business award in 2019 in recognition of their high growth, commitment to their people and support for the MK community.
Ruth is an advocate of technical education, especially apprenticeships, and strongly supports improving the culture and diversity of the Construction industry.
She is Chair of two electrotechnical industry skills groups – ECA’s Skills Committee and The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership. She’s part of the Construction Leadership Council’s People and Skills Network and attends the cross-government and industry Construction Skills Delivery Group. She contributed to the development of the pilot trailblazer Electrician apprenticeship standard, then joined the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Educations as a Construction Route Panel member in 2017.
Ruth supports MK College and local secondary schools as a SEMLEP/CEC Enterprise Adviser and is a trustee of the Lighthouse Club Construction Industry Charity, providing assistance with physical, mental and financial wellbeing for the whole construction workforce and their families.
Sophie is the Head of Economic Development at Milton Keynes City Council. She leads the Invest Milton Keynes team and key areas of corporate policy including regional working, infrastructure investment planning and growth. She has previously worked on regional growth initiatives including the Central Area Growth Board, worked at the National Infrastructure Commission, and currently sits on the user panel for the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth.
Amanda joined Data and AI specialists; Aiimi in September 2023 to help lead and expand their Business Development, after retiring as an elected member of Milton Keynes City Council. Amanda served as Mayor of Milton Keynes 2022/23 and in that time visited a great number of businesses in MK, connecting with and helping forge alliances across all sectors within business, charities, and community groups. Amanda also played a key role in helping Milton Keynes achieve city status in 2022, culminating by welcoming HM King Charles III to our city to receive the Letters Patent. Amanda is a Trustee of Milton Keynes Museum, the Business lead for Milton Keynes Conservative Federation and a Women Leaders Winner 2023.
Viren started his career in accountancy before moving into the commercial world 20 years ago. He has worked across diverse sectors including education, telecommunications, healthcare, and retail and joined The Open University (OU) in 2015. Now in his role as Director of the Business Development Unit, Viren works with employers to understand their business challenges, and provide flexible learning and development solutions.
For over 50 years, The Open University has led the way in innovative distance-learning and has a proven track record and rich heritage of providing workplace education solutions for employers across a range of sectors, which help employees fulfil their potential.
The Open University’s flexible and adaptable approach enables consistent educational programmes to be delivered at scale, across geographically dispersed workforces. Through minimising the time needed in the classroom, The Open University’s blended delivery model is shaped around the needs of the employer and the role and responsibilities of the learner. This gives employees new skills and knowledge they can apply immediately to the workplace – increasing engagement and maximising return on investment.
During Viren’s time at The Open University, the OU has become the largest provider of degree apprenticeships in England – offering programmes in healthcare, social work, policing, systems thinking, digital management and leadership. The OU also offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, vocational qualifications, microcredentials, short courses and free learning and now works with more than 2,400 organisations across a wide range of sectors.
Ryan has worked in the Food Manufacturing industry for the last 29 years, predominantly in Bakery, with 6 years in a Fruit Juice/Sauce & Beverage manufacturing business. He is currently Managing & Industrial Director for Brioche Pasquier UK.
Ryan has been with the company for 5.5 years, Managing Director for this year, Industrial Director prior to this. Starting as Production Operative 29 years ago, Ryan has grown through the business structure to be where he is today.
Ryan’s main competence is around Production/Factory & People management, Finance, Legal and Supply Chain with a lot of Project experience, including 2 major site builds/extensions.
Jason is a Commercial Director and Management Consultant, Fellow at the Chartered Management Institute with a background in HR Management, currently Chief Operating Officer at Profile Resourcing, an Inclusive Recruitment Specialist.
An Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Transformation Lead, with a focus on Executive D&I Strategy Development, Governance and D&I best practices in Recruitment, Attraction and Staff Development, Jason also delivers modules for Cranfield Universities Executive Management Programmes in the School of Management. Jason was an NUE Awards Finalist – Outstanding Contribution to Student Work Experience 2020 and sits as a Strategic Advisor, Director and Trustee on a number of Boards, as well as volunteering as an Aleto Foundation Mentor on the Leadership Programme.
Having had a wealth of Strategic and Operational experience over the last 24 years in Blue Chip, SME, Public Sector and Higher Education, Jason is a proud vocal supporter of Diversity and Inclusion and other initiatives designed to give all the chance of success.
Ranjit is Philanthropy Director at MK Community Foundation and proud to be supporting the community of Milton Keynes by engaging philanthropist both corporate and individual to invest in their local community. He has a broad range of experience both in the charitable and corporate sectors. Ranjit also co-founded the Milton Keynes Ethnic Business Community, a network connecting, raising profile and empowering ethnic minority businesses owners and professionals.
Francesca moved to Milton Keynes in 1977 and spent the first 14 years commuting to London. She worked at first in the advertising department of The Guardian newspaper, moving to IPC magazines to join the team launching a new women’s magazine OPTIONS, and later became publisher of Ideal Home magazine. On the birth of her second child she decided to work locally and left the private sector for a job in the voluntary sector and was Manager of Relate MK for ten years.
The community of Milton Keynes became her focus and she also took on voluntary roles. She served as a trustee of the Milton Keynes Community Foundation, including a three year term as Chair, and is now one of the Foundation’s Vice Presidents. She joined the Board of Governors of MK College and served as Chair for six years from 2008-2013, and is now one of the MK College’s Ambassadors.
She is a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) of Buckinghamshire and was High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2015/16. In 2016 she took on the role of Chair of the Arts and Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes, which has over 35 members and stakeholders. In its advocacy for culture at the heart of placemaking, AHA-MK champions the rich heritage and creative future of Milton Keynes. It is also the lead partner for MAKE, the Milton Keynes Cultural Education Partnership, which works with its partners in schools and MK College and the cultural sector to enhance the lives of children and young people in Milton Keynes through outstanding and inclusive cultural education and creative enrichment.
In 2020 AHA-MK produced a report ‘Rethinking Cultural Inclusion and Diversity: A Call to Action for Milton Keynes’. AHA-MK was delighted to be nominated for a MK Black History Month Award for ‘an organisation which actively reaches out to black communities’ and was very proud to win the award in this category at the Gala Awards Dinner October 2021.