Our Judges

Aidan Fortune
Convenience Store

Appointed editor of ConvenienceStore.co.uk in 2020, Aidan previously worked on the brand between 2008 and 2015 as a reporter and products editor, covering some of the major stories affecting the sector. During his time away from ConvenienceStore.co.uk, Aidan covered the international meat industry and hosted the World Steak Challenge.

Aidan grew up in the retail industry, with his parents running a convenience store in his native Dublin. He is most excited about best practice ideas and knowledge sharing amongst convenience retailers that helps the entire sector grow.

Alice Leader
Wholesale & convenience reporter
The Grocer

Alice is the wholesale & convenience reporter at The Grocer. She is responsible for covering news and features on symbol groups including Spar, Nisa and One Stop, as well the Co-op societies and forecourt operators.

This July will mark her first year of working for the title, as well as for Conveniencestore.co.uk, after starting her journalism career at their sister brand, The Morning Advertiser, where she looked after the pub trade.

Alice started her journalism training in 2018 at Brighton Journalist Works, before completing the part-time NCTJ course in the summer of 2019.

Andy Cresswell

Andy has over 30 years’ experience in the Retail and convenience sector and was most recently the Chief Retail Officer for Bestway, until January 2021, where he led the Bargain Booze, Select Convenience, Central Convenience and Wine Rack businesses along with the Best One symbol group. Andy’s early career was in store management at Safeway, Tesco and Somerfield where he moved into field management. In 2002 he moved to the Midcounties Co-operative (previously Oxford, Swindon and Gloucester Society) as Head of Retail Trading. During his 14 years at the Midcounties Co-operative Andy held multiple senior positions before being appointed Deputy Chief Executive between 2011 and 2016 where he led a number of their businesses.

Prior to joining Bestway, Andy was Managing Director at MRH, at the time the largest independent fuel retailer in the UK, where he was responsible for all strategic and operational aspects of the retail business.

Andy has been very involved in the Convenience industry and continues to be a Director of the ACS a position he has held for many years.

Ayman Nasreldin
Founder & Director
Thirty Eleven Consulting

Ayman is an Executive Coach and Consultant, Founder and Director of “Thirty Eleven Consulting Ltd”. Ayman works with leaders, helping them unlock their potential as well as helping organisations navigate an everchanging landscape.

Ayman is a veteran of the FMCG industry, having left Mars Wrigley Confectionary in 2019, where he served as Sales Director for the Impulse Channel. Ayman’s responsibilities included the Convenience Channel, Wholesale, Foodservice, Co-op, Forecourts, High Street & Travel. A passionate advocate for the channel, he championed the launch of tailored Innovation.

Before joining Mars, Ayman spent 6 years working at PepsiCo UK, as Sales Director for the Out of Home Channel; encompassing Wholesalers, Restaurants, Pubs, Leisure and more. Ayman’s passion for the channel manifested itself with a mindset across the team of Customer Centricity.

Prior to that, Ayman spent 7 years at Nestle Purina, leading various Grocery teams as well as an International Assignment as Global Category Project Lead, working with customer teams all over the Far East and Europe. Ayman’s career started at United Biscuits, joining the Graduate Scheme in 1997, working a variety of Sales roles across all major channels.

Ayman’s passion is helping people, which is evident in his current work as an Executive Coach and Consultant.

Bart DallaMura

Bart spent the first 25 years of his career on the supply side of the grocery trade. Starting as a marketing trainee with Unilever at Lipton Tea, he then worked in various commercial roles in the UK and in Scandinavia. He was Commercial Director at Allied Bakeries for five years before moving on to be UK Chief Executive of Bernard Matthews in Norfolk. After leaving Bernard Matthews he went on to buy his first convenience store in 2010, and by 2017 had three - two in the Midlands and one in Wales.

Bep Dhaliwal
Thrive 365

A passionate, driven, Coach/Facilitator focussed on helping individuals thrive, on their terms in their way. Following a 20 year corporate career across Sales, Marketing and PR, Bep is now working with individuals and teams to unlock their potential in a resilient, meaningful way & facilitating conversations that matter.

A lot of her work is bespoke to the client's/organisation's needs. What Bep delivers against is creating an honest, open space for the dialogue to unfold, to respect each other's unique qualities and use these as a strength to create a team of individuals who feel empowered to thrive.

As well as running Thrive365, Bep is a trustee for the charity Relate, and volunteers as part of the leadership team of The Sister Sister Global network. She is also a passionate spokesperson for a number of Cancer charities.

Chris Noice
Head of Communication & Research

As Head of Communications and Research, Chris is responsible for all ACS external and internal communications, media relations and a growing research portfolio which includes the industry leading Local Shop Report. Chris is an official spokesperson for ACS, appearing frequently on national and regional radio and television including BBC News, Sky News, BBC Breakfast and the Daily Politics show. Chris also hosts the Local Shop Podcast for ACS. Chris joined ACS in October 2009 having graduated from the University of York with a degree in English and Linguistics.

Dee Patel
Dee's Group

I have been passionate about retailing since I was 12 years old. I Started in helping my parents in their pharmacies to having a chain of convenience stores, Costa Coffee stores, pharmacies, care homes and Dessert restaurants over my career. You could say my retail passion has never left me since a young age.

The brands we have been involved in through convenience has been Budgens, Nisa and Premier. As the brands have evolved over the years it is still great seeing them all on our streets in bigger and better formats. I have sat on many retail forums Budgens, Costa Coffee and Healthcare. Everything still comes down to great customer experience which is what drove all by businesses.

I now own a restaurant chain Kaspas and a chain of Learning Disability homes . My retail experience has helped in my current businesses as the core values are still the same. My charity work has taken me around the world and I am an ambassador for Papworth Hospital to whom I dedicate my charity work too. No day is the same, every day can be a challenge but this all makes us stronger and evolve with the businesses we are involved in.

Giorgio Rigali
Communications Manager
Lumina Intelligence

Giorgio has worked in the UK convenience retail industry for a number of years with previous experience at Palmer & Harvey before joining Lumina Intelligence. Giorgio works closely with convenience store retailers on a number of initiatives, including The Convenience Mix podcast, which he produces.

At Lumina Intelligence, Giorgio is responsible for the communications strategy, as well as external partnerships, with a big focus on increasing the reach of Lumina Intelligence’s insight and brand.

Jill Ross
Chief Executive

Jill joined the McCurrach Group as Chief Executive in 2018, bringing with her a wealth of experience in FMCG. She started her career at Unilever as a graduate management trainee, and over the next 21 years held several key leadership roles including 6 years on the Board of Unilever UK & Ireland. As VP Sales for Unilever UK and Managing Director for Unilever Ireland, she led the sales teams across all retail customers in both geographies. At McCurrach, she leads a business providing sales expertise to a variety of different sectors in the UK and Ireland, supporting both brands and retailers to drive B2B and B2C sales. In addition, Jill is Chair of the Board Trustees at IGD and is a member of IGD’s Policy Issues Council.

Nigel Gray

Nigel has extensive experience in retail built up over 30 years. After graduating with an MSc degree at Durham University Business School, he joined Marks and Spencer PLC where he spent 20 progressive years of working in single and multi-site roles throughout Britain and Ireland, including roles in Marble Arch and within the GM Buying Group in Baker Street.

In September 2009, Nigel became the Retail Director at Hendersons, the family owned SPAR RDC in Northern Ireland where he spent 5 successful years before moving in 2014 to NISA Retail Ltd, the mutual style wholesaler based in Scunthorpe, initially as the Symbol Group Director and then ultimately as the Retail Director, it was during this time that Nigel played an integral part in the sale of the business to the Co-op.

Nigel is passionate about the positive and influential role that retail can play within the community and has held the position of Chair and trustee of MADL (the charitable organisation linked to NISA Retail Ltd) as well as being on the boards of the ACS, Business in the Community NI, Belfast Chamber of Commerce (Vice President) and Belfast City Centre Management.

In December 2019, Nigel started a career break and has spent his time reacquainting himself with his family in Singapore and Australia.

Sarah Britton
Features editor
Convenience Store magazine

Sarah has worked as features editor on Convenience Store magazine for 12 years, interviewing many of the best retailers in the UK and writing articles on a wide range of topics, including business planning, crime prevention and store development. Prior to this she spent three years working at Food Manufacture magazine.