Meet the Champions Team

Meet Champions (UK) plc

With decades of collective knowhow and the vigour of youth, our team have a great balance of perspectives that never fail to deliver insight and inspiration. 

Combining the expertise from ten in-house departments, we form a unique family that specialise in a wide range of fields. From digital marketing, to event management, we create a talented team that cover all your branding needs. 

Matthew Hayes

Matthew Hayes

Managing Director

Fun work fact: I am the current reigning champion of krumping at Champions Speakers

Fun non work fact: My chosen karaoke song is Angels, by Robbie Williams

John Hayes

John Hayes

CEO

Role: I’m a huge memorabilia enthusiast, with pieces spanning everything from sport, entertainment and music.

Fun work fact: I once sponsored Johnny Herbert’s F1 car at the British Grand Prix.

David Simms

David Simms

Group Sales Director

Role: To lead the generation of profitable revenue

Dislikes: Procrastinators

Fun work fact: The weirdest ideas can sometimes be the best

Fun non work fact: I don’t really drink wine!!

Roxanna Hayes

Roxanna Hayes

Operations Director

Role: I work directly under the CEO and Managing Director, working on a variety of projects. I also manage Champions' recruitment and HR whilst running the internal operations of Champions (UK) plc.

Fun work fact: Just call me 118!!

Fun non work fact: I laugh like a hyena! Can't bake cakes to save my life….

Sophia Hayes

Sophia Hayes

Sales Director

Role: I manage the sales side of the business from magazine adverts, table sales and awards Sponsorship.

Fun work fact: The best day of my working life was when I found out the Co-op sold Sushi!

Fun non work fact: I ♥ Ronan Keating

Jack Hayes

Jack Hayes

Celebrity Manager

Role: Overseeing the after dinner department and recruiting new celebrity personalities to our portfolio.

Fun work fact: Playing imaginary golf at the BP3

Fun non work fact: I can breakdance.

Louisa Hayes

Louisa Hayes

Project Manager

Role: I’m in charge of all purchasing and selling of sporting, music and film memorabilia and experiences to companies and raising money for charities through the main and silent auctions run at events. From designing the brochure of what is to be on offer at each event, to processing payments and stock auditing. Aside from this I set up and oversee the running of events as a whole. As well as the memorabilia side, I also work part time in the After Dinner Speaking department helping book celebrities for corporate events, schools, conferences, dinners and prize givings.

Fun work fact: Meeting celebrities for memorabilia signings.

Fun non work fact: I play indoor cricket for England Women!

Craig Allen

Craig Allen

Management Accountant

Role: Reconciling departmental accounts, Preparing for Finance Year End, Budgeting.

Dislikes: Pessimism, Crowds.

Fun work fact: Spent a year travelling around the world implementing financial software.

Fun non work fact: Married last year in Santorini.

lianne carson

Lianne Carson

Finance

Role: Finance Assistance

Dislikes: Winter, spiders, cereal

Fun non work fact: The giraffe’s tongue is so long that they can lick the inside of their own ear

Jo Baxter

Jo Baxter

Events Sales Executive

Role: Selling B2B sponsorship packages to sports, celebrity and business based companies across the UK

Dislikes: Rice pudding!

Fun work fact: Love the thrill of making the sale you thought you’d never get!

Fun non work fact: It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open

Lewis Ray

Lewis Ray

After Dinner Sales Executive

Role: Recommending the perfect speaker for client's events.

Dislikes: Hot dogs & Horror films.

Fun work fact: I choreographed a successful world record attempt on an event I worked on.

Fun non work fact: I only lost the 2017 London Marathon by 1 hour and 46 minutes…

lucy cayless

Lucy Cayless

New Business Development Executive

Role: To identify new business opportunities within the market and to maximise/ expand current business for the 10 arms of Champions UK plc

Dislikes: The “unknown”

Fun work fact: When I was growing up (around 6yrs old) I aspired to be an ice cream lady…

Fun non work fact: I have danced for Mardi Gras in Paris

Serena Murphy

Serena Murphy

After Dinner Sales Executive

Role: Organising celebrities – from sports stars to politicians

Dislikes: Rainy Days

Fun work fact: Prior to working at Champions I have worked as a Thomson holiday rep.

Fun non work fact: I spent a number of months living in Crete, now I always have to say “Yamas” when I have a drink.

Lucy Wright

Lucy Wright

Sales Executive

Role: Working as part of the Business Development team introducing new and existing clients to the key areas of Champions UK plc, with a focus on Creative.

Dislikes: Bananas and heights

Fun work fact: I used to design Princess dresses!

Fun non work fact: I speak Spanish

Alicia Hendry

Alicia Hendry

After Dinner Sales Executive

Role: To help clients get the best speaker for their event

Dislikes: Wasps and onions

Fun work fact: I have been a trainee dolphin trainer

Lauren Ecob

Lauren Ecob

Showcase Events Manager

Role: I work in the events department, pre-planning events from start to finish in the office and out of the office with onsite preparations.

Fun work fact: My catchphrase is: “Quick Question?”

Fun non work fact: I was a competitive cheerleader for three years…Give me C..give me a H…oh never mind!

Benny Lawrence

Benny Lawrence

Senior Talent Manager

Role: I work in the Celebrity PR department. As part of my role, I manage the Celebrity PR team and look after a number of celebrity clients. This work involves sourcing new brand relationships with my celebrities as well as relevant media profile work.

Fun work fact: When working at the British Par 3 Championship I got Peter Schmeichel to call my Dad (who is a life long Manchester United fan) at 2am in the morning to wish him a Happy Birthday, now that’s a what I call a good birthday wake up call!

Fun non work fact: I’m half French and can speak the language fluently.

Sarah Hatcher

Sarah Hatcher

Senior Marketing Manager

Role: I manage and oversee the marketing department, including the design, web and copywriting teams. I also manage and oversee regional and national marketing accounts including being responsible for the day to day marketing requirements for leading frozen food retailer Farmfoods.

Fun work fact: In my time so far at Champions I have been to over 70 printing press passes……if not more! #dedicatedtoprint

Fun non work fact: I have recently married my fiancé Arron in September 2014 and hence forth shall be addressed as 'Lady Sarah Jane Hatcher'

Fran Bonfiglio

Fran Bonfiglio

PR Manager

Role: I look after various brands in corporate/consumer PR – identifying key hooks and securing space in relevant magazines for my clients.

Fun work fact: Champions was my first job after graduating from Nottingham Trent Uni in 2013 , where I studied Media & Journalism.

Fun non work fact: I'm part Italian and many people have trouble pronouncing my name, the best story is a man calling me, Fran BonblaughFigla.

Hiten Patel

Hiten Patel

SEO & Digital Communications Manager

Role: Creating, developing and implementing SEO and Digital Communication strategies to a wide range of websites to rank them higher in search engines (to drive organic and paid traffic), with a very talented team.

Dislikes: Insects

Fun work fact: First thing I look at when auditing a website is user-friendliness, even before SEO.

Fun non work fact: Have won a Goals tournament 3 years in a row.

Ewen Lewis

Ewen Lewis

Senior Designer

Role: I'm part of the Creative Team at Champions (UK) plc, working closely with Sarah Pearson, the Marketing Manager. I am responsible for developing creative ideas, seeing them from conception to completion.

Fun work fact: I joined Champions on Valentine’s Day!

Fun non work fact: I started playing drums at the age of 7½! With over 30 years’ experience, I have played for many local Leicester bands and Orchestras.

Amad Tababa

Amad Tababa

Amy Coleman

Amy Coleman

Digital Communications Manager

Role: I’m currently working across the social media platforms that Champions Speakers runs, as well as various other corporate/consumer clients.

Fun work fact: I have most recently changed careers, from working at a pharmacy to digital marketing & social media.

Fun non work fact: I write my very own beauty blog, where I constantly display stunning pictures of my nails!

rebecca edwards

Rebecca Edwards

Digital Marketing Copywriter & SEO Executive

Role: To assist the SEO team in optimizing websites to improve traffic levels, rankings and the overall user experience. I also produce optimized copy for the digital team.

Dislikes: Pigeons.

Fun work fact: I can take shorthand notes at 100wpm.

Fun non work fact: I once interviewed Sandi Toksvig and John McCarthy.

Victoria Marconetto-Tyson

Victoria Marconetto-Tyson

Senior Talent Manager

Role: I manage the Celebrity Management department as a whole and represent a number of our sole managed clients. This includes securing them work within the media, personal appearances, brand work and looking after their PR.

Fun work fact: I started the entire PR department from scratch, with MD, Matt when I joined in 2009.

Fun non work fact: I once gatecrashed Snoop Dogg’s after party and managed to steal a bottle of vintage Dom P which is still in my cupboard at home..!

Daudu Adetokunbo

Daudu Adetokunbo

Senior Web and Application Developer

Role: Web and Software Development/Team Lead

Dislikes: Noise.

Fun work fact: Writing Codes, and Listening to Music.

Fun non work fact: Movies, Party, Field Trip, and Amusement Parks.

Claire Wood

Claire Wood

Events Manager

Role: I work in the events department at Champions Speakers. This entails the pre-planning of an event in the office as well as working on location at the events themselves. I work with all departments within Champions Speakers to organise a complete event.

Fun work fact: I’m new to the events team!

Fun non work fact: I have driven at 180 mph (On private roads!)

Frankie Sparano

Frankie Sparano

Marketing Manager

Role: Assisting the team on all account management tasks, anything from gaining print quotes from suppliers, liaising with clients, reviewing suppliers and maintaining quality control to keeping on top of the invoicing.

Fun non work fact: I’ve got two budgies called Eric and Ernie who I’m trying to teach how to speak!

Kristian Goodeve

Kristian Goodeve

Senior Designer

Role: Design and create all printed and electronic visual media for all of Champions events and clients.

Fun work fact: Did a photoshoot with Evander Holyfield

Fun non work fact: Lived and worked in Arizona, America for 11 years

Lucy Smith

Lucy Smith

Marketing Executive

Role: I assist the team on all account management tasks, which involves, getting print quotes from suppliers, liaising and negotiating with clients, reviewing suppliers and keeping on top of all the invoicing.

Dislikes: Spiders and the dark.

Fun work fact: This is my first job after graduating this summer with a degree in leadership and management.

Fun non work fact: I have had a season ticket at Leicester City since I was 8 years old!

Claire Marlow

Claire Marlow

PR Account Manager

Role: Doing a bit of everything PR and Digital!

Fun work fact: I used to work with Leicester City Football Club!

Fun non work fact: I love all sports

Ross Barker

Ross Barker

SEO Junior

Role: Assisting the team to improve traffic and rankings throughout all the Champions websites.

Dislikes: Non-moving traffic.

Fun non work fact: Took part in an Ultra White Collar Boxing match for Cancer Research!

Tatenda Chuma

Tatenda Chuma

Frontend and App Developer

Role: Frontend and Mobile developer

Ashleigh Kerr

Ashleigh Kerr

Project Manager

Role: I work in the events department. I help to organise and set up the events, dealing with all aspects including guest communication and admin.

Fun work fact: I joined the company the week of my hen do, and my birthday was the week after!

Fun non work fact: I enjoy a bit of dancing in the kitchen on a Friday night.

Amelia Neate

Amelia Neate

Senior Talent Executive

Role: I work in the Celebrity Management department helping to manage a number of celebrities we look after, such as Neil Back MBE, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Gail Emms. This involves booking and overseeing various media, event and brand ambassadorial engagements.

Fun work fact: Work is serious, not fun, unless you sit next to Lloyd Bailey!!

Fun non work fact: My two loves in life are playing lacrosse and visiting America.

Terri Burton

Terri Burton

Senior Creative Designer

Role: Working with the Creative Team on various Graphic Design projects for Champions Speakers and their clients.

Fun work fact: My first week at Champions I got to meet Peter Shilton and Bill Roache. Ekk ?

Fun non work fact: I love canvas painting, crafting, illustrating and keeping fit.

Grace Golden

Grace Golden

Business Development Executive

Role: Generating new business leads with a focus on digital marketing. My role includes informing new and existing clients about the key areas at Champions UK plc.

Dislikes: Rain and coat-hangers

Fun work fact: I enjoy arranging cakes sales or events to help raise money for charity

Fun non work fact: I’m going to be my brother’s best man at his wedding this year!

Beth Smithard

Beth Smithard

Celebrity Executive

Role: I work in the Celebrity and Talent management department at Champions, working with brands and our celebrities to create successful partnerships for media work, endorsement deals, PR campaigns and personal appearances. I also work with brands to outsource celebrity talent and social media influencers using our vast database of contacts and networking!

Dislikes: People who cook their cats

Fun work fact: I’m a Channel 4’s Couple Come Dine with Me Winner and named my courses after celebrities

Fun non work fact: I occasionally burst into song and I am not a talented singer

Scott Skerritt

Scott Skerritt

SEO Apprentice

Role: Assisting the SEO team to improve traffic and rankings across all of the Champions websites.

Dislikes: Cold weather & traffic.

Fun work fact: I only started a few weeks ago, so a bit too early to say…yet!

Fun non work fact: My birthday is on Star Wars day (May the fourth be with you).

Annie Taylor

Annie Taylor

Graphic Designer

Dislikes: Spiders

Victoria Perry

Victoria Perry

Project Executive

Role: Helping the Marketing girls with quotes and invoices, and looking after the MANY marketing spreadsheets!

Fun non work fact: While I was in Spain, we found out George Clooney was filming nearby so went to find him. After an hour of searching, we admitted defeat and gave up! It wasn’t until we saw on-set pictures online that we realised we had been watching him the entire time!!

Emma Richardson

Emma Richardson

Celebrity Social Media Apprentice

Role: Working with and assisting Amy.

Dislikes: Being cold and housework.

Fun work fact: I have just finished working at Birds Bakery, after two years, to come and work here!!

Fun non work fact: I spend a lot of my free time on social media, as I love celebrity gossip

Van Duong

Van Duong

Web Developer

Role: Web Development

Dislikes: Rain.

Fun non work fact: 5 a side football tournament champion.

Conor Davies

Conor Davies

PR Executive

Role: Writing blog posts and press releases for clients

Dislikes: Cold weather and lack of WiFi

Fun work fact: My first step into PR since graduating from De Montfort University with a Journalism degree

Fun non work fact: Toured California in 2015 with my university’s football team, an amazing experience!

Becky Hales

Becky Hales

Talent Executive Copywriter

Role: I produce a variety of content for online websites, brochures, articles and blogs. A lot of proof reading is involved too!

Fun work fact: Champions was my first job after graduating from University.

Fun non work fact: I am often at vintage car events, racing against others up muddy hills in cars from the 1920s.

Jeff Reeve

Jeff Reeve

Web Developer

Role: Designing, building and theming websites and applications. Tea boy.

Fun work fact: There’s another Jeff in the office – there aren’t many Jeff’s about!

Fun non work fact: I once found myself sandwiched between a worse for wear Ray Davies and his drummer on a flight to Benicassim.

Devon Coverdale

Devon Coverdale

Project Executive

Role: Helping the girls in the events department run the many awards hosted throughout the year!

Dislikes: Karaoke and Kitten heels.

Fun non work fact: I’m a cheerleader!

Isabelle Lee

Isabelle Lee

After Dinner Sales Executive

Role: Recommending the perfect speaker for a client’s event.

Dislikes: Bad weather and having to wear high heels.

Fun work fact: Prior to working at Champions I have worked as a Thomson holiday rep.

Fun non work fact: I’ve played every sport you can think of from cricket to volleyball

Zak Averre

Zak Averre

SEO Copywriter

Role: Generating profiles for artists and entertainers.

Dislikes: Mangos, charger cables that are too short, and the stressful situation when your phone asks if you want to use Chrome to open all future links (What if a better search engine comes along!?)

Fun work fact: Won an award for managing the worst client ever.

Fun non work fact: Stole a horse at the age of 10, named him Milo.

Geoff Sanders

Geoff Sanders

Victoria Horobin

Victoria Horobin

Talent Administration Executive

Dislikes: Lateness and sharks.

Fun work fact: Don’t really have one, I’m afraid, only that I’m a bit of a neat-freak when it comes to certain things!

Fun non work fact: I make really good cupcakes!!

Alan Warner

Alan Warner

Music & Entertainment Manager

Fun work fact: Joined a company where we are all under 35 ………………… ish

Fun non work fact: The Champion of Table Tennis in my house, beating all Grand-Kids under 10 and Oldies over 60

Nathalie Dawson

Nathalie Dawson

Project Executive

Role: Helping to project team run the many events throughout the year

Dislikes: Fish

Fun non work fact: I am a qualified wall and ropes climbing instructor for under 17s

Alexandra Simou

Alexandra Simou

Marketing Executive

Role: I assist the team on all account management tasks, which involves, getting print quotes from suppliers, liaising and negotiating with clients, reviewing suppliers and keeping on top of all the invoicing.

Dislikes: Cockroaches and Rude People.

Fun work fact: This is my first job after finishing my MSc Marketing (Creative Advertising).

Fun non work fact: I am a Greek living in UK for only a year and I can cook you Moussaka whenever you want!

Chris Sutton

Chris Sutton

SEO Copywriter

Role: Writing copy for the music and entertainment sector of the Champions brand.

Dislikes: When the maintenance lights come on in my car.

Fun work fact: I once to crossed the river in my kayak to cut twenty minutes from my work commute.

Joris Girdzijauskas

Joris Girdzijauskas

Web Developer

Role: Making websites - the way they're structured, the way they function and the way they look. Also the odd bit of techy problem solving anywhere in the office.

Dislikes: Disorganisation and crowded places, unless there's awesome music I love on

Fun work fact: Someone put my surname twice in my work e-mail...

Fun non work fact: Anytime someone says a math question out loud and I hear it, I have to solve it in my head

Kellie Tillyer

Kellie Tillyer

Copywriter

Role: My role involves creating copy for a wide variety of clients and uses, from blogs to press releases, magazine articles to adverts.

Dislikes: Being late, small furry animals and pasta.

Fun work fact: During my career I have written about everything from asphalt to fashion to robotic lawnmowers!

Fun non work fact: I make a mean party piñata, past efforts include a Minion, pirate and a Minecraft Diamond Sword!

Liam Creek

Liam Creek

Graphic Designer

Role: Designing various things for print and web using a range of programmes as well as hand drawn artwork when required.

Fun work fact: Love a good Southampton sob story with music supplied by Jamie!

Fun non work fact: Went to school with Manu Tuilagi.

Jenni Purser

Jenni Purser

Events Executive

Role: Assisting for Events.

Fun non work fact: Me and my family won an all-expenses paid holiday to Beverly Hills, where we stayed in the Beverly Hills Hotel for a week. Such an amazing experience!

Adam Pendleton

Adam Pendleton

Apprentice Web Developer

Role: Helping the Web Development team create and manage all web content.

Dislikes: Peanuts and bees.

Fun work fact: In my last job I was really good at latte art.

Fun non work fact: A few years ago I went backpacking in Asia and got stuck in Bali for a week with no money.

Luke Vials

Luke Vials

Copywriter

Role: I hosted a weekly sports radio show for a year.

Dislikes: Controversial but snow and sand!

Fun work fact: This is my first job since graduating from the University of Lincoln with a Journalism degree.

Georgia Bowyer

Georgia Bowyer

Music & Entertainment Sales Executive

Role: Booking various Music & Entertainment acts for a range of events.

Dislikes: Snakes & Being Cold

Fun non work fact: In 2015 I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity, very slowly!

Katie Harrell

Katie Harrell

Marketing Executive

Role: I assist the team on all account management tasks, which involves, getting print quotes from suppliers, liaising and negotiating with clients, reviewing suppliers and keeping on top of all the invoicing.

Dislikes: Pork Scratchings.

Fun work fact: I was offered this position on my birthday!

Fun non work fact: I love skiing and even made it down a red run in Bulgaria!

Richard Padmore

Richard Padmore

Copywriter

Role: My colleague, Chris, and I fulfil the written copy requirements of each of our 5 in-house departments. This is a hugely varied and interesting role – one minute I’m writing a blog post on Indian political developments and the next I’m penning an editorial on a top sportsman for Inspirational Magazine.

Fun work fact: I am functionally illiterate but nobody seems to have clocked on to it yet.

Fun non work fact: Acting as a linesman for your son’s football team can be somewhat hazardous!

Rachel Roarke

Rachel Roarke

Music & Entertainment Sales Executive

Role: I book celebrity acts and speakers from the world of sports, music and entertainment for a variety of events whether it be corporate, civic, charitable or private.

Fun work fact: Offers entertainment and humour along with daily duties.

Fun non work fact: I eat all things chocolate except if it’s covering nuts. Is nuts…

Cat Mitchell

Cat Mitchell

Celebrity Sales Manager

Role: I book celebrity speakers for a variety of events including Sports Dinners, Awards Ceremonies, Schools and Charity Events. I’m always on the phone talking to different celebrities and clients every day!

Fun work fact: I feel like Britney Spears when I have my headset on…and I love it!

Fun non work fact: When I was younger I played Cossette in the West End musical Les Miserables and have loved watching and being in Musical Theatre ever since!

Charlotte Davie

Charlotte Davie

After Dinner Administrator

Role: My main duties are to assist Jack, the Celebrity Manager for Champions. Administering and supporting the department along with maintaining records, sending out contracts and invoicing.

Fun work fact: I only started Jan 2015, a little too early to have one. I will come back to you!

Fun non work fact: I got proposed to with a padlock instead of ring!

Sue Stirk

Sue Stirk

Purchase Ledger

Role: Processing purchase invoices & dealing with any queries regarding those invoices

Dislikes: Being late & disorganisation

Fun work fact: Likes working with friendly people

Fun non work fact: Loves going on holiday and walking in country side

Sharon Sparano

Sharon Sparano

Accounts Manager

Role: I oversee the Accounts department at Champions Speakers. This is split between Champions Accounts and Celebrity Client Accounts.

Fun work fact: I enjoy working in a lively always changing Company, and the variety this gives my role.

Fun non work fact: I enjoy going on Holiday to Zante where I would love to buy a house in the future.

Sunita Mistry

Sunita Mistry

Celebrity Bookkeeper

Role: I work on the accounts of some of our celebrities.

Fun work fact: My desk may look cluttered to everyone else but it is order to me.

Fun non work fact: I dressed up as Minnie Mouse for a hen party one night. I cannot remember anything about the night apart from waking up the next day without a tail on my outfit??

Kristi Douglas

Kristi Douglas

Senior Sporting Sales Executive

Dislikes: Brussel Sprouts

Fun work fact: I used to sell cardboard boxes!

Fun non work fact: I enjoy eating ice cubes!

Peter Baker

Peter Baker

Sports Management

Catherine Goss

Catherine Goss

Office Manager

Role: As office manager, my role involves all elements of the logistics of the running of the company. I work alongside the MD, Matt Hayes, dealing with all aspects of the business. My role also includes the running and organisation of the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship for Sky Sports.

Fun work fact: I let my Leicester City obsession spill over into the office and I’m often seen debating football with the boys.

Fun non work fact: I enjoy baking and I often provide goodies for the office!!

Jan Croxall

Jan Croxall

Personal Assistant to the Managing Director