As the UK welcomes International Women’s Day today (Thursday 8 March), Go North East celebrates inspiring females within its business who are making an exceptional contribution to the delivery of service to customers.
At its recent Team GNE Awards, the region’s largest bus operator recognised those who are helping to bring the company’s vision, beliefs and attitudes to life. With an inclusive peer-to-peer nomination process, team members were empowered to get involved. Categories on the bill recognised talent throughout the business, with top-end prizes up for grabs for winners – including European mini-cruises with DFDS, luxury hotel and spa breaks and delicious dining experiences.
Individual awards included Apprentice of the Year, Engineer of the Year, Driver of the Year, Charity Star, Excellence in Customer Service, Team GNE Star and the Leadership Award, which was claimed by Shirley Connell, divisional manager – North region.
Based at the flagship Riverside depot, Shirley was commended as an important senior management team member and was recognised for her unwavering commitment and dedicated in helping the company meet its operational and commercial objectives.
She said: “Winning the Leadership Award was an overwhelming surprise and is made extra special by coming at the start of this year, as I mark 25 years’ service at Go North East. I have an outstanding team and want to thank them for their hard work and support.”
Also scooping an award was Poland-native Emilia Fengriffen – taking home the title of Team GNE Star.
Winning in the category which looked for someone who ‘always goes over and above’, ‘is a pleasure to work with’ and is ‘a real team player’, the judges said: “Clearly very well respected by her peers, Emilia received several nominations for this award. Her role in renovating the Central Stores in which she managed to relocate thousands of parts into clearly defined categories while improving the working environment, were cited as her key achievements, alongside her proactive positive attitude and personable approach. A great role model for others to follow – well done Emilia.”
Emilia, a store controller at the Saltmeadows Road site, said: ““I was overwhelmed, excited and shocked to have won – I didn’t expect it!”
Other inspiring female shortlists at the Team GNE Awards included Zoe Gibbons from the customer services team and Lyndsey Fenwick a driver based at Gateshead Riverside.