As the Milton Keynes business community gears up for the return of MKBAA, following a pandemic-enforced hiatus, Anita, who picked up the mantle from veteran head judge, Sir John Southby Bt, is excited about taking on the coveted position.
For over 15 years, Anita has championed businesses and helped them achieve their objectives and goals. In her position as Supply Chain and Operations Growth Driver at PwC, Anita supports businesses by implementing strategies underpinned by technology to define and drive large transformations. This experience, coupled with her vast knowledge of the Milton Keynes business landscape and ability to work with both the public and private sector, made her the ideal candidate to succeed Sir John following his retirement in 2020.
“I certainly have big shoes to fill. We – myself and the panel of judges – have just enhanced what Sir John built over his years at the helm of MKBAA.”
The legacy of Sir John has certainly shaped the process of MKBAAs judging over the years, creating a culture which is still implemented by the panel today. However, following a turbulent couple of years which has shaken the roots of many public and private sector businesses across Milton Keynes, the judging panel, which had remained relatively static since the awards were launched in 2014, now embodies the diverse range of businesses and communities across Milton Keynes. The entry criteria has also been modified to suit the environment of each sector.
“The judging panel reflects the many different sectors within Milton Keynes, from the arts to hospitality, property development and education. Each judge has an excellent understanding of the challenges their sector has faced, and this has helped determine the entry criteria for each award.
“We didn’t want to judge every entry on the same benchmarks. It isn’t just based on success, it’s how they survived, how they collaborated with other businesses and organisations to support their communities. The entries are a true reflection of the resilient spirit of Milton Keynes, and I am proud to be part of this business community – although it does make our job as judges that bit harder as there are so many fantastic entries.”
Business-to-business collaboration was one of the key draws which inspired Anita to take on the head judge role. Having spoken at several events held by Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership (MKBLP), one of the key organisers of the awards, Anita was impressed with the impact the group made on businesses, particularly in their motivation and support of SMEs.
“They keep businesses alive by cultivating the feeling of belonging and sharing of information,”
“Entrepreneurship can be very challenging; I’ve been through it. But MKBLP is doing a great job in providing the support businesses need and celebrating successes. This is resonated through the awards; it means so much to businesses to be shortlisted and win – and I wanted to be associated with that.”
The over-arching theme of this year’s awards – MK – Leading the UK’s Green Recovery – Survive, Revive & Thrive – was another pull for Anita.
“ESG is a topic which resonates with companies globally at the minute. For so many, the ESG agenda has been embedded within their culture for years, particularly social inclusion. Irrespective of the challenges businesses have faced, this culture has endured and matured – which is something to celebrate.”
According to Anita, the Five Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion, Place and People – are still at the heart of business strategy, but these have evolved significantly over time with ESG inextricably woven through each as a measure of success, particularly People
Following the announcement of the Stage One shortlist, the MKBAA judging panel is now gearing up for the second round of entries.
“Through the judging process so far, we have been in complete alignment. The entries from businesses are clearly articulated, from how they have addressed challenges to how they are making things better for their society. We certainly have a hard task ahead.”
Commenting on the appointment of Anita Nadkarni, as MKBAA’s new head of the judging panel, Nicholas Mann, Chair of MKBLP and co-organiser of the MKBAAs, said:
“We are delighted that Anita has joined us as chair and we welcome her and all of our fantastic new judges, who will help to recognise and celebrate the successes of the diverse business community in Milton Keynes.”
The 2022 Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards will take place on March 24 at Stadium MK. Book a place at the awards night at www.mkbaa.co.uk/The-Night/Book-a-table