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jess winskill

The CHS Awards' Conference Planner of the Year is...

The Grand, York’s Jess Winskill has won Conference Planner of the Year at the CHS Awards in Leeds.

Winskill is the events and group sales executive at the 5-star hotel, having started her career in housekeeping before moving to reception and progressing to work within the events department.

She is a member of the Junior Board, an initiative of six junior members of the team who drive the venue’s agenda forward on challenges they feel strongly about.

On winning the award, Winskill said: “I am delighted to have been given this accolade and so grateful for the recognition. Having been at The Grand for five years now, this is an exciting landmark in my career and gives me even more drive to work hard and deliver a service to our guests that’s in-keeping with the incredible standard of the hotel.”

The fifth CHS Awards, sponsored by OEC Sheffield recognised the best of the UK hospitality and events industry, celebrating groups and individuals across a variety of different disciplines. A number of new categories were introduced to the Awards this year, including Rising Star, Lifetime Achievement and Unsung Hero, alongside established categories such as Best Independent Venue or Hotel, Best Catering Provider and Best External Event Space.

Reflecting on the event, Emma Cartmell, CEO, CHS Group said: “We had a record number of entries and were inundated with nominations from a wide range of organisations big and small – a testament to the wealth of talent and enthusiasm in the MICE industry.

“The standard of entry was exceptional, and we were delighted by the response to our new categories which saw a particularly high number of nominations.  We owe a massive thank you to our judges who had a particularly tough job selecting winners from such an impressive field.”

Chairman of the judges, Samme Allen, says she was impressed with the high quality of the shortlisted candidates and had her own struggle determining an overall winner for the Chairman’s Award. She said: “This year was really tough. I shortlisted the winning submissions to four.  Last year I picked an academic venue with amazing sustainability practises.  This year, I’ve chosen a hotel as the Chairman’s award winner. Climate change is real. As an industry, we are not responding as well as other sectors when it comes to tackling our impact on the planet. We travel, we fly, we stay in hotels, so we make an impact."


CHS Awards winners 2019

Best Academic Venue: Winner - Technology and Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde

Best Auditorium: Winner - The Mermaid London

Best Bedroom: Winner - Winstanley House

Highly Commended - Hyatt Regency Birmingham

Best Boardroom / Small Meeting Space: Winner - Hilton London Bankside

Best Catering Provider: Winner – Dine

Conference Planner of the Year: Winner – Jess Winskill from The Grand, York

Best Exhibition Facility: Winner - Silverstone Circuits Ltd

Best External Event Space: Winner - IXL Events Ltd – Dallas Burston Polo Club

Highly Commended - Big Chief Tipis

Front of House Individual or Team: Winner - Winstanley House

Highly Commended - Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club (Elite Hotels)

Best Hotel Group: Winner - Jurys Inn & Leonardo Hotels UK & Ireland

Best Independent Hotel/Venue: Winner - Victory Services Club

Highly Commended – Ellingham Hall

Large Conference Space: Winner - De Vere East Midlands Conference Centre

Highly Commended - The Vox

Lifetime Achievement: Winner - Andrew McKenzie – The Vineyard Group

Best Onsite Technology Offering: Winner - Horizon Leeds

Best Outsourced AV Provider: Winner – Hawthorn

Best Representation of a UK Venue: Winner - Trident Hospitality Consultants Ltd

Highly Commended - Signature Sales Support & Representation Ltd

Rising Star: Winner - Joshua Lloyd-Hall from the QEII Centre

Best Sustainable / CSR Venue Practice: Winner - De Vere Orchard Hotel

Highly Commended - Cloth Hall Court by Well Met

Best UK Convention Bureau: Winner - Meet Bristol Convention Bureau (Part of Destination Bristol)

Highly Commended - ConferenceLeeds

Venue Booker of the Year: Winner - Karen Rogers – Conference Care

Unsung Hero: Winner - Paulina Wach – Harrogate Convention Centre

Highly Commended - Alije Grant, General and Kitchen Porter, Unique Venues Birmingham

Best Unusual or Unique Event Space: Winner - Butlins Conference & Events

Chairman’s Award: Winner - De Vere Orchard Hotel, Nottingham.