Issue 1 2024

Issue 1 2024 Changing The Way People Think About Insurance In early 2020, Companjon was born from scratch during the pandemic. During this challenging time, CEO, Matthias Naumann had the opportunity to build up a company remotely. It was quite an endeavour, to say the least, and Matthias remains grateful for the support of a main investor and leading Swiss insurer who helped the company through this tough time.

Welcome to the January 2024 issue of CEO Monthly. As always, CEO Monthly is dedicated to providing the latest news and features across the business world to our readership. By sharing knowledge, insights, expertise, and success stories from around the globe, we aim to inspire individuals and promote positivity in a world that is in a constant state of evolution. Happy 2024 from all at CEO Monthly! As a CEO, the new year is a time to prepare for change, to be agile, to be creative, to be open, to focus, and to embrace new opportunities – but most of all, to prioritise your people. It is a time to get inspired in terms of how you and your business can be doing better – thus, we share with you our award-winning CEOs. On our front cover is Matthias Naumann, who launched Companjon, an up and coming insurtech company, during the pandemic in 2020. He didn’t let this challenging time stop him from building his company from the ground up, and it is now thriving in its space. We speak to Matthias to learn what it takes to lead a start-up company and be successful. We are also pleased to feature more CEOs specialising in a variety of sectors, including talent recruitment, marketing, yacht and marine solutions, investment management, medtech, web design, sports hospitality, and many more. Each have their own inspirational story to tell and are welcoming 2024 with an eagerness for heightened success. I hope you enjoy this issue and that your new year has got off to a great start. In the meantime, I look forward to welcoming you back again soon for our February issue. Rebecca Scotland, Editor Website: AI Global Media, Ltd. (AI) takes reasonable measures to ensure the quality of the information on this web site. However, AI will not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness or completeness of any information that is available through this web site. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them. The information available through the website and our partner publications is for your general information and use and is not intended to address any particular finance or investment requirements. In particular, the information does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by us or any of our partner publications and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making or refraining from making any investment or financial decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision. Any arrangement made between you and any third party named in the site is at your sole risk and responsibility.

4. News 6. Changing The Way People Think About Insurance 8. Branching into the Future of Energy 9. Finding the People that Change Businesses 10. Building a New Kind of Excellence in Media Communication 11. Grow Your Brand With the Help of Health and Fitness Influencers 12. DataFlowIQ: Connect Systems, Centralise Data, and Gain Visibility 14. Maintaining the Utility Services Essential to Modern Life 16. Bringing Yachting Concepts to Life 18. Made of the Right Parts 19. Transforming Businesses with Salesforce 20. Qualifications, Support, and Accountancy Advancement 21. Fergal Ward: Leading a Bioelectronics Startup to Success 22. Impactfully Scaling Businesses Across New Brunswick 23. Helping Entrepreneurs to Achieve Business Success in Canada 24. No Cure No Pay Sales Resultancy 25. Lighting Up the Lighting Market 26. Investment Management Bolstered by the Lucky Number Seven 28. Steve Preece: Solving the Challenges of Tomorrow as Egis reaches 30-year milestone in Ireland 29. A Band United for a Just Cause 30. Mark Hammond: A Sports CEO Inspiring Teams to Thrive Contents

NEWS Oakland-Based Publishing Company Berrett-Koehler Announces Praveen Madan as the New CEO and Publisher The decision comes as current CEO and publisher David Marshall retires from BK after 17 years of dedicated service.

Strople brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having previously served as President of Allstream and Managing Director of Zayo Canada. As a member of the telMAX Board of Directors since July 2022, Strople has played a role in contributing to the expansive growth of the company. He has over two decades of leadership, coupled with extensive experience in technology, IT, operations, customer service and sales, which positions him as an ideal leader to steer telMAX into its next phase of significant growth. “As telMAX continues its substantial growth and expansion, it is a privilege to lead the company into 2024 and beyond, bringing limitless possibilities and lightning connections to the communities that we serve today and in the future. I am confident that telMAX’s dedication to innovation, community engagement and unparalleled customer service sets us apart as a provider unlike any other in Canada,” said Strople. Having commenced his career in research and development, Strople’s professional experience includes strategic and operational M&A expertise, successfully leading complex corporate integrations/ separations and business transformations. His recent role as leader of Allstream showcased his commitment to accelerating business innovation through cloud communications technologies, simplifying customers’ business communications needs. Stuart Roberts, who has guided the company since May 2022, will transition into the role of President and Chief Operating Officer. “I am pleased to hand the reigns of telMAX over to Michael. His skills and talents make a very welcomed – and valuable – addition to the leadership team,” commented Roberts. “I am looking forward to continuing my efforts to grow telMAX in my new role and am looking forward to working with and supporting Michael as our new CEO.” Acknowledging Roberts’s leadership, John Troy, Chair telMAX Board of Directors states: “I want to extend the Board’s gratitude for the tremendous impact Stuart has had on telMAX over the past year and a half and I am confident that Michael’s leadership will build upon these successes, propelling telMAX into the next phase of our expansion.” As telMAX continues its expansion throughout the GTA and Southern Ontario, Strople’s unwavering dedication to driving growth and enhancing customer experiences aligns seamlessly with the company’s mission to become the most customer-centric, communityfocused telecommunications company in Canada. In 2023, telMAX expanded its pure fibre network from Brooklin and Stouffville to Newmarket and has just broken ground in Aurora. They are in the process of planning and approvals for two additional towns which will see construction begin in 2024. telMAX remains committed to providing faster, more reliable, and affordable high-speed fibre internet access to communities, prioritizing superior and local customer service, all achieved without relying on taxpayer dollars. telMAX Announces Michael Strople as CEO Berrett-Koehler Publishers (BK), a mission-driven publishing company, is pleased to announce the appointment of Praveen Madan today as its new CEO and publisher. The decision comes as current CEO and publisher David Marshall retires from BK after 17 years of dedicated service. Madan states, “I am deeply honored and grateful to have this opportunity to serve the global Berrett-Koehler community, which has been a source of profound learning and unwavering generosity.” Madan envisions a new publishing model for BK that continues to deepen its roots as an author-friendly, mission-based book publisher and expands innovation and collaboration with partners. After a successful career as a strategy and transformation consultant for leading companies, Madan moved to the book industry and has become a leader in developing a new model for next-generation community bookstores. As CEO of Kepler’s Books since 2012, he has led a successful turnaround and reinvention of this legendary cultural institution. Madan’s innovative strategies, such as embracing the nonprofit model, implementing community financing and governance, developing new revenue streams, and raising wages to build a strong team, are being replicated by many bookstores around the US. He says his learnings from the BK community have been critical to his success in the book industry. BK founder and senior editor Steve Piersanti states, “Berrett-Koehler is wonderfully fortunate to welcome Praveen as our new CEO and publisher. Praveen brings the best of both outsider and insider experience through his business consulting career, followed by his dynamic independent bookselling leadership, combined with serving from 2009 to 2020 on the BK board of directors, including two years as board chair. Praveen brings intimate knowledge of BK’s business and culture along with fresh, innovative outsider perspectives.” Berrett-Koehler Publishers has been facing financial difficulties over the past year due to several factors, including the lingering effects of the pandemic and market pressures within BK’s areas of publishing. Madan’s vision and turnaround experience will guide the company through these challenges to emerge stronger than ever. BK author and board chair Joyce Roché said, “I have always believed that the right person shows up at the right time and that is the case with our selection of Praveen as BerrettKoehler’s new CEO and publisher. Praveen has the brainpower, book industry experience, and passion for Berrett-Koehler that are needed at this challenging time in the company’s history.” As BK moves forward with new leadership, we welcome support and involvement from anyone who wants to join us in the BK community’s mission of co-creating a world that works for all. Madan said, “One of the reasons why I am accepting this challenge is the urgent necessity to reimagine the relationship between book publishers and bookstores. I would also love to see more publishers, bookstores, and authors adopt the human-first approach that Berrett-Koehler has pioneered. Our collective future is at stake.” Praveen Madan is a nationally recognized leader in reinventing bookselling and building literary communities. As CEO of Kepler’s Books since 2012, Praveen has been leading a community-sponsored initiative to transform Kepler’s into a model next-generation community bookstore. In 2021, he co-convened the Reimagining Bookstores movement with a mission to strengthen communities, deepen literacy, and pay living wages to people working in bookstores. Reimagining Bookstores’ inaugural conference attracted nearly 600 participants from all walks of the bookstore ecosystem and was reported by Publishers Weekly to be “one of the most invigorating gatherings on independent bookselling in a generation.” Praveen is the former chair of the board of directors at Berrett-Koehler Publishers. He holds an engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Before moving to the book industry, he spent a decade working at Kearney, the global management consulting firm.

CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 1 2024 6 Nov23281 Changing The Way People Think About Insurance ho is Matthias Naumann? Matthias Naumann is the CEO of Companjon, Europe’s up and coming insurtech that specialises in unique embedded insurance solutions. His passion for innovation and enhancing lifestyles through digitisation sparked the beginning of Companjon, an idea that brought a successful business model from Asia to the European market. What does Companjon do? Companjon is a leading B2B2C insurtech start-up specialising in fully digital, modern embedded insurance. Our endto-end AI-driven insurance solutions seek to change the way people think about insurance by creating seamless and positive experiences when things in their lives don’t go as planned. We pride ourselves on building a solution that enables our business partners to be “right there when life happens”, as is our motto. Companjon enables companies to delight their customers and drive more business value from stronger brand loyalty and new ancillary revenue opportunities. We dynamically design, build, and underwrite our innovative solutions using AI-technology on a scalable, cloud-based platform that automates the claims process and provides instant payouts. Our solutions recently earned us recognition In early 2020, Companjon was born from scratch during the pandemic. During this challenging time, CEO, Matthias Naumann had the opportunity to build up a company remotely. It was quite an endeavour, to say the least, and Matthias remains grateful for the support of a main investor and leading Swiss insurer who helped the company through this tough time. Today, Companjon is a team of 65 people from 25 different nations with operations based in Dublin, Ireland, and we are delighted to be celebrating Matthias Naumann as its founder and leader. As he is named our Insurance Services CEO of the Year 2023 – Ireland, we speak to Matthias himself to learn more about his role and the company. W from FinTech Global as one of the world’s most innovative insurtechs for the third consecutive year. What is your role as CEO of Companjon? As a CEO, I am responsible for making this company successful. Together with our team, we want to break boundaries and take Companjon – and as an insurtech, the larger insurance landscape – where no one has gone before, or as we say internally, “We are on a mission to Mars”. My role is to make sure that my team has the freedom and motivation to take on this challenge and push boundaries to outperform. I give the people a direction but also challenge them on the outcome, give them all the levers they need to be successful. “From the beginning, we have valued curiosity, ownership, ambition, and empowerment. These core values still fit our mission and who we are.” What does it take to lead a start-up company? The leader of a start-up business needs to be much closer to the people than in the traditional corporate world. Especially in our environment, you need to motivate people to be innovative and to take calculated risks. During the pandemic, we tried to channel this energy to give the people guidance and provide air cover so they could experiment without falling off the cliffs. How has your leadership changed in the last four years since you started the company? What we do is brand new; so in the first two years, we had to build everything from scratch. I had to do a lot by myself, as was to be expected. I was already deeply involved since I had a vision and idea of how it could work. Obviously, this has changed now with scale and a strong team who has experience, shared vision, and drive. Hence, I can focus on other things. As much as I like being involved hands-on, now I can rely on our people. Sometimes, I catch myself rolling up my sleeves, falling back into old habits. Now with proof of the business model and our fast scaling up, this pressure has decreased; you get calmer, sleep better at night, and can focus on the challenges of the next phase. “The experience [starting a company] made me more hands-on, especially in the beginning. I also learned that everything takes longer than you think, so I have become a bit more patient. And I still believe that you can only reach your goals if you are ambitious and aim for high targets.” What value does Companjon create for its clients? Our business partners operate in e-commerce, travel, fintech, telecom, etc. We enable them to build completely new ancillary offerings for their end customers by embedding our modern insurance solutions into their systems. These frictionless product enhancements meet the needs of their modern end customers in innovative ways, while also creating value for our business partners’ bottom line. With our business partners we take a collaborative, agile, and customer-centric approach, from matching development cycles to trialling and optimising solutions, which provides them with greater value. Supported by our dynamic product engine, business partners can change their products every 2-3 weeks if needed, which is not seen in the financial services industry. We also change with them; we are fast in terms of decision making, as well as adapting a very complex, fully compliant process at-scale using the latest technology. “Entrepreneurial spirit means firstly being a calculated risk taker, not just taking risks for the sake of it. Secondly, you must be opinionated, i.e. have your own ideas and defend them. And thirdly, you have to run with the flag, i.e. take on responsibility and drive things forward.” What role do your staff play in the success of the company? Our staff is crucial to our success. At Companjon, we fundamentally believe in hiring the best, spending a significant

CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 1 2024 7 amount of time in selecting the right individuals to establish and reinforce our credibility. The biggest challenge is and will remain finding the right people. All the other ingredients – such as tech, capital, or product ideas – you can somehow find or buy, but you cannot copy your team. From the beginning, I have been convinced that this is our key differentiator. We spend significant energy on finding those that have an entrepreneurial spirit, who are top in their functional expertise, and fit into the team. Retaining best talent is key for Companjon. Our performance culture is powered a so-called “apprenticeship approach”, where we put a conscious and thorough effort into training our people, to enable them to learn and grow. We believe in providing them with the right opportunities so that they enjoy what they do and then outperform, as this is beneficial for both parties. I am very pleased to work with our motivated and highly engaged team that is pushing the business forward. To conclude, what are your plans for 2024? In 2024, we will continue following our ambition to go where no one has gone before. This means we will again scale up the business, expanding further internationally to follow our business partners as per our strategy. Moreover, there will be novelties introduced on the solutions side during the first six months which the industry has not yet seen. We are also planning a collaboration with one of the larger traditional industry players, to help them provide solutions which they cannot do on their own. Finally, we will further exploit the benefits of incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies into our solutions as we go where no one else has gone before. To learn more about how Companjon is pushing the boundaries of insurance, please visit the company website. Company: Companjon Email: [email protected] Website:

CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 1 2024 8 ometimes, the only way to identify the need for mass change is to have experience in what both works and doesn’t work. Following five years working in the solar industry, wherein he was directly involved with the development of renewable energy projects, Gaetan Cuvillier came to recognise that we needed to change the way we approach the energy sector. He saw that simply relying on renewable energy was not going to make the difference that we need and vowed to find a better solution. As such, The OAK Network was created. Gaetan identified a greater need for efficiency and knew that data was the best way to do this. By installing sensors on electricity meters and cables, The OAK Network is able to measure consumption at one-minute intervals, giving them a complete picture of a business’ energy usage. This valuable data allows them to predict consumption, flag irregularities, and recommend sustainable strategies to improve efficiency. However, Gaetan wasn’t only influenced by his previous professional experience. On the contrary, having grown up on a sailing boat at a young age, he came to realise how important clean energy was and is. Clean energy meant freedom and independence and had to be explored in as much depth as possible to determine its full potential. Fast forward to the current day, Gaetan is leveraging what he has learned over the years to forge a unique approach that comes from a place of empowering the end user. As a result, The OAK Network has managed to characterise itself as a company whose sustainable long-term positive impact is ever strengthening. Though The OAK Network is a conduit for Gaetan’s passion, it, in itself, has already managed to have an undeniable impact on a wide range of clients. Operating alongside businesses that are interested in controlling their energy expenditure, consumption, and environmental impact, the company successfully optimises the energy usage of its clients. The result is exactly as Gaetan had always intended – a company that is renowned for specialising in helping clients make informed decisions about their energy management. From helping them to implement sustainable practises, to advising businesses on how crucial efficient energy management is, The OAK Network is continuously spreading Gaetan’s passion for a cleaner future. Despite understanding that his aims have always been incredibly ambitious, Gaetan prides himself on the knowledge that his Branching into the Future of Energy Centred around the concept of using stateof-the-art sensors to monitor and manage energy consumption, The OAK Network has quickly become the face of change within the industry. Spearheaded by CEO Gaetan Cuvillier, proud owner of the title of B2B Energy Efficiency CEO of the Year 2023 – London, the company has come leaps and bounds in uniting the power of technology, data, and people to build a new form of energy management. Join us as we delve into how Gaetan has transformed conceptions of energy management. work has had a direct impact on his clients. Pursuing a definitive means to reduce energy wastage is a venture that’s bound to be filled with challenges and roadblocks, and yet it seems as though The OAK Network has overcome each one with equal flourish. Under Gaetan’s guidance, the business has consistently broken the boundaries of what most would believe to be possible, ultimately resulting in a rewarding outcome that makes each day a delight. As such, it’s no wonder that Gaetan Cuvillier has earned himself such a fantastic reputation over the years. Through The OAK Network, he has effortlessly expressed his vision for the future, and leveraged his insights and team of experts to bring real change to his network of businesses. His influence is present far and wide throughout the industry, and we’re sure that it’ll only continue to grow as he strives for new heights. Regardless, The OAK Network truly is lucky to have such a capable, award-winning CEO at the helm. S Contact: Gaetan Cuvillier Company: The OAK Network Email: [email protected] Web Address:

CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 1 2024 9 Finding the People that Change Businesses A game-changer in the world of talent recruitment, ECS Resource Group proudly provides expert solutions that enable companies both nationwide and across Europe to successfully navigate the digital landscape we today find ourselves in. Spearheading this operation is Digital Transformation CEO of the Year 2023 - West Midlands awardee Chris Evans, who boasts more than 30 years of direct industry experience, building teams that are consistently focused and determined to deliver excellent quality across a flexible service. Even after more than three decades traversing the industry, Chris remains as dedicated as ever to working closely with clients in order to measurably assist them in improving the overall performance of their businesses, a feat achieved by providing only the very best in IT resources and client service. ECS Resource Group fully understands that it is people who change businesses, and to this end, the team remain wholeheartedly committed to driving digital transformation through expert resource delivery. With extensive experience providing specialist resources and recruitment services across IT, telecoms, and engineering, the company and its team have come to fully understand and embrace the challenges that many companies face in regard to both talent recruitment and retaining the best talent already on the payroll. Through its expert services, the company can remedy these issues with a host of expert solutions, tailored to allow clients to thrive in a modern business landscape. At the very heart of ECS Resource Group’s success is its team of experts who are led from the front, with CEO and Recruitment Business Strategist Chris Evans at the helm. Chris’ unwavering commitment to his clients accurately reflects the ethos of the business as a whole and serves as a testament to ECS Resource Group’s unrelenting drive to push digital transformation and innovate recruitment services constantly. Guiding the company through this process are a series of core values, comprising of consistency, innovation, integrity, knowledge, and transparency, which combine to create the business’ solid foundations that all subsequent success has been built upon. The company’s standout offerings are its “Resource as a Service” and “Technical Recruitment Services” solutions respectively, with both of these being designed and implemented for the purposes of enabling clients to effectively overcome the difficulties of recruiting in a modern setting, with results being delivered that are sure to exceed expectations. After all, having the right talent for the job is essential for staying both competitive and relevant, so affording this task to an award-winning company with more than three decades of experience is a great way to ensure continuous success. Aiding the company in achieving success for its clients is a keen mission and vision, with both of these proudly being upheld every single day. ECS Resource Group’s mission is to work with IT solutions businesses in order to deliver outstanding resources to every client taken under its wing. The team are passionate about being the first choice for exceptional contractors and candidates seeking new endeavours and attracting to their cause the most talented professionals looking for a rewarding career in the field of recruitment. In a similar vein, Chris and the team are proud of the company’s heritage and track record, and thus possess a vision to uphold this standard and continuously exceed expectations. In the past year alone, ECS Resource Group has carried out some stellar work, partnering with Ricoh in order to implement a 5G Telecommunications National Programme. The team were tasked with assembling a variety of squads across the programme, starting from the ground and working their way up. Using elements of its proven Technical Recruitment Services programme, employees quickly built-up pools of talent comprised of specialist contractors, with everybody being fully qualified and available to start almost immediately. Phase 1 of the project was completed swiftly and under budget, and phase 2 is now underway, with more than 95% of the previous phase’s consultants having been recalled. One does not just have to take our word for it, as ECS Resource Group’s incredibly impressive 4.3/5 rating based on 24 Google reviews and a further remarkable 4.5/5 rating from 15 votes on Glassdoor speak for themselves, acting as strong endorsements for the company’s unique ability to expertly traverse the IT and recruitment landscapes with equal effectiveness. It is for these reasons that Chris Evans is more than deserving of this award, successfully managing a company that exists at the very forefront of the digital transformation industry, and we wish Chris and the entire team the best of luck for 2024 and beyond. Company: ECS Resource Group Web Address: Nov23252

CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 1 2024 10 The future of B2B communications, according to the Bluestripe Group, is one where quality content is elevated to the top of the tree. Having become increasingly aware of the weaknesses in its particular niche area, that are widely accepted by a number of the big, traditional agencies, it saw a business opportunity to innovate across the board in terms of media relations. It concentrates on achieving outstanding digital media, events, and PR for its clients. Award winner and CEO Andy believes that it is errant to focus on just one revenue stream at an agency, and backs up his words with attention paid to numerous business elements. London based PR agency the Bluestripe Group was established in 2017 by three veterans of the technology, media, and telecommunications industry. The company fosters an innovative, winning attitude as a PR agency that focuses on media relations, encompassing digital fields and advertising. One of the company’s founders, Andy Oakes, has recently been recognised as the B2B Marketing CEO of the Year 2023 – UK, following which we decided to take a closer look at firm. For instance, it runs a flourishing events business, and has prospered as one of the leading trade names within the digital media industry. The Bluestripe Group has certainly come a long way from its modest beginnings, growing from one desk at a recruitment consultants to a thriving business employing 34 people. The company works with clients small and big, including well known names such as Amazon, Snap, News UK, Bloomberg, and Tripadvisor. It has recently made the top 200 list of UK PR agencies, according to PR Week, and has been highlighted as the 17th best B2B agency. In many ways, Andy puts this down to the core competencies of his amazing team. He pinpoints “honesty, excellence and a desire to grow from within”, which encourages the team to seek out their own opportunities, and evolve as a successful business. Andy Oakes began his working career in PR as an ad space salesman for the Chartered Surveyor Weekly publication. This was followed by other sales roles he felt were “deeply unsatisfying”, but things began to take a promising new turn in 2005 when he became the publisher of New Media Age magazine. This also marks a meeting of minds as it was where Andy first met his now business partner Justin. It was very much a right place, right time situation, as Andy became deeply invested in this sector and its people, and fostered many ideas he was eager to put into practice. This meant that when the Bluestripe Group finally transpired, its management team were fully onboard with the company vision as it was something they had been planning and discussing for a long time. Andy favours a relaxed, approachable style as a business leader, and strongly believes in the importance of treating staff members as individuals. He was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50, which is something he now embraces. Recognising the different strengths in a diverse team is certainly celebrated by Andy, but he is aware that there is still a definite need to do more for neurodiverse staff members. The Bluestripe Group has carved out a place in the industry where it can operate as a force for good, and change. For example, it is involved in the Digital Women project, which aims to provide a voice for women in the sector. The company is also proud to participate in MediaPride, which is scheme enabling a platform for the LGBTQIA+ community through tailored editorial and events. As CEO of Bluestripe, Andy looks back with fond memories of certain persons who have helped him along his path. Nigel Roby, who he worked with at a company called Centaur, stands out as someone who encouraged Andy to develop his leadership style, and Rory Brown, who Andy calls out as the person who taught him the virtue of “thinking big, thinking creatively, and never being afraid of creating new models”. Both of these persons, therefore, have been integral to the progression of Bluestripe as a company. The firm is delighted to stand out in its field, knowing that nobody else does the things it does. The mix it has introduced of PR agency, events company, and media owner is truly innovative, and works for the company superbly well. Congratulations to the burgeoning business, and well done to Andy Oakes for his outstanding work as CEO. Company: The Bluestripe Group Web Address: Contact Name: Andy Oakes Building a New Kind of Excellence in Media Communication

CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 1 2024 11 Grow Your Brand With the Help of Health and Fitness Influencers When Jonathan Lundy first embarked on his weight loss campaign, hoping to lose 15 stone, he found it very difficult to find free information online to guide him regarding accessing personal fitness coaches, gym access, or indeed anything else that might help him in his resolution to improve his health. Endeavouring to cut some 15 stones from his body within a year, Jonathan was committed to finding the best quality assistance out there. It is from this reference point that his company Gymfluencers was born. He was resolute in his desire to help others who might be starting down the same path he himself had recently walked. And so it was that Gymfluencers came to exist; a free resource that is now in use by a million people all over the globe. The company reached out to over 1200 brands who had all been experiencing issues with influencer marketing in one form or another. This was the push, the gap in the market so to speak, that Gymfluencers swooped upon. It resolved to bridge the void in existence between brands and talent, thus helping both to capitalise on their marketing strategies. Jonathan oversees all aspects, and is integrally involved in both sides of the equation (both brands and influencers). His specific focus encompasses future proofing the business, and building up sales. The company already has 4000 influencers on its books, which extends to some well known faces such as Team GB members, renowned football stars, personal trainers, and enthusiasts. It helps brands by providing easy access to a network of influencers who are committed to championing everything related to health and fitness. Likewise, for influencers it helps grow profiles, and puts them in a position to get paid by the brands they cherish. Jonathan’s route to career success began when he was a teenager, selling things on eBay. Later on, as an adult, he became involved in the marketing campaigns for large online casino sites. This all changed when he made the decision to embark on something truly positive within the health and fitness realm by launching Gymfluencers. Today, the company is trusted by many of the world’s biggest brands including MYO Master, The Body Shop, Hello Fresh, ZENB, and spacegoods to name but a handful. As company CEO, Jonathan’s leadership style is clear, economical, and fast He feels it is readily apparent if someone can do the job within the space of a week or two, and is happy to progress those who can. From the very beginning, Gymfluencers has had a strong belief in the importance of solving any issues raised by brands. The way it is set up enables it to operate in a way no other company can, providing brands with links to influencers within a week, whether they want to work with one or a thousand. The company offers brands the ability to own any content posted by an influencer from day one, allowing them the opportunity to reuse and repurpose content however they wish, with no further fees ever assigned. Jonathan is very proud of his company, and feels that it proves itself continuously and consistently throughout every campaign. Looking to the future, there are plans afoot to launch similar platforms bridging brands and influencers for market sectors such as dogs, travel, and families. We are supremely impressed, and look forward to seeing just how far this innovative idea can further progress! Company: Gymfluencers Web Address: Contact Name: Jonathan Lundy Nov23405 Jonathan Lundy is a CEO who knows a thing or two about the health and fitness industry, where it succeeds and where it falls short. He created Gymfluencers to address the paucity of information regarding access to coaches and gyms online, with his interest in the matter having come from a place of personal weight loss needs. As a person who has steadfastly navigated a path to shed 15 stones in weight, Jonathan was determined to put his new found knowledge into practice by sharing what he’d discovered in order to help others. He has now been named as Health & Fitness Influencer Marketing CEO of the Year 2023 – UK, following which we decide to take a closer look at the company.

DataFlowIQ: Connect Systems, Centralise Data, and Gain Visibility

CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 1 2024 13 Nov23414 Based in Hull, DataFlowIQ is a software company dedicated to driving the digitalisation of manufacturing companies by providing them with an easy-to-use digital infrastructure that integrates seamlessly with their processes. The company is headed by skilled IT professional Craig Douglas, CEO, who has been named API & Data Integration CEO of the Year, East Yorkshire, in the CEO of the Year Awards 2023. Here, we speak to him to find out more about DataFlowIQ. Having served as the backbone of the world’s economies for centuries, the manufacturing industry is no stranger to transformation. It has been forced to adapt and evolve continuously in order to keep up with the endless developments in automation, labour practices, and technologies. With digitalisation on the rise, it seems that data and analytics may be the next agent of change in manufacturing. With over 15 years of experience in its field, DataFlowIQ offers a holistic suite of digital services that manufacturers can utilise to seamlessly incorporate technology into their processes. For example, it offers a next-generation integration platform designed to empower factories with efficiency and innovation. Through this user-friendly, affordable, and effective solution, the company facilitates sustainable manufacturing practices through optimised processes, resource utilisation, and machine energy monitoring. With DataFlowIQ, clients can leverage integration options for almost any scenario, including OData, REST, SOAP, Excel/CSV via Email/SFTP, HTTPS scraping, MQTT, AMQP, OPC, and SQL. This enables them to seamlessly connect their systems, services, and data. From cloud platforms to on-premise, from IoT devices to PLCs emailing CSVs, and from Databases to SFTP, the platform makes it easier for clients to manage and control their manufacturing processes and operations. Moreover, with DataFlowIQ’s integrated database, clients can compile their business data into a single managed data store. This allows them to easily gain insights into their operations and inform their decisions by connecting Business Intelligence platforms or integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning tools with this database. Lastly, DataFlowIQ allows clients to view their operational data in real-time from anywhere in the world. They can do this through web dashboards, on their phones, or on live screens in their factories, call centres, sales floors, and any other KPI driven team environments. The platform also sends alerts by email and SMS. On top of this, it can connect to physical signal towers and control buttons, enabling clients to gain visibility like never before. As CEO of DataFlowIQ, Craig Douglas is tasked with spearheading the company’s mission to empower manufacturers with scalable and robust digital backbones, enabling seamless integration, real-time insights, and a platform for innovation and optimisation. He shares, “Our industry outlook emphasises the strategic use of IIoT, integration solutions, and advanced data analysis to optimise operational workflows and drive sustainable growth.” With extensive experience in IT, software development, and managerial positions, Craig is well-equipped to lead DataFlowIQ. Throughout his career, he has orchestrated numerous multi-millionpound projects within the manufacturing sector, developing solutions and platforms for cloud-based services. Furthermore, he has led multiple technology roadmaps and worked to develop strategies for a number of large manufacturing companies, integrating and streamlining their processes. In this, he has successfully increased their turnovers from £20 million to £800 million. “My career trajectory has been shaped by significant roles at Wren Kitchens and ilke Homes, where I orchestrated transformative technological advancements in manufacturing and construction,” Craig comments. “As CEO, I’d like to believe I embody the qualities of strategic foresight, adaptability, team leadership, and a deep-rooted understanding of the industry and customer needs. These qualities, I believe, are crucial for navigating the complexities of our dynamic industry landscape.” Craig prides himself on his unique style of leadership that combines strategic guidance with empowerment to create a work environment centred around innovation. He also draws inspiration from the experiences that drove his own personal and professional growth, which highlighted to him the importance of open communication, collaboration, and adaptability. He believes that fostering these qualities amongst his employees enables them to effectively navigate challenges and embrace opportunities. Furthermore, at the core of DataFlowIQ are four key values: innovation, reliability, customer-centricity, and adaptability. Firstly, Craig believes that innovation is truly the cornerstone of the company’s ethos, driving his team to constantly push boundaries and deliver groundbreaking solutions. Moreover, reliability underscores its commitment to consistency and quality in its services, whilst customercentricity guides its team to tailor their offerings to meet clients’ unique needs. Lastly, DataFlowIQ’s values have evolved over time to also encompass adaptability, which enables it to effectively and efficiently respond to developments in the industry. As an IT company, this is particularly important since technology is continuously advancing. To stay ahead of competitors, Craig ensures that DataFlowIQ is always engaged in research and development. He also leads the company to proactively adopt emerging technologies and customise its solutions to meet the diverse and evolving needs of manufacturers. In recruitment, Craig seeks individuals who resonate with these values, fostering a diverse yet cohesive team. They must also fit in with the company’s culture of creativity, collaboration, and problemsolving. “Staff members play a pivotal role in propelling our innovation, contributing their expertise and passion to the company’s growth,” Craig explains. “To aspiring individuals, I advise cultivating a strong understanding of both technology and manufacturing, fostering curiosity, and embracing adaptability.” For his outstanding work as CEO of DataFlowIQ, Craig has been awarded the title of API & Data Integration CEO of the Year, East Yorkshire, in the CEO of the Year Awards 2023. On the future, Craig shares, “Looking ahead, our plans for the next 12 months include an expansion into AI-driven analytics for predictive maintenance and quality capture, aiming to further optimise manufacturing processes. Additionally, we aim to enhance our integration capabilities across various manufacturing domains, ensuring a more comprehensive and seamless digital infrastructure.” With ambitious plans, there is no doubt that Craig and his team at DataFlowIQ look towards a bright future, and we wish them the best of luck in the years to come. Contact: Craig Douglas Web Address:

CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 1 2024 14 Maintaining the Utility Services Essential to Modern Life aving worked for several larger contractors in the past, Michael established Sapphire Utility Solutions in 2013, aiming to create a company that would provide a more flexible and tailored service to its clients than his previous employers. His mission was to act as a catalyst for change, introducing new ways of thinking, approaches, and technologies in order to meet the ever-changing needs of the utilities sector. In its earliest years, Sapphire Utility Solutions primarily subcontracted to larger Tier 1 contractors, but Michael’s vision was for the company to operate as a Tier 1 in its own right. In working to achieve this goal, he risked alienating the contractors that the business was currently working for. To avoid this, Michael planned to continue supporting them whilst identifying and bidding for areas and contracts that they were not pursuing. This approach enabled Sapphire Utility Solutions to secure multiple main contracts, whilst maintaining its strong relationships with existing contractors. Having operated as a subcontractor for six years, Sapphire Utility Solutions had worked tirelessly to develop its systems, processes, and capabilities. Eventually, it was awarded its first main contract with United Utilities, a company that provides water and wastewater services to the northwest of England. This served as a solid foundation for it to win further opportunities. Today, Dec23005 For the last decade, Sapphire Utility Solutions Ltd. has been providing award-winning services to several important sectors, including clean water, wastewater, gas, digital networks, and highways. Over the years, it has become the partner of choice for many clients, having earned a strong reputation for its exceptional work. Here, we speak to Founder and CEO Michael Patel to find out more about the company in the wake of his success in winning CEO of the Year, Lancashire, in the CEO of the Year Awards 2023. H the company holds six main contracts with United Utilities. By maintaining direct relationships with its clients, Sapphire Utility Solutions has gained a far deeper understanding of their needs than its competitors, enabling it to better tailor its offerings to support them in achieving their business objectives. For example, utilising a key account management approach, Michael personally led the evolution of the operating model in delivering wastewater activities with United Utilities. Through this, he has helped the company to significantly enhance both its customer experience and regulatory performance. Since establishing Sapphire Utility Solutions, Michael has been working to achieve his overall strategy for business growth, which was to initially serve as a leading supplier focused on wastewater and highways drainage works, then to expand its capabilities into other complementary sectors. In line with this strategy, Michael has been working to expand the services offered by Sapphire Utility Solutions and increase its client portfolio in order to reduce its reliance on United Utilities. As a result, whilst United Utilities accounted for more than 80% of the company’s revenue in 2018, this figure has been significantly reduced to less than 50%. Whilst he is proud to have been at the helm of Sapphire Utility Solutions and its success in the last decade, Michael understands that the business would not be where it is today without its workforce. Over the years, his focus has been on creating a high-performing and diverse team, fostering opportunities for everyone. Today, the company operates with a directly employed workforce that genuinely represents a cross-section of society, led by a leadership team that consists of 40% ethnic minority and female employees. In addition to this, with people at the heart of Sapphire Utility Solutions, Michael has worked to ensure that all staff members feel heard and have a voice. For this reason, he set up an employee forum that consists of elected representatives from across the business who encapsulate the team’s diversity. Michael meets with them every month to hear their ideas and understand any issues or challenges that directly impact the company’s senior leadership decisionmaking processes. “We treat people as individuals,” Michael adds. “Everyone has their own life story, their own personal situation. We respect that and collaborate with our employees to deliver a working environment that helps them to fulfil their potential.” To achieve this, Michael invests heavily in training, aiming to provide his team with the opportunities and support they need to truly excel in their roles. He is wholly committed to facilitating their personal and professional growth and development. He explains, “We wanted to take a completely different approach to people management and talent development. We want people to work for us not because they’re the finished product but so we can help them develop. We’re focused on empowering our people to be the best they can be.” Moreover, if Michael’s passion for employee development is strong, his desire to ensure the personal wellbeing of each worker is indestructible. Many members of the Sapphire Utility Solutions team have received accredited mental health training, and every employee is provided with free 24/7 access to counselling services to help them deal with any issues they are facing. On this, Michael shares, “Mental health is so important, and we want to ensure our whole team can be open about how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking. What our people think lies at the centre of our business, shaping the way we progress.” To dig deeper into the extent of Michael’s excellence as a leader, we also speak to his daughter, Shanaz Patel, who currently works as Payroll Manager at Sapphire Utility Solutions. She believes that her father is truly committed to looking after his team and emphasises his commitment to providing opportunities to those who may otherwise struggle to find employment. “He is a keen advocate of Apprentice schemes and supports offenders, exmilitary, and the long-term unemployed, realising that they all have potential if given the right tools and help,” Shanaz explains. “Mental health is a huge subject for my father,

CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 1 2024 15 who initiated many schemes within Sapphire that help all employees. They have access to personal counselling at any time and are encouraged to look after their mental health as a priority.” Shanaz also mentions that her father is hugely popular amongst both his employees and the community. With genuine compassion that goes beyond supporting people in the workplace, Michael builds affordable housing in his local area through another company that specialises in construction projects. She adds, “Our family would be so delighted to see him get recognition for everything he has achieved because he has done so much and helped so many people.” In light of his outstanding accomplishments, both in business and beyond, it is truly no surprise that Michael Patel has been awarded the title of CEO of the Year, Lancashire, in the CEO of the Year Awards 2023. In the years to come, there is no doubt that he will continue to lead Sapphire Utility Solutions Ltd. to success, with ambitious plans for growth and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. We wish him and his team the best of luck in all their endeavours. Contact: Michael Patel Web Address: