North East business leaders are celebrating after being named in the New Year Honours List 2023.
Sophie Milliken, founder and CEO of Moja Group and North East Entrepreneur of the Year 2020, has been awarded an MBE for her services to business and education. Ms Miliken was the co-founder and managing director of SRS Recruitment and Employability Experts, which became the leading provider of assessment centre simulations for universities, preparing over 30,000 students for graduate jobs.
She sold the company in 2019, exiting in January 2022 and set up Moja the same month, working with entrepreneurs and senior executives to help business people become known authorities in their industries. Ms Milliken is heavily involved in the wider business community as Chair of Smart Works Newcastle, which supports women into employment through interview clothing and coaching. In addition to this, she runs several business networking events and supports start-ups and scale-ups as an investor and non-executive director.
Read more : woman pioneers among honours recipients
She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be included in such a prestigious list. I was shocked and delighted when I found out I had been awarded an MBE- I consider myself very lucky to work with so many amazing people across the region and beyond. The North East is a hotbed of talent and philanthropy and I hope that this award will help raise the profile of the great opportunities and initiatives in this region.”
Geof Hodgson, chair of Blyth Harbour Commission, has been awarded an OBE for services to the UK Ports Sector and to the economy in North East England. Mr Hodgson spent his early career in sales and marketing roles for multinational companies including Proctor and Gamble, Diageo and Coca Cola but returned to the region in the 1990s to work for Newcastle Breweries, rising through the ranks to become chief executive of the Federation Brewery.
As well as being chair of the Port of Blyth, Mr Hodgson works as an investor, advisor and mentor with local companies and has held a number of non-executive board positions, with involvement with the Nigel Wright Group, Clearly Drinks, Trustack and UMI amongst other business interests. He is also deputy chair of the Tyne & Wear Community Foundation and Durham School.
Other North East appointments include a CBE for Professor Chris Day, Vice Chancellor and President at Newcastle University, for services to Health Research and Treatment, and an MBE for BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art director Sarah Munro for services to art.
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