Thoughts & Insights

Meet 100 Faces of a Vibrant Economy

Take inspiration from these 100 CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs and innovators who are shaping a modern, vibrant Britain

Today we are proud to launch our showcase of 100 Faces who are inspiring leadership, innovation and helping their communities.

We have gathered their stories together to inspire others to make their mark, and because they epitomise our own Vibrant Economy campaign to unlock the potential of our nation through working with government, businesses and communities.

The list of ‘100 Faces of a Vibrant Economy’ is composed of individuals representing cities, communities and corporations across the UK, beautifully photographed by Magnum Photos, the international photography cooperative. In addition, Grant Thornton ran a nationwide competition and found two talented student photographers who were mentored by Magnum Photos through the process of photographing the Faces.


Entries included leading business figures, emerging entrepreneurs and not-for-profit pioneers, all evaluated by an independent judging panel against three qualifying categories:

  • Inspiring leadership – those individuals that have developed a culture that empowers, develops and motivates their people
  • Innovation – individuals who are solving problems in an innovative way, or creating new ways and models of doing things
  • Social purpose – people who are making a positive contribution to the wider local or national community.


Spanning the length and breadth of the country, and from sectors including energy, retail, technology, local councils, not-for-profit organisations, financial services and food production, the final 100 includes:

  • James Timpson OBE, Timpson Group – since taking the reins of the family retail group James has pioneered an ‘upside down’ approach to management, encouraged innovation, empowered employees, and developed a programme that selects, trains and mentors candidates from prison towards a role at the company.
  • Dave Cates, Donate Technologies – this new app notifies contributors to the food demand of their local food bank. By streamlining the donation process, Dave’s technological innovation is helping 15% of the UK’s food banks meet the needs of some of society’s most vulnerable people.
  • Laura Tenison MBE, JoJo Maman Bébé – the clothing retailer offers support, advice and care to pregnant women and new parents in the community around its stores. Laura believes that it should be possible to do well while doing good and that business leaders should inspire and encourage their teams as well as support their local environment.
  • Dr Kate Hersov, Medikidz – as a junior doctor, Dr Hersov created superhero-themed education programmes across more than 100 therapeutic areas to help children understand what is happening in hospitals. To date it has distributed more than 3.5 million comic books across 50 countries and 30 languages.
  • Amy Peake, Loving Humanity – founded the organisation that supplies machines to manufacture sanitary pads for Syrian refugees. Since its creation, its ambition has expanded to setting up and running a fully functioning factory inside Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan. From here they will also be able to help people facing the issue of incontinence, which affects the elderly, disabled and 75% of children who wet the bed as a result of the trauma of war.

Click to browse the full 100 Faces of a Vibrant Economy 2016.


“Today we’re celebrating the achievements of 100 Faces driving a vibrant economy and sharing their stories to inspire others,” said Sacha Romanovitch, CEO of Grant Thornton.  “Some are inspiring leaders, empowering their employees to reach their full potential. Others are using innovation to help their local communities, and some have created businesses with a clear, social purpose helping everyone from refugees to families that rely on food banks.

“We are connecting and convening these inspirational figures to help us unlock the true potential of the UK. Instead of seeking out the challenges, and focusing on the problems, we believe that by sharing inspiring examples from businesses, government and communities, we can look at how to replicate these across the UK for the good of the economy, and the communities in which we live and serve.

“Following the result of the EU referendum it is more important than ever that we all work together to help the UK to build upon its strengths and ensure that our economy continues to grow.”