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Here we meet the finalists in the Director of the Year category, sponsored by Churchmanor Estates.

Jon Neal – Suffolk Mind

Jon Neal is CEO of Suffolk Mind, an independent mental health charity with offices in Felixstowe, Bury St Edmunds and Saxmundham.

It offers a wide range of support services for over 18s, providing the Mental Health Kitbag for young people and the adults who support them, and mental health training for businesses.

East Anglian Daily Times: Jon Neal, CEO of Suffolk MindJon Neal, CEO of Suffolk Mind (Image: Suffolk Mind)

The judges said: “Jon’s aim is to make Suffolk the best place in the world for mental wellbeing and he has made great progress in achieving this over the past few years.”

They acknowledged the way in which Jon takes an active leadership role, saying that “under his leadership, Suffolk Mind has implemented various initiatives to promote mental health awareness” and has also increased its fundraising efforts.

East Anglian Daily Times: Lucy Smith, owner and founder of Clarity UmbrellaLucy Smith, owner and founder of Clarity Umbrella (Image: Lucy Smith/Caroline Horne Suffolk Photography)

Lucy Smith – Clarity Umbrella

Lucy Smith is the owner and founder of Clarity Umbrella, a PAYE umbrella company based in Copdock that provides employment solutions to UK tax resident contractors working on behalf of an end client.

The company runs efficient payroll every day, takes care of pension requirements and ensures all deductions are reported directly to HMRC and has received consistently positive feedback.

Lucy set out alone to create Clarity, a journey that the judges described as “a testament to perseverance, innovation and a relentless commitment to excellence.”

They said Lucy had “built a loyal customer base and developed a dynamic workforce” and still showed an “obvious” commitment to Suffolk.

East Anglian Daily Times: Luke Broadley, founder of Longfields Insurance BrokersLuke Broadley, Founder of Longfields Insurance Brokers (Image: Suffolk Sound)

Luke Broadley – Longfields

Shortly before the pandemic, Luke Broadley founded Longfields in Otley, an insurance brokerage specialising in agriculture, business and high net worth individuals.

In addition to working with trading companies, Longfield has also made a name for itself in the areas of transport and logistics as well as agriculture and agribusiness.

The company works exclusively with carefully selected insurers who are known for their comprehensive policies and reliable claims settlement.

The company also uses cutting-edge technology and is committed to providing “unrivaled” customer service.

The judges acknowledged Luke’s “obvious entrepreneurial spirit” and said his “relaxed management style has clearly earned him the respect of his employees”.

They concluded: “Luke is passionate about business in Suffolk and wants to help anyone who can help him succeed.”

Samantha Cage – Ocala Healthcare

Ocala Healthcare in Stowmarket was founded in 2017 by Samantha Cage and Adam Storey. They set up the social care recruitment agency with the aim of providing better care services and giving care workers the appreciation they deserve.

Today, Ocala is a CQC registered care provider, with Ocala Recruitment continuing the recruitment service, and a Community Response Team has been set up to provide emergency care for learning disabled people.

The judges praised Ocala for its “ever-increasing” success, saying that Samantha “not only excels in business, but also strives to have a positive impact on the community and environment of the people Ocala supports.”

They also praised Samantha for “recognizing the support needs of family caregivers and showing them her appreciation throughout the year.”

To learn more about all of this year’s finalists, click here.

For more information about the East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards visit eadtbusinessawards.co.uk.

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