'Motivational' Maltings manager Lola crowned colleague of the year

Lola Howell, manager of The Maltings, with BBC Radio Cambs' Chris Mann. 

Lola Howell, manager of The Maltings, took home the ‘colleague of the year’ crown at the 2021 Ely Hero Awards. She is pictured with BBC Radio Cambs' Chris Mann. - Credit: CHRIS MANN

The "motivational" manager of The Maltings took home the ‘colleague of the year’ crown at the 2021 Ely Hero Awards, having transformed the venue into a "lively, welcoming place".  

Described as “naturally sunny and friendly”, judges said that Lola Howell and her team have increased the range of events at The Maltings. 

They added that, although lockdown has meant having to rearrange many planned activities while being at the forefront of customer service, “nothing is too much trouble for Lola".

Having been nominated for the award by her colleagues, the judges added that - as a leader - Lola “employs a caring approach.  

“She allows opportunities for growth within the team and does so in a way that is empathetic and motivational.” 


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One colleague said: “Lola has never seen my disability as a barrier, she has strived to make me a better employee.” 

The other finalists in this category were: 

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Jake Ellis, of SE Electrical Services 

Jake Ellis (right), of SE Electrical Services: finalist of the Ely Hero Awards' 2021 colleague of the year category.

Jake Ellis (right), of SE Electrical Services: finalist of the Ely Hero Awards' 2021 colleague of the year category. - Credit: SE Electrical Services

The judges said of Jake: “At just 21 years old, Jake has already built a range of skills and experience in the family business.  

“His level of ambition is infectious. He is always looking at the company model and wants to adapt the organisation to meet the modern market as well as carrying out day to day duties with skill and endeavour. 

“He spends hours researching and training to build up appropriate qualifications to allow the business to expand into new areas. He is a very polite and courteous young man. 

“Nothing is too much trouble and feedback from his customers is outstanding.  

“Jake was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s but has not let this be a barrier to his ambitions. He is a real inspiration for someone so young.” 

Naomi McCrombie, operations manager of The Atrium Club 

The judges said of Naomi: “An employee of the company for many years, she is highly organised and visionary in her approach to the management of the staff team as well as the logistical operation of the organisation.  

“The lockdown has caused many challenges for this industry, but Naomi is extremely hard working and highly thought of by the team - together they have created a ‘new normal’.”  

Naomi’s colleagues say that she always sees their better side and provides them a confidence building lift when needed.  

“She does everything with a smile on her face and, even when dealing with some extremely difficult personal circumstances, has rarely had a day off,” the judges added. 

“This provides inspiration to everyone she works with. She also makes great coffee.” 

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