Paul founded Cardinal Red in September 2012, after a long and successful career in marketing, specialising in sport where media is a constant theme. He developed his media experience starting at Whitbread Plc, where he was Marketing Operations Director, working on a range of projects including The Rugby World Cup 1995.
In 1996 he became a Senior Vice President at Octagon Marketing and was involved with events including The Champions League, The 2000 European Football Championship, the Lloyds TSB Six Nations, the Zurich Premiership and Scottish Provident’s Sponsorship of the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 1997.
Paul joined the Rugby Football Union in 2001 as Business Operations Director, where, as a member of the Management Board, his responsibilities encompassed both the generation of revenue for the game in England and for the marketing of the sport.
Television, ticketing, sponsorship and licensing provided the principle areas of revenue growth during his tenure, alongside winning the rights to host the Rugby World Cup in 2015, wherein Paul was appointed as CEO of the delivery body, England Rugby 2015 Ltd.
Cardinal Red projects include consultancy work for Supponor (Digital Replacement Advertising), Cage Warriors, England Hockey, London Sport, Clipper Ventures, Golf Tourism England and Evolve Media (Creating digital stadia), as well as the creation of The Bespoke Access Awards, launched April 2016, in association with RIBA.
Fiona has lived and worked in London for over 25 years. She worked as a sales executive and manager for various software companies, selling multi million pound systems to the financial sector. This often involved entertaining clients and as a result she was consulted by colleagues, friends and family as to the latest ‘cool/trendy’ place to eat or drink.
Fiona became progressively disabled with MS, but this did not impair her sense of style and she believes passionately that disability and style should not be mutually exclusive. In 2014 she played a key role in developing online Access Galleries for businesses, which subsequently won the Social Innovation prize, worth €25k, from The European Investment Bank Institute.
Her latest venture, Blue Badge Style, has provided information on a range of issues from trendy wheelchairs to stylish venues, and their accessibility facilities. Alongside this, the annual Blue Badge Style Awards, now in their fifth year, celebrate exceptional venues that have both style and accessibility.
Fiona wants to encourage people who have disabilities to go out and ‘enjoy life’ without feeling embarrassed, frightened or having to plan a ‘military campaign’. Blue Badge Style was established in 2012 to showcase the latest places to go and things to do but with the added information of what to expect whatever the disability and whatever the ‘style’.
Robin Sheppard is a classically trained hotelier and the standing Chairman of the Institute of Hospitality. Possessing something of an eye for innovation, Robin was General Manager of Bodysfallen Hall, the best hotel in Wales, by the age of 27, before moving on to be the GM of several outstanding hotels, The Lygon Arms, The Royal Berkshire and the Bath Spa amongst others.
In 1999 he joined forces with Haydn Fentum to pool their skills and create Bespoke Hotels, which now stands as the UK’s largest Independent Hotel Group.
Robin’s innovative approach to marketing has broadened the customer base of all Bespoke Hotels, seen the group expand to represent over 100 properties, and led to several awards and accolades – most notably ‘The RAC Hotel of the Year Award’ and the Caterer and Hotelkeeper ‘Hotel of the Year Award’, as well as being named amongst Hotel Designs’ Brit List 2017 – shortlisting the 25 most inspirational and influential hoteliers for the year.
Robin’s greatest achievement, however, has been to fight back from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a debilitating illness which interrupted his life in December 2004 and completely paralysed him from the neck down, taking almost 2 years of relentless physiotherapy to regain mobility.
He has subsequently worked to promote accessibility within the tourism and hospitality industries, launching the Bespoke Access Awards in April 2016, alongside RIBA and the Design Council, with the aim of turning hotel bedrooms and public areas into less-functional and hospitalised spaces. The first prize-giving ceremony took place in 2016 at the House of Lords. Following this, Robin was named “Hotel Sector Champion of Hospitality” in 2017 by the Minister for Disabled People and the Government’s Office for Disability Issues.
Neil lost his sight aged 21 and is a law graduate from Newcastle University. He holds an MBA from Cranfield School of Management and a Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Across 25 years in business Neil held senior leadership roles in the telecoms industry in North America and Europe, including Head of Strategy and General Manager of Retail and online at O2, CEO of Cincinnati Bell Wireless and Director of CTIA the Wireless Association. Neil was awarded an OBE in 2002 for services to charity and British Telecommunications.
Neil is a co-founder of the charity Blind in Business, serving as a Trustee from 1992 to 2018, and has acted as an advisor to the UK Government on the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act. He became CEO of the international pan-disability charity Leonard Cheshire in 2016.
Leonard Cheshire’s 6,000 staff support more than 30,000 people with disabilities to live, learn and work independently, both in the UK and across16 countries in Africa and Asia. Leonard Cheshire also provides the secretariat to the Cheshire Global Alliance, a movement of more than 200 not for profit Cheshire organisations in 54 countries.
Neil is Co-Chair of the Disability Charities Consortium, a group of the eight largest disability charities dedicated to promoting the rights and interests of 13 million people with disabilities in the UK.
Learn about the history of our three organisations, and the inspiration behind the Blue Badge Access Awards.
The 2019 Blue Badge Access Awards are now open! Find out more and submit your nominations now.