The Freelancer of the Year Award recognises and celebrates the innovation and excellence of freelancers in the UK
James McCann-Ellerington, PR consultant
James has worked in PR for over a decade delivering results for a wide range of clients - from global organisations to start-ups. After six years working in technology at Brands2Life and a further two years at H+K leading the Adidas global football account, he left to set up as a freelance consultant in 2014.
His expertise covers the following sectors; technology, property corporate, start-ups, sports sponsorship and clean technology for both B2B and B2C audiences.
Stephanie Drax, freelancer writer and editor
Stephanie is a freelance writer and editor specialising in travel, culture and lifestyle. She has written for many of the UK’s glossy magazines and broadsheets, including Vanity Fair, Porter, Condé Nast Traveller, House & Garden, the Sunday Telegraph, the Financial Times and Canada’s Globe & Mail.
She is also the founder of travel, culture and lifestyle video content company VisionAir Films. Its guides have been carried on 15 airlines, including British Airways, American Airlines, Aer Lingus and Singapore Airlines, and her lifestyle videos have featured on The Guardian and Telegraph websites.
Shabana Hussain, actress
Shabana founded her business in London in 2015. In just two and a half years she has booked over 70 jobs ranging from TfL voiceovers to roles in feature films. In particular, she has had roles in BBC’s Doctors and Murdered for Love and carved out her niche as a leading British-Pakistani actress.
Mentoring and coaching fellow actors is a passion of Shabana’s. Seeing her success, many actors now seek out her advice and assistance and she specialises in helping them use social media to get noticed in the industry.
Richard Knight, mime artist
Richard has been performing, directing and teaching mime for over 30 years. He has taught at the Royal College of Music, the Royal School of Art, the National Theatre and both Oxford and Cambridge universities.
He has worked with Andy Serkis on motion capture for Avengers: Age of Ultron, was the personal mime tutor for Carey Mulligan in Suffragette and was a slow-motion expert on Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd. He has also performed all over the world, including at Wembley Arena, the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Mandy Barker, graphic designers
Mandy Barker is the founder of branding and design studio Sail Creative. As a design collective they defy the traditional agency structure, bringing to each project not a range of individuals, but an experienced, collaborative team of experts, providing extra agility and efficiency.
Mandy offers not only creative expertise, passion and strategic vision, but also a strong moral compass. Her studio work with people making real change, helping self-initiated projects challenge the status quo and highlight real-world issues. Because design doesn’t only need to look good – it can do good too.
Abdul Parker, business consultant
Abdul is an interim transformation consultant with over 15 years’ worldwide experience. He has worked across a whole host of industries including financial services, education, healthcare, telecommunications, pay TV, e-commerce, oil and gas and the public sector.
Abdul has delivered major successes for clients, not least cost savings in excess of £50 million and customer and staff satisfaction levels improved by more than 25 per cent. He is also the author of forthcoming book, Operational Excellence – Embedding a Culture of Continuous Improvement.
Frances Ryan, journalist
Frances Ryan is a journalist and broadcaster. She writes a weekly column for The Guardian and features in publications including New Statesman, i paper, and The Pool. She appears on radio and television, from BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and The World Tonight, to BBC Sunday Politics and Sky News.
She has a doctorate in political theory, with a focus on inequality in education, from The University of Nottingham. She will release her debut book on disability in Britain with Verso in 2019.
Iona Bain, finance writer
Iona Bain has established herself as the country’s go-to voice on young people’s finances. She started her award-winning Young Money Blog in 2011, and has since written a book (Spare Change), presented a Radio 4 documentary on financial education and become a regular commentator in national media.
She was recently named a governor of the Pensions Policy Institute and speaks at events throughout the year. She also runs the Young Money Agency, providing outstanding ideas, writing and consultancy to make the financial industry more youth-friendly, fair and trustworthy.