Laura Whyte Named Business Leader of the Year 2019


After winning the prestigious Business Leader of the Year Award at the 2019 Cornwall Business Awards, we thought we’d give Laura Whyte the weekend off to reflect on her achievement!

So Laura, now you’ve had a chance to let it sink in; how does it feel? “Well, I still can’t believe it! It was a really strong category so I was proud to have made the shortlist but I never for one minute thought I would actually win it!”

Nominations for the awards opened in March and it took us a while to persuade Laura to go for the Business Leader entry alongside the Best Place to Work category which she was particularly keen go for. She explained: “We’ve worked really hard to create an environment for our team to grow and thrive so I was drawn towards entering that one and I was so proud when we got on the shortlist alongside two great Cornish businesses in Bluefruit Software (who went on to win the award) and Frugi.”

In going for the Business Leader award Laura needed to answer questions on her values; the challenges she has faced and how she has overcome them; encouraging positive creative thinking in her workplace; and what she is doing to develop leaders of the future.

Laura said: “Nobody likes talking about themselves but the team were really supportive and we had plenty of good things to talk about including growing our client base by over 50% in 12 months, making it on to HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter, smoothly transitioning our clients to cloud accounting in time for Making Tax Digital, two of our up and coming stars making it into Cornwall’s 30 Under 30, winning an award at the houses of parliament and all of our team passing exams and gaining recognition. I feel it was also about recognising that I am still developing as a leader and have a lot to learn but I have a clear plan of how to keep improving.”

Whilst the whole team at Whyfield celebrated a double shortlisting when the finalists were announced, they still needed to further impress the judges at the Showdown Day on 12 June. Laura said: “I think the Showdown Day was a great idea by the organisers of the Cornwall Business Awards even though I was a bit daunted about the prospect of sitting in front of a panel of judges twice! That said, I found it to be a really positive and enjoyable experience.”

Turning towards the awards night at St Mellion International Resort, how did you feel? “I was just enjoying being in the company of our team, our supporters and hundreds of great people from across the business community in Cornwall, it was a fantastic, well organised event.

And when your name was read out? “In the space of about a minute – shocked, surprised, ecstatic, honoured to meet Helen Glover and, most of all, extremely proud of the awesome team I lead at Whyfield.”


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