CEO & Founder
Charly Lester first founded The Dating Awards in 2014 as a response to questions which readers of her popular dating blog ’30 Dates’ sent in, asking for advice on which dating sites, apps and services to use. Now in their 4th year, the UK Dating Awards is the largest dating industry event in the world, and Charly has also taken the Awards to the US and the European mainland. Charly has become one of the world’s leading dating industry experts, and a sought after industry consultant, representing the online dating industry in the press, on TV and radio, and at prestigious tech conferences.
Charly is the former Global Head of Dating for Time Out, has worked as a Dating Editor at The Guardian, and CMO for M14 Industries. Her dating advice and expertise has appeared in most national newspapers and magazines, and she is a regular guest on the BBC. Charly has represented the online dating industry on BBC Newsnight, and was an Expert Advisor to Lord Sugar in the final of the BBC’s The Apprentice in 2015. Charly has appeared on expert panels for Londonist, AdWeek and The Europas. She is the Head Judge of the UK Blog Awards, and writes a fortnightly newsletter for M14 Industries about the dating industry.
I can’t believe we’re in our fourth year already! Time certainly flies when you’re having fun! And what an awesome four years it’s been. This year we ran our second European Dating Industry Conference, and were privileged to have Grant Langston, CEO of eHarmony, Robyn Exton, CEO of HER and Geoff Cook, CEO of MeetMe all fly out to Amsterdam to speak. We are returning to the HAC again for a fourth year, but every year I try to add something new to the event, so don’t worry this year there will be more surprises! Bring on the celebrations!
Caroline is the founding matchmaker of Mutual Attraction, London’s leading award winning dating agency. Described as the ‘matchmaker of matchmakers’ by BBC Radio 4, Caroline is a leading authority in the matchmaking industry and is regularly called upon to give relationship advice in local and national press. You may have spotted her on Good Morning Britain, Channel 5 and in The Times, Telegraph and Glamour to name a few.
A finalist in the 2014 Natwest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Caroline has an eye for a good business as well as a good match and will be putting this to good use as head judge. Supporting and training the matchmakers of tomorrow through her training programme ‘Matchmaker Academy’ she takes an active and hands on approach to changing the face of matchmaking.
I am delighted to be back on the judging panel for the UK Dating Awards. Reading the applications is incredibly awe inspiring – there are so many great individuals and businesses doing incredible things in the dating sphere. I can’t wait to see what this year will bring!
Alix Fox is a multi award-winning journalist, broadcaster and sex educator. She answers listeners’ most intimate enquiries as an X-rated agony aunt on magazine-style podcast The Modern Mann with Olly Mann (of Answer Me This), which won Silver in the Podcast Of The Year 2016 category in the Audio & Radio Industry Awards (ARAIS, formerly the Sony Awards) and has just wrapped up Season 5.
Alix also presents The Guardian's hit weekly sex & relationships real-life storytelling podcast, Close Encounters, which reached no.7 in the worldwide iTunes podcast chart last summer. Listen out for her on BBC Radio 1’s The Surgery and The Guilty Feminist Podcast this July.
Known for her comical, joyous, entertaining yet educational style, ability to put folks at ease even when discussing tricky themes, and warm way of connecting to people, Alix has plenty of live hosting and teaching experience in front of crowds of thousands, most recently with her interactive stand-up sex ed show, Tip-a-dee-doo-dah.
Her consultancy and creative skills are often in demand from brands, and she has paired with names including Ann Summers, Heineken and Coca Cola, and is regularly employed by branding agency Lambie-Nairn. She's currently working on something new with Channel 4 and Somethin’ Else…
She believes in being “Decently indecent.”
I'm more chuff-chuff-chuffed than an enthusiastic steam engine freshly stoked with fire 'n' fuel to join the judging panel for this year's UK Dating Awards! I'm always fascinated to see how technology can be used in innovative ways to bring people together to form genuine, life-affirming, soul-nourishing, joy-infused relationships. I can't wait to contemplate dating, mating 'n relating!
Follow Alix on Twitter @AlixFox
Katy is the founder of the award-winning blog - All Sweetness and Life, and is considered a leading authority on dating and relationships within the industry. Her writing is always open and witty, and looks at the dating world from a ‘front line perspective.’ Katy prides herself on delivering sound and honest advice to her readers on all subjects dating related, and fearlessly exploring all subjects no matter how taboo or controversial.
Besides her blog, Katy writes for Metro.co.uk and The Huffington Post, along with a number of other well-respected dating sites. She also speaks regularly on both LBC and BBC radio - most recently debating the pro’s and con’s of ‘dick pics’ on Woman’s Hour!
Katy was thrilled to win both Best Dating Blogger and Best Dating Blog at the UK Dating Awards 2014 and win Best Dating Blog at the UK Blog Awards 2016.
Having been a judge at the UK and European Dating Awards before, it's a real honour to join the panel again. Since establishing itself firmly as the leading awards within the dating industry, I am excited to see the top quality brands, companies and individuals in line to be recognised. And of course the night itself is always fantastic, a chance to meet the very best of the dating industry and celebrate everyone's fantastic achievements with plenty of Champagne!
Laurent is the Vice President of ioSquare, a French startup company specialized in automated content moderation. IoSquare recently merged with Besedo, an industry leader with 15 years experience in user-generated content (UGC) moderation.
Together the companies are focusing on combining longterm expertise from global user insigths and data with artificial intelligence and deep learning.
Before joining ioSquare, Laurent spent a decade supervising the development of several major community services in Europe. He is passionate about new technologies, particularly AI.
I am really proud to be part of the UK Dating Awards judging panel this year. The dating industry changed a lot these last few years with technology as one of the important drivers for differentiation. I am really look forward to be part of selecting the best-in-class dating site this year!
Michelle is Bustle's Sex and Relationships Editor, where she covers everything from how to talk in emoji on Tinder to what it's like to go on a travel date with a stranger.
She runs Bustle's App-less April challenge every year to encourage Singles to delete their dating apps and re-evaluate their dating behavior for 30-days. Previously, she was the Senior Editor at YourTango, where she also focused on dating and relationships.
I'm so excited to be involved with the dating awards! My job at Bustle would not be possible without the incredible love and relationships advice, commentary, and insight we get from dating coaches, matchmakers, and dating app founders on a daily basis — and I think our readers would be lost without them too!
Follow Michelle on Twitter @michelletoglia
Nimco is a feminist, anti-FGM campaigner and professional over-sharer. She has spoken at events, including Women of the World, The Girl Summit, UN Commission on the Status of Women.
She has won numerous awards including being named one of the Cosmopolitan's Woman of the Year 2010, BBC's 100 Women of 2013, Red Magazine Woman of the Year 2014and 6th on the Woman's Hour Power List 2014. Most recently she was named by The Sunday Times as one of Debrett's 500 most influential people in Britain.
Nimco is a trustee for Women for Refugee Women and the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize and is a founding member of the Women’s Equality Party.
Finding love today is a Challenge and I am excited in meeting and reading about those making it a little easier.
You can follow Nimco on Twitter @Nimkoali
Paul C. Brunson
Mentor, Entrepreneur, and Television Host, Paul Carrick Brunson is recognized as one of the most influential interpersonal skills experts in the world. The former Investment Banker founded PCBA in 2009, an award-winning matchmaking agency that was acquired in 2016.
Appearing as the co-host on Oprah Winfrey Network’s Lovetown, Oprah Winfrey notes, “Paul is much more than a matchmaker!” Paul is also the host and executive producer of the HELP! I Need Love primetime docu-series on ABC. In addition, Paul hosts Our World by Black Enterprise, a weekly syndicated network and cable TV show where he interviews today's top newsmakers and business leaders. He also co-hosts Date Night Live on Lifetime where he is the resident interpersonal skills expert.
In 2016, it was announced that Columbia Pictures secured the rights to Paul’s life story as a pioneering Matchmaker. He received an NAACP Image Award nomination for his book It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have to Be): A Modern-Day Guide to Finding and Keeping Love. Also, in 2017, Paul was named a LinkedIn Top Voice, honoring the platform’s most influential writers.
Paul serves on the Board of Directors for Bahçeşehir University (BAU) based in Istanbul and also on the Board of Advisors for The Matchmaking Institute.
Paul is a graduate from both Old Dominion University and the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He resides in Washington DC with his wife of 15 years, Jill and their sons Kingston and Liam.
The Dating Awards is the Oscars of the Love Industry. Charly has not only founded the world’s largest dating awards event, she has also created the most powerful network of professionals in the history of the dating profession. It’s an honor to participate as a Judge for the second year!
Rob is the Managing Director of Gaydar, the pioneering brand that kicked off the online dating industry for LGBT people in the UK and across the globe. Rob is a keen advocate of LGBT issues and has appeared on the BBC, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, the Advocate and O Globo (Brazil) tackling HIV stigma.
His vision for Gaydar is to “reconnect the LBGT community online and offline”. Rob is the first representative of a major LGBT brand to be a judge at the UK Dating Awards.
This is Gaydar’s first year participating in the Dating Awards and I’m really pleased to be working with Charly and the team to recognise the leaders in the industry. This year we’re sponsoring the Safer Dating Award because we believe that safety continues to be a key factor influencing the LGBT community’s dating behaviour. We’re super excited to bring the Gaydar team to the Awards and wish all finalists the best of luck!
Susan is passionate about helping people have the best relationship they can possibly have. She works as a relationship coach; facilitates relationship courses at The School of Life; is relationship agony aunt for The Sun’s Fabulous magazine, and consults to relationship organisations and charities.
Her most recent book - of 22, published in 33 countries and 24 languages - is How to Choose a Partner. Susan is the Ambassador for Relate Cambridge, serves on the Sexuality Council of the Royal Society of Medicine, and is Patron of the Outsiders Charity advocating the relationship rights of less-abled people. In 2015, Susan won Dating Expert of the Year at the UK Dating Awards.
As a dating expert myself, I know how vital it is to those looking for love that we maintain the highest standards in our profession. As winner of Dating Expert of the Year 2015, I also know first-hand how wonderful it is to have those standards recognised by our profession. I’m thrilled to be on the judging panel for the UK Dating Awards 2017 and to be involved in the process of honouring the success commitment and passion that’s so evident in the UK dating arena.
You can read Susan's blog here