Alison Ross, chief people and operations director at Auto Trader, is among several people recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours.

Ross, awarded an MBE, has worked at Auto Trader for more than 20 years and has served as the chair of independent trade association Manchester Digital for five years, having been a board member since 2015. 

She was instrumental in developing Manchester Digital’s apprenticeship programme, and the Digital Her programme which supports women throughout their careers in tech. 

“I have been hugely fortunate to build a rewarding career in technology and my purpose is to open that opportunity to as many people from all backgrounds in Manchester as possible,” she said.

“Digital is an incredible opportunity for our city, we need to work together to unlock its promise as an engine of social mobility and prosperity.”

Ross has inspired strategic initiatives that have made Auto Trader an Inclusive Top 50 Company in the UK, the first ever company in the world to achieve the ‘Autism Friendly’ accreditation by the National Autistic Society and a Disability Leader employer under the government’s Disability Confident Scheme. 

Also among the 1,171 people to receive an award is Dr Yuliana Topazly, founder of Buddy With. Dr Topazly is awarded an MBE For services to Business and to Female Entrepreneurship, having helped more than 10,000 women into sustainable employment.

Paul Newman, founder and CTO of autonomous driving software firm Oxa, has been awarded a CBE for outstanding contributions and services to the field of Engineering and Technology.

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George Imafidon, aged 27, receives an MBE for a grassroots social enterprise he co-founded – Motivez – which brings together young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and employers looking to attract diverse talent. He is recognised for services to Engineering, to Technology and to Young People.

Michael Cherry, most recently chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, is recognised with a CBE for services to Business and to International Trade.

Stephen Welton, founder and chair at investor BGF, is also awarded a CBE for services to Small Businesses and to Entrepreneurship.

Another CBE goes to Zahra Bahrololoumi, CEO at Salesforce UKI, for services to the Information Technology Sector.

Dr Timothy Bestwick, chair at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, gets an OBE For services to the Commercialisation of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Kevin Byrne, founder at, receives an OBE for services to industry and Consumer Protection.

Juliet de Baubigny, general partner at Bond Capital, also receives an OBE for services to British Entrepreneurship, to Charity and to the Promotion of Diversity within the Technology Sector.

Professor Philip Dickens, founder of Added Scientific, is awarded an MBE for services to the Additive Manufacturing Sector.

Erika Brodnock, co-founder and CEO of Kinhub, is recognised with an MBE for services to Diversity in the Technology Sector.

Elizabeth Baitson, founder of High Net Connect, is given a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Business and to Entrepreneurs.

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