THE JUDGES

Charly Lester

CEO & Founder

One of Britain’s leading Dating Industry experts, Charly Lester set up the UK Dating Awards in April 2014 as a response to the emails she received from readers of her dating blog ’30 Dates’, asking for advice on which dating sites and apps to use.

Renowned for her brutal honesty, and first-hand experience, Charly’s dating advice has appeared in the Guardian, Observer, Independent, Telegraph, Metro and Evening Standard. Charly is a regular guest on Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour, and has appeared on The Apprentice and BBC Newsnight.

Charly was the first ever Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian’s Soulmates blog, and runs regular Guardian Masterclasses. In January 2015 Time Out media group created the role of Global Head of Dating specifically for Charly.

In addition to co-ordinating the Awards, she works in an advisory capacity for a number of major dating companies, and new start-ups.

I’m so excited to see the Awards heading to the European mainland, and also to America this year. It’s a really exciting year for the Dating Awards, and I just hope the rest of the world embraces them in the way the British dating industry has over the past two years.

Follow Charly on Twitter @30Dates, and check out her blog at 30datesblog.com

Caroline Brealey

Head Judge

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 and 2015 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.

Caroline won Matchmaker of the Year at both iDate and the UK Dating Awards in 2014. She was Head Judge of the UK Dating Awards in 2015

Last year the Euro Dating Awards were fantastic with incredible dating businesses and individuals coming together to celebrate the achievements made across dating in Europe. I'm looking forward to seeing this years applicants and how they are striving to improve dating for all.

You can read more about Caroline at www.carolinebrealey.co.uk or www.mutualattraction.co.uk and stop by to say hi @matchmaker_miss

Mike Bandar

Mike is a founding Partner of Turn Partners, a startup studio focused on the acquisition, turnaround and creation of digital businesses. Along with partner James, Mike led the turn around of the niche-dating agency Toyboy Warehouse, achieving over a 2000% revenue growth in 18 months. Turn Partners are also behind Hopper, the Instagram scheduling tool and the influencer marketing agency, Real Tribe. Turn Partners are proud to hold the UKDA ‘Entrepreneur of the year’ award for the last two continuous years.

Outside of Turn Partners, Mike delivers startup training workshops around the world helping individuals and corporates become more entrepreneurial.

The speed of innovation within the dating industry has rapidly increased in the last 3 years. The Dating Awards are a great celebration of this and I'm extremely excited to once again take the time to learn about and consider the great work of dating businesses across Europe over the last 12 months.

Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeBandar

Justin Gerrard

Justin Gerrard runs Marketing and Growth at if(we), the parent company of popular dating apps Tagged and hi5. Prior to if(we) he was the CMO and Co-Founder of Bae (team acq. by if(we)), a mobile app that connected Black singles. Bae was one of the fastest growing Black dating/ social apps and registered as a top 50 lifestyle app in 10 countries including Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania.

Outside of if(we), Justin advises brands and startups and is an avid supporter of inclusion initiatives to improve the pipeline of underrepresented minorities pursuing careers in entrepreneurship. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, loves to travel, and is a Harvard College graduate and MBA candidate at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business.
For more information about Justin visit justingerrard.com or follow him on Twitter and Instagram @justinrgerrard

I am so excited to be involved with the European dating awards! Charly and her team have put together an amazing curriculum of speakers and panels and I'm thrilled to have a hand in choosing this year's finalists.

Charreah K. Jackson

Charreah K. Jackson is a global ambassador of love and the Lifestyle and Relationships Editor for ESSENCE, empowering the brand's audience of 13 million. She is the creator of Bossbride, a love and career advice site for women and upcoming book. Charreah has served as a judge for The Dating Awards in the UK and US, and excited to join the European team. Charreah is a featured expert and has provided content for CNN, Time, Fortune and The Today Show. At BossBrideTribe.com, she leads an international group of more than 1,000 women committed to creating love and success in every area of their lives.

As a certified family life educator, Charreah provides workshops, online courses, corporate seminars and coaching and has spoken at Walt Disney World and other global stages. Her awards include Woman of the Year by The National Association of Professional Women. The Atlanta-native lives and loves in New York City.

There is nothing more powerful than love. The Dating Awards are essential in elevating and celebrating the best in the dating industry and creating an invaluable opportunity to connect the leaders guiding the next generation of singles and couples.

Katy Horwood

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.

I’m thrilled to be involved in the European Dating Awards 2017, having seen it grow into the biggest event in the dating industry calendar, and the entrants of an increasingly high standard year on year - I can’t wait to see what this year holds in store!

Read All Sweetness and Life here, or follow Katy on Twitter @katy_red

Supports the
European Dating Awards

Digital increasingly permeates our lives and we are just at the tip of this change. Younger generations coming through now see the world as “digital first”. Whether this is shopping, socialising, working or organising their personal lives. The most personal of connections, ‘the date’, has for the past decade been taking place in this environment and will only increase as our customers become increasingly digital. The industry growing around this change has seen some major innovation and is in constant flux. The ODA was born to encourage and help develop an industry that takes care of its customers in this most emotional of interactions. It is with this in mind that we are happy to support the Dating Awards again in 2017. They provide an opportunity for us to recognise the hard work that people and organisations put into developing products and services whilst also acknowledging the changing face of the industry and key innovators.

Andrew McClelland
Chief Executive
Online Dating Association