WINNER: Vanessa Cotter

Staff Choice Awards

Inspirational Leader Award

An individual who by their energy, enthusiasm and motivation inspires others to follow their example of leadership. Someone who others have aspired to be like and who always acts as an excellent role model; setting high standards, championing these and providing mentoring for others to do the same.

This individual demonstrates a strong example of personal values and goals, which others readily relate to and adopt.

The judging panel will be looking for all or some of the key points highlighted in the Trust value most closely linked to this award and the specific criteria attached to this award, outlined below.


The Trust value most relevant to this award is Positively

This individual takes pride in their work, are always proactive and seek solutions to barriers. They take responsibility, support people to set and achieve goals and recognise others for their achievements.


  • Shows an ability to develop effective relationships, generate energy and enthusiasm among their colleagues / team and recognises their achievements
  • Do their very best to demonstrably enable their colleagues at all levels with the ultimate aim of improving the quality of care for our service users
  • Encourages the adherence to our values and high standards of care
  • Adopted a leadership role which clearly puts the service user first and creates a culture that supports people to set and achieve goals and be the best they can
  • Enables our Trust to maintain its reputation for playing a leading role within the local health economy

  • Winner: Vanessa Cotter

    Vanessa ensures that every member of our team has been able to do their job to the very best of their ability. This has looked very different for individuals but the approach has always been the same. Vanessa has been able to reassure and to support every member of our very large team in all mann...

    Read more about Vanessa Cotter
  • Finalist: Gary Page

    I have worked with Gary throughout my career so far as a student nurse and now as a developing band 6. Throughout these years I have seen Gary work in a staff nurse role and a Ward Manager role.

    Gary always demonstrates best practice to his team to ensure that the patients are at the heart...

    Read more about Gary Page
  • Finalist: Homayoun Sepehrara

    Homayoun has demonstrated that he is a people’s leader who listens to his staff and service users. Homayoun is compassionate, respectful, understanding, and willing to help.

    He opened Rollesby Ward and staff who worked with him still talk about him as hands on manager. He also opened Thu...

    Read more about Homayoun Sepehrara
  • Scott Cator

    Scott has been my supervisor since I started my training as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP). I was really passionate about this role and I was feeling blessed for finally having a job in which I could help people with mental health problems, but the amount of information I had to tak...

    Read more about Scott Cator
  • Samantha Gillings-Taylor

    Historically there had not been an age appropriate dedicated mental health service for children and young people with learning disabilities (CYPLD). Locally, CAMHS did not have the expertise for this client group, so in crisis situations adult psychiatry would help.

    Initially, Samantha Gil...

    Read more about Samantha Gillings-Taylor
  • Andrew Lillywhite

    Andrew Lillywhite, our Modern Matron is a supportive team player who puts service users and staff at the heart of his role. He enables and challenges staff to provide the best care possible, supporting staff with training, encouraging and empowering ward teams to solve clinical issues on the ward...

    Read more about Andrew Lillywhite
  • Sarah Sherred

    We are nominating our Clinical Team Leader Sarah, who is also an active non-medical prescriber within the Community Memory Assessment Service.

    Sarah leads from the front in delivering compassionate, detailed and empathetic diagnoses of dementia to service users, and brings the considerable...

    Read more about Sarah Sherred
  • Linda Stevens

    Until recently, Linda was the Clinical Team Leader for The Dragonfly Unit where she began her role five years ago before progressing to Operational Manager.

    Linda has been a large influencing factor in driving the team to develop the high quality of care which they provide. She has support...

    Read more about Linda Stevens

Catherine Ashby – Wellbeing West Team Leader | Wellbeing Norfolk & Waveney

Catherine does her best for staff and clients and is very committed to the service ideology. Alongside her management role, she achieves wonderful clinical results and her knowledge is greatly admired. She takes pride in her work, is proactive and seeks solutions to barriers.

Scott Cator – Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner | Northgate Hospital, Gt Yarmouth

Scott has encouraged me every step of the way and has provided me with positive feedback to keep me going. He is one of the best managers that I have worked for and, due to the atmosphere he has created at work, I look forward to going to work every day!

Scott’s personality, his courage and strength, his personal values and goals, inspire me to become a better and stronger person. His positivity can change things all the way around. He is like a battery – when we feel low or disappointed he charges us.

Vanessa Cotter – Clinical Team Leader | Abbeygate Ward, Wedgwood House, Bury St Edmunds

Vanessa is approachable and never too busy to help others. She is an excellent role model and passionate about her team, the service users and their families and carers. Vanessa is confident, competent and a great manager, creating a safe, stable and positive ward culture.

Jem French – Operational Lead | Liaison and Diversion

Jem is very passionate and encourages us to work to our full potential and this is because he believes that the work we do makes a difference to people. He is always approachable and wants the service to be one of excellence and works hard to help us all achieve this.

Samantha Gillings-Taylor – Clinical Lead | Learning Disability CAMHS

Sam’s incredible tenacity, dedication and resilience continues to influence, promote and protect the needs of children and young people, and their families, to help them experience a good quality of life. She is an inspirational leader and manager, dedicated and reliable.

Chris Hicks – Mental Health Practitioner | Youth Pathway, Bury North IDT

Chris is a clear and calm manager who enables staff to reach their potential, enabling them to learn from each other. He always has a smile on his face, and when you have a challenging day you can’t imagine the big difference such a small thing can make.

Marcina King – Community Team Manager | Autism Diagnostic Service, Suffolk

Marcina inspires us to give our best and work cohesively. She makes it a fun, creative, interesting place to work where we feel supported and valued. Marcina is positive and respectful and works collaboratively helping us to keep the Trust values at the heart of everything we do.

Andrew Lillywhite – Modern Matron | Hammerton Court, Julian Hospital, Norwich

Andrew is a supportive team player who puts service users and staff at the heart of his role. He enables and challenges staff to provide the best care possible, supporting them with training, and encouraging and empowering ward teams to solve clinical issues on the ward.

Micki Munro – Locality Manager | Central Norfolk

Micki has a deep held passion to ensure that service users and carers are at the forefront of everything we do. Her ability to put trust in others and motivate her colleagues while always remaining supportive and approachable makes her an excellent leader, mentor and role model.

Gary Page – Ward Manager | The Norvic Secure Services, Norwich

Gary has shown that he can adapt to most situations, always putting the patient first, staying calm and acting as a role model for staff and patients. He will always practice in an honest and truthful way; ensuring patients have the most realistic goals set and the best possible support.

Nicola Rice – Clinical Team Lead | Children, Families and Young People’s Services, Central Norfolk

The key to Nicola’s success is her commitment to supporting her workforce to provide high quality care to young people. She is able to effectively balance the often opposing demands of organisational needs, clinical needs and staff wellbeing to ensure all are attended to.

Lindsay Sadler – Ward Manager | Foxhall House, Ipswich

Lindsay has a strong work ethic and has maintained high staff morale at Foxhall House. Her enthusiasm for her job is astounding and she maintains a positive and enthusiastic approach to everything she does, which is to a very high standard.

Ravi Seenan – Head of Equalities and Engagement

Ravi’s enthusiasm and tireless approach to improvement inspire everyone around him. No matter the scale of the task he is always ready to make improvements. Ravi is also knowledgeable about inclusive leadership and lives this at work.

Homayoun Sepehrara – Clinical Team Lead | Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team, Central Norfolk

Homayoun is compassionate, understanding and willing to help his staff, with a strong record of helping people to achieve their goals. He is someone who listens and has time for everyone. He comes in early, finishes late and is available when you need assistance.

Sarah Sherred – Clinical Team Leader | Community Memory Assessment Service, East Suffolk

Sarah has an enviable clarity of thought and vision; she has the ability to see to the heart of the matter and develop a response that puts the patient at the centre of the care. She is a forward thinking manager with excellent judgement and a great sense of humour.

Linda Stevens – Operational Manager | The Dragonfly Unit, Carlton Court, Lowestoft

Linda is hard working, motivated and makes time for each member of staff. She listens, offers advice and recognises individual contributions. She is passionate about supporting staff to develop to provide a higher standard of care to the young people and their families.

Charlotte Stewart – HR Business Intelligence Manager | Human Resources

Charlotte is empathetic, supportive and fair whilst maintaining the drive and enthusiasm for the Team and providing forthright direction. She is always proactive in her approach to finding new, innovative ways to deliver the services which she does so with humour and kindness.

Cathryn Street – Mental Health Practitioner | Suffolk Rehabilitation and Recovery Service, Ipswich

Cathryn is positive, proactive and enthusiastic. Her relaxed and warm approach makes her the type of leader that people want to follow. She always wants the best for staff and service users and won’t be happy until she has done all she can to help in whatever way she can.

Cathryn is a great proponent of working across teams and inter-disciplinary collaboration. She plays a vital role in supporting her colleagues and the senior management and endeavours to ensure the best for NSFT, its patients, carers and staff.

Alison Thomas – Organisational Development Lead | Human Resources

Alison has made a huge impact on the wellbeing of the staff physio team with her leadership style. She has a very high level of emotional intelligence and is an asset to the Trust. Alison is always humble, but should take pride in her actions.

Congratulations to all our nominees – your dedication and commitment to quality care have been recognised by your colleagues across the Trust.