Claire Austin, managing director of Austin’s Funeral Directors in Hertfordshire, has won the SIFH (Selected Independent Funeral Homes) 2012 NextGen Professional of the Year award.
Claire (pictured with SIFH president Thomas Belford (left) and 2011 winner Michael Schoedinger) is the 10th generation of her family to run Austin’s, and picked up the award in recognition of her achievements as head of the 300-year-old firm.
The judges were particularly impressed by Claire’s strong leadership and vision for the firm’s future which, since she took over as managing director in 2001, has resulted in the group turnover increasing by 98 per cent; the group profit increasing by 485 per cent; and 68 per cent of all business coming from recommendation.
At the award ceremony in Los Cabos, Mexico, one of the judges commented: “I am especially impressed by the tremendous responsibility Claire took on at an early age and the manner with which she identified and executed improvements in virtually every aspect of the firm.”
Speaking on her return fromMexico, Claire, 46, said: “It’s wonderful to be recognised and I was genuinely thrilled to receive this award, but as is the case in all personal awards, they can rarely be achieved without the support of a great many people. I would like to thank all 43 members of our staff for the wonderful service they give to Austin’s and bereaved families within our community.”
The award is the third to be won byAustin’s in the past few months; in November the company won Most Successful Medium Business at the Hertfordshire Business Awards and in October it won the Service Excellence category at the East of England Business Champions Awards.