Martha Ingham, Retail Business Manager at Mitchells & Butlers, has been named Business Development Manager of the Year at the recent Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) Operations Managers Awards.

First introduced to the hospitality industry at 17 as a glass collector, Nottingham-based Ingham oversees 15 Sizzling Pubs across the Midlands region which are owned by Mitchells & Butlers, one of the UK's largest managed pub operators. Martha Ingham was awarded the prestigious industry accolade following a series of on-site visits and intensive three day strategy and leadership Master Class observed by the judges.

Having graduated from the University of Wolverhampton with a First Class Honours degree in Business and Licence Retail Management, her career has seen her take on a variety of roles from behind the bar, rising to General Manager and now managing one of Mitchells & Butlers strongest performing areas across the country.

Boasting over 15 years' experience, Martha said of the announcement: "Winning this award is a great personal achievement, but it simply would not have been possible were it not for the remarkable people around me at Mitchells & Butlers. Throughout my career, there has always been the opportunity to progress and I've worked hard to challenge myself and those around me to have a forward-thinking attitude."

"There is no secret to what we've achieved, other than employing the right people, practices and infusing an immense pride in what we do. I've surrounded myself by great, passionate people, educating and motivating at all levels, coaching, rewarding, and generally making people feel good about their achievements."

As part of Martha's personal development, she attended (along with the other 125 Retail Business Managers), the Mitchells & Butlers dedicated RBM Development Centre which provided her with in-depth, skills & behavioural observation feedback. This insight helped Martha to form her Personal Development Plan and grow her capability to drive business performance at a local and regional level.

When asked what advice she'd give to other aspiring managers, Martha added: "It's important to believe in the people around you. Invest time in building a management team around you that shares your vision and be courageous enough to set high standards."

The pub industry serves its own set of challenges, as Martha explained: "One of the most important aspects of my role is training and educating my people in the areas of risk and safety. Pubs are notoriously busy social environments and running them can be demanding. But by employing a shared framework with clear responsibilities, teams can meet and over-exceed their expectations."

Whilst challenges exist, there are numerous benefits working for one of the industry's largest companies. A company car, typically a BMW, pension plan and private health care come as standard but those in management roles can also benefit from Share Incentive Plan - free Mitchells & Butlers shares in relation to salary to be invested - as well as 20% discount across each brand and childcare benefit support.

The AMLR Operator Managers awards represent businesses that encompass the entire spectrum of licensed hospitality, from managed pub companies to nightclubs and restaurants. Martha Ingham was presented with her award at an ALMR event in London in December which was attended by 1,200 guests from across the hospitality industry.

Commenting on Martha's achievement, Susan Martindale, Group HR Director at Mitchells & Butlers plc said: "With over 44,000 employees working within Mitchells & Butlers our people are critical to our success and we are committed to attracting, developing and retaining the best talent. With over 100 years' experience in the hospitality industry, we offer our current and future employees a huge range of career opportunities. Through our people strategy we are striving to attract, develop and retain the best talent. Everything we do as a business is built on the enthusiasm and professionalism of our people. Martha is a brilliant ambassador for us as a business, but also we hope her colleagues are inspired by her success and are encouraged to continue to progress their career with us."