Sylvia Halkerston was the first recipient of the top cherry gong in 2012 and also a judge for the 2017 cHeRries Awards.
Looking back on her 2012 success, she said: “I had just retired as human resources (HR) director of Macphie of Glenbervie, the UK’s largest independent food ingredient manufacturer, although it was a case of retire and then become incredibly busy doing all sorts of things – all people related.
“The top cherry award is very different from the other categories. You do not find out that you have been nominated, and there is no shortlist.
“The very cream of the HR world are canvassed for their recommendations for a suitable recipient.
“For the first award I understand this was the senior HR community, employment lawyers and others.
“When I was told just ahead of the awards event there had been a clear statement from all who were asked, I was overwhelmed and felt very grateful and humble.
“It is a closely guarded secret until the actual event, but you are given a chance to prepare.
“It was an amazing feeling to receive the award in the presence of so many representatives of the HR profession and even today I come across people who mention it.”
Educated in Aberdeen, Ms Halkerston had a long career in HR. Most of her experience was in the private sector, with exposure to many industries, but she also has experience working in and with the public sector.
Since retiring from her role at Macphie after 20 years, she has carried out consultancy work related to Strategic HR and also has experience as a non-executive director. In addition, she has built strong links with further and higher education.