The Licensing Awards 2023: UK Rising Star nominees named

Nine young licensing industry professionals have today (14 July) been confirmed as finalists for the UK Rising Star accolade at The Licensing Awards 2023.

The UK Rising Star is a Licensing International UK award and is presented at The Licensing Awards ceremony (Tuesday 12 September).

The award is designed to recognise excellence among junior industry professionals in the UK under the age of 35.

This year’s finalists are:

  • Thomas Dimech, Senior Retail and Brand Manager, Retail Monster
  • Gemma Fitzgibbon, Licensing Manager, Funko EMEA
  • Rakhee Ghelani, Category Manager – Beauty and Care, Universal Products & Experiences
  • Oliver Gilding, Exclusive Brands Manager, Iceland
  • Donovan De Klerk, Global Licensing Manager, Exquisite Gaming
  • Max Pilcher, FMCG & Hardlines, Consumer Products Coordinator EMEA, Mattel
  • Leigh Simpson, Global Licensing Manager, Arsenal Football Club
  • Melissa Tudor, Creative Director, Fanattik
  • Ellie Yarnell, Head of Buying, Vanilla Underground


“Licensing International are thrilled to once again sponsor the Rising Star award,” commented Steve Manners, global head of marketing and UK md at Licensing International. “Helping young brand licensing professionals expand their experience and skills is a cornerstone of our mission and the quality of this year’s nominations is outstanding and from across all different areas of the industry. No matter who wins, it’s clear that with such talent the future of the industry is in very safe hands!”

You can read the finalists in the Retail categories by clicking here.

Finalists in the Product, Property, Retail Marketing, Live Events, Promotions and Live Events and What Kids Want categories will be revealed over the coming days, so stay tuned to

The Licensing Awards 2023 takes place on Tuesday 12 September at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

Tickets and tables can be reserved quickly and securely online by visiting or by contacting Clare Hollick at Create Events: or +44 (0)1183 340085.

For sponsorship, entry enquiries or general questions regarding The Licensing Awards, please contact Ian Hyder, Jakki Brown or Rob Willis.

Want to read more news like this? Simply sign up to our daily digest by clicking here. You can also follow @LicensingSource on Twitter and @licensing_source on Instagram.

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