T-Mobile's Emma Cox his the first winner in Store Manager of the Year's face-off round after claiming 68.4% of the public vote.
The Southampton-based manager beat O2's Athif Khokhar from Enfield in the first of the competition's head to heads. Former and existing colleagues praised Emma's personality, can-do attitude and motivational leadership style. Emma and Athif were challenged to come up with a solution to joining a store with low footfall but high targets. Emma argued a manager should work to get the team on board and understand cutomers better.
Emma won thanks to the public vote and the verdict of the judging panel, which was based on the strength and quality of supporting comments. The panel thought Emma was savvy, ambitious and had a shrewd grasp of marketing her store. Among the commenters who praised Emma was Tilsz, who said: 'I have been working with Emma for the past few months now and from the moment she joined the team you could sense the enthusiasm and energy from her. She lifts everyone around her and is a fantastic person to work with, both as a colleague and a leader.'
Jennifer1 said: 'I was impressed by her leadership skills, high octane positivity but, above all, her can-do attitude, which was very refreshing.' K3zza89 said: 'Emma always thinks of others before herself. Her warm, friendly and bubbly personality rubs off on everyone she meets. She is devoted to her staff and her job.'
However, O2's Athif also received some warm comments. Msaleh said: 'He is one of those people that shows faith and believes in your ability, and makes you stand on your own but with the right guidance.'
The next two managers in the head to head round are Phone 4u Cardiff's Gareth Cayford and Vodafone Livingston's Mark Anderson. They have been tasked with the puzzler: 'How do you make new technology engaging for your staff?' To see how they answered, leave comments and vote, head over to our Store Manager of the Year site here.