Zoe Holland awarded MBE in King’s Birthday Honours
We are thrilled and very proud to announce that Zoe Holland, our Chief Commercial Officer, has been awarded MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours for her services to charity.
Recognising Zoe’s 30-year history with charities including her role as Vice-Chair of the SBA – the Solicitors’ Charity, Parent Ambassador for Young Minds as well as the charity she founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, Silk Elephant, the award is testament to a career-long commitment to use ‘law for good’.
With an impressive career in the legal sector and a deep-rooted social conscience, Zoe has used her professional platform to champion underrepresented groups, particularly the brain and spinal injured community. She was the eighth woman in the organisation’s 160-year history to be appointed as Vice-Chair of the SBA – the Solicitor’s Charity and was part of the core trustee team for the charity to use the Joseph Rowntree Minimum Income Standard, ensuring equality for beneficiaries.
Simple acts of loving kindness
In March 2020, Zoe set up registered charity, Silk Elephant, from her home in Sale, Manchester, delivering ‘simple acts of loving kindness’ to vulnerable people and bereaved families all over the world.
Handmade gifts and care packages have been sent to over 110,000 people across the UK as well as to the USA, Spain, Italy and Portugal. Recipients include families of brain and spinal injured and terminally ill children as well as children and adults with severe autism. She also launched an international ‘kindness exchange’ with a charity in the US to support elderly people during the pandemic.
Starting out with four colleagues, Zoe grew the number of volunteers to 750 within two months, with ages ranging from seven-year-olds to 92-year-olds, and 13 kindness ambassadors who built the distribution network across the UK. At the height of the pandemic, the charity also delivered gifts to 900 elderly and foster care homes across the UK and over 1000 frontline care packages to NHS and frontline carers.
Deeply thrilled and honoured
On receiving the award, Zoe said: “I am thrilled and deeply honoured to receive this award for my 30 years supporting charities focussed on vulnerable people. In particular, getting the recognition for my charity, Silk Elephant, for its work during the pandemic and all the brilliant people who’ve helped me make it thrive. It is incredible that such a simple act of kindness created a national sense of community.
“Helping other people, through Silk Elephant and other charities, has been my driving force throughout my career. The law – and especially claimant law – is a moral force for good and has been a significant influence on my charitable work and vice versa.”
Zoe has also supported brain and spinal injury charities such as CBIT, SIA and Headway. In July 2020 she was awarded the UK’s 1434th Point of Light, by then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and was awarded the High Sheriff Award in Greater Manchester for services to the community.
Continue to make a lasting difference
Peter Haden, Chief Executive Officer at Fletchers Group, said: “On behalf of all of us at Fletchers Group, our congratulations go to Zoe for this richly deserved award. She is a high achiever ‘sans pareil,’ and I have no doubt that she will continue to make a lasting difference in both business and in her charity work.”
As well as her role at Fletchers Group, Zoe is a Non-Executive Director at Frenkel Topping Group PLC, and an executive coach. She supports young neurodiverse adults (aged 18 to 23 years) through her pro-bono coaching scheme, ‘Future Bright’, helping them celebrate neurodiversity such as ASD, ADHD and Aspergers.
In 2014 Zoe was named ‘Outstanding Innovator of the Year’ at the Claims Innovation Awards, ‘Legal Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Modern Law Awards, and in 2015 was a finalist in both the ‘Great British Entrepreneur Awards’ and Lloyds Bank ‘National Business Awards’ Entrepreneurship category.