Founder and CEO of The Dating Awards and Co-Founder of A League of Her Own
Charly Lester is the Founder and CEO of The Dating Awards and Co-Founder of A League of Her Own. She runs the UK, US and European Dating Awards, and is an internationally-recognised dating industry expert. Charly has represented the industry on Watchdog, BBC Newsnight, Woman's Hour, and as an expert advisor to Lord Sugar in the Final of The Apprentice 2015. In 2017, Charly launched 'A League of Her Own' to encourage more women to start their own businesses.
Charly left Kendrick in 2002. After a Gap Year teaching in Hunan Province, China, she studied Law with Oriental Studies at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge University. Charly represented Cambridge at skiing and cricket, earning 1 Full Blue and 3 Half Blues during her time at the University. Whilst Captain of the University Cricket Team, she successfully appealed for women's cricket to receive Full Blue status. Following her graduation, Charly studied a Masters in Broadcast Journalism at Westminster University in London.
In 2013, whilst working in the banking sector, Charly began writing a dating blog. The blog quickly went viral, and was picked up by the Guardian, who offered Charly the role of Dating Editor for Guardian Soulmates. Charly left her role at the bank, and went freelance. At the start of 2014 she set up the UK Dating Awards, as a response to queries she received through the blog. After two successful annual events in London, with 250 guests from across the dating industry, Charly took the Awards model to Europe and America at the start of 2016.
At the end of 2014, Time Out group head-hunted Charly for the role 'Global Head of Dating' which they created specifically for her. In the role, Charly mixed journalism with technology, designing a dating site for the media group. Charly remained with Time Out for a year, before returning to freelance work. In addition to organising the Dating Awards, she works as a consultant for a number of companies within the dating space. In November of 2016, she launched her very own dating app, 'SPEX' designed for singles who wear glasses. Charly's book 'How to Become a Dating Expert' was published in February 2017. In October 2017 Charly was asked to debate at the Oxford Union on the existence of true love.
Charly is an Ambassador for male rape charity Survivors Manchester, and a Community Governor here at Kendrick. She was Head Judge for the UK Blog Awards in 2016 and 2017. In her spare time, Charly plays international Roller Derby for Romania (she is half-Romanian) and played in the World Cup in 2018. Charly runs regular marathons and triathlons and is currently training for Ironman Copenhagen.