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The WSTA diversifies its board with four new members

General | 12 July, 2023

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has welcomed four new board members, chosen for their different business expertise and perspectives.

Earlier this year the WSTA – a not for profit trade association – put out an appeal for fresh thinking experts to join the executive board and boost the skillsets around the top table.

The decision was made to remove the requirement that board members must all hold the most senior role in their business, to deepen the pool of potential board members, increase diversity and improve inclusion.

After receiving around 40 applications the candidates were whittled down to four highly skilled women, who were accepted onto the WSTA board at its meeting today.

Starting their two-year terms on the WSTA board – *bios at the bottom of this release – are:

Lorraine Copes, Founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality

Trish Lorimer, Grocery Controller, Freixenet Copestick Limited

Danielle Obbard, of Head e-Commerce for Rémy-Cointreau UK 

Lara Sills, Director of Commercial Operations, Mentzendorff & Co Ltd

Mark Riley, Chair of the WSTA Board, said:

“We are delighted to welcome the four new board members who kick start a new era for the WSTA board.

The WSTA launched its search for four new board members back in March this year. The idea was to tap into the wider pool of talent in our membership, with a view to bringing onto the board a more diverse range individuals with the skills to contribute to the work of the board.

By removing the requirement that WSTA board members must hold the most senior role in their alcoholic drinks business, we have been able to bring on board a range of individuals with different perspectives and skills, who will also help us to promote greater diversity and inclusion. This has been a fantastic first experience in helping to find future leaders in the UK wine and spirit trade.”

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: 

“We were bowled over by the response to our search for new WSTA board members, with a huge number of expressions of interest and some 40 completed applications, providing us with a large pool of talent from which to choose. This has helped us to find enthusiastic, talented individuals to support the WSTA’s ongoing efforts to represent its members and the wider wine and spirit industry, as well as to guide the increasingly varied work of the WSTA.

We are confident they will bring their own perspectives, enthusiasm and skill set to the board; and be a positive source of information, inspiration and advice for members and for the WSTA team.

Importantly – and for those who didn’t make it this time round – this exercise has also shown us at the WSTA how much interest, support and talent there is in our membership. We are convinced that the strength of the applicants means there are plenty of leaders waiting in the wings to contribute to our work in the future. It’s a wonderful position for a trade association to be in!”


Lorraine Copes, Founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality is a multi-award-winning social entrepreneur, hospitality consultant and life coach. Having spent two decades as an executive director for brands including Gordon Ramsay Restaurants and Corbin & King,

Lorraine felt compelled to form Be Inclusive Hospitality CIC in 2020, due to the consistent lack of representation of people of colour in positions of influence, and the supply chain.

This social enterprise now holds the prime position of igniting the much-needed conversations, and delivering initiatives to advance change within hospitality, food, and drink sectors.

Her work has been featured in the Evening Standard, Metro, The Guardian, The Caterer and Big Hospitality.

Lorraine is a judge for Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste Awards, Bold Woman Awards UK, by Veuve Clicquot, Uber Eats Restaurant Awards, Purple Umbrella Awards and the British Guild of Beer Writers Awards.

In 2022 Lorraine was named the GQ Food & Drink Innovator of the year winner, she received a special award in the Code Hospitality 100 Most Influential Women in Hospitality list and won Entrepreneur of the Year at the Precious Awards. In 2023 Lorraine was named NatWest and Pioneers Post WISE100: Top women in social enterprise.

Be Inclusive Hospitality was recognised by NatWest’s SE100 last year, as one of the UK’s most impressive social enterprises.

Trish Lorimer, Grocery Controller, Freixenet Copestick Limited, leads the Grocery sales team and has worked at the company for over four years.

She started her career with PLB Group before moving to Morrisons as a wine buyer. It was during this period that Trish was recognised as one of The Grocer’s Top New Talents in 2013.

After a period in Australia, managing private and exclusive label sourcing for Coles Liquor, she returned to the UK and moved to sales, managing National Accounts for Negociants UK and later Fells. She joined Frexienet Copestick in 2019 as Senior National Account Manager, before being promoted to Grocery Controller in 2022.

Trish is a WSET Diploma graduate and scholarship winner. She also recently became a Mental Health First Aider and a mentor for The Drinks Trust.

Outside of work Trish enjoys travelling with her husband and two young sons, trail running, and politics and history podcasts. She is currently working towards completing 250 parkruns and already has 100 under her belt.

Danielle Obbard, of Head e-Commerce for Rémy-Cointreau UK manages a team covering commercial, operational and trade marketing roles. Rémy-Cointreau UK – part of the Remy Cointreau Group – has a long-term vision to be the UK’s most inspiring and sustainable premium wine and spirits company, and e-Commerce is one of the key strategic drivers for the group.

Having previously worked in spirits and beer in various sales and marketing roles, primarily specialising in the Grocery channel, Danielle took the dive into the world of e-Commerce mid pandemic in 2020. She has loved the dynamism and fast pace of e-Commerce where things are constantly evolving and there is always something new to learn.

A lover of good food and drink, Danielle has a real passion for the industry and is delighted to have been given the opportunity to provide even a small contribution to its sustainable future. She is always eager to taste and discover products from the amazing array of producers and distributors within our wonderful industry. Her husband’s family are from the Cognac region of France and produce their own Pineau des Charentes, and Danielle particularly loves taking part in their annual vendange and helping with the production – and tasting! – of the product.

Outside of her professional role she also holds a voluntary role in the education sector as Vice Chair for the Local Advisory Board of a Primary school. And proving she likes to take on a challenge in the past few years Danielle has taken up BMX racing. So many of her weekends are now taken up training or travelling to various races along with her two boys. Danielle said: “It’s certainly not something I would have predicted, but it’s great fun and although still not very good I am improving!”

Lara Sills, Director of Commercial Operations, Mentzendorff & Co Ltd, leads the end-to-end supply chain and day to day operations of the business. Lara embarked on her wine career over 15 years ago at Charles Taylor Wines, then moved to Mentzendorff where she has continued to progress her career.

Lara currently sits on the Mentzendorff Leadership Team working closely with external partners, leading cross functional projects and setting and implementing strategies.

Her most recent achievements include leading and setting the company’s Digital Transformation Project and Corporate Social Responsibility Strategies.

Being deeply committed to making a positive impact to the environment and community, Lara leads the Corporate Social Responsibility projects at Mentzendorff focussing on its 3 pillars: People, Environment & Community. She is also currently navigating the business through its carbon footprint measurements and target setting, supporting HR with their people and wellbeing initiatives with a focus on diversity and inclusion, and engaging the business in its charity and community endeavours, through implementing employee volunteering.

Lara is passionate about people and she values the privilege of managing a team, motivating them to collaboratively meet shared goals, and championing personal development. As a WSET Diploma Graduate, Lara recently also completed the General Management Programme at Cranfield University in 2020.

Outside of work, Lara enjoys spending time exploring the outdoors with her family or spending time by the beach paddle boarding. To relax she enjoys yoga and running.

The WSTA launched their recruitment exercise in March this year with the aim to find members who fit the bill for the job description posted here.

The successful candidates will join the board formally on the 12th of July and attend their first full meeting in November. 

They will be joining the existing 13 WSTA board members who can be found here.

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