Meet Michael Pengelly – winner of the Be Yourself Always Award

Meet Michael Pengelly – winner of the Be Yourself Always Award


“I was shocked. You don’t get up every morning and say: ‘I’m going to win the Be Yourself Always Award.’ But I was more shocked about the words people said about me.”


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It’s an award everyone would love to win – an award for being yourself. Michael is certainly that.

He’s the most senior colleague out of our 12 winners but you wouldn’t think it. As a regional manager he’s shown the strength of his leadership over the last two years through “passion and honesty” according to his colleagues.

One colleague said:

“In 2017 he led from the front, showcasing what was great about the area while constantly being honest to the team on their opportunities.

“He did this by staying 1 to who he is as a person and absolutely being himself always, putting a positive outlook on every challenge, encouraging people to do the right thing for the longer term even when faced with easier options.”

“It’s how you want to be perceived,” says Michael. “They are the words you want to hear written about you.”

Michael joined Co-op during the Somerfield merger in 2009 and has been regional manager of Wales, Herefordshire and Shropshire since 2016.

He’s been at the centre of turning around what was an underperforming region where colleague engagement was low.

According to colleagues he’s taken everyone on an “awesome” journey – always talking, listening and inspiring every colleague he meets. “All my managers feel inspired by him and every colleague loves when he visits their stores,” said one colleague.

His passion for people, and development of others, has allowed colleagues to grow. Many people now refer to ‘Team Wales’ – one team which is now a great place to work. That’s down to him.

“I very rarely change for anybody. I tune it up or down depending on who I’m with but essentially I’m the same with everyone,” says Michael.

“Over these last three years I’ve been encouraged to be myself which has been brilliant. Co-op is changing and I’m glad to be a part of that.”

What colleagues said about Michael

“He’s created a complete cultural shift across a whole country. He did this through being himself! A genuine, hardworking, passionate, supportive, amazing leader, who challenges in the most positive way to get things done/changed.

“I can’t explain how amazing he is. I’ve never worked for an individual who’s inspired me so much. I feel honoured to work for him.”

“He’s a great example of someone being yourself always and taking others on a positive journey to create a cultural transformation across a region.”

“This colleague is an inspiration to our region. He truly is a grounded person who inspires others to do a great job, putting customers, members and colleagues at the heart of everything he does. He’s done all this through being himself.”