Our Judges 2019

Anna Kennedy Online is proud to announce the following Judges in selecting the finalists for Autism Hero Awards 2019

Dr Chris Papadopoulos: Principal Lecturer in Public Health

“It is an honour to be a judge for the Autism Hero Awards.

I am a parent of two autistic children, a University academic who conducts research on autism stigma and mental health, and the founder of the London Autism Group (an online Facebook support group) and the London Autism Group Charity which produces The Autism Podcast.

The work I do is geared towards producing positive impact for the benefit of autistic people, their families and the wider autism community.

It therefore gives me great pleasure and inspiration to learn more about the wonderful work others are doing towards producing impact and to be involved in honouring them with formal recognition of this.”


Gio Spano

34-year-old Gio Spano from London has starred in West End shows from Grease to Dance ‘Til Dawn, as well as performing a part in Meat Loaf musical Bat Out of Hell.

He is also frontman of rock band deVIence and was a finalist in X Factor 2018.

Gio has a family member diagnosed with Autism and is happy to support AnnaKennedyonline after he was blown away by Autism’s Got Talent this year at the Mermaid Theatre. 

Frank Khalid
Businessman, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

Frank Khalid is a businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He has followed his passion for family, food, football and film to become an award winning and celebrated business leader both here in the UK and internationally.

Having quietly supported his local community and a range of charities for years in 2009, Frank decided to hold a charity gala in aid of Autism Anglia, to help raise funds and awareness of the condition. Each year since, Elbrook has held a star-studded charity gala for a number of charitable causes and raised over £300K; one of which is the Asian Trust, where Frank has been a patron since 2007.

The trust was set up by HRH Prince Charles and Asian business leaders to support the vision of a South Asia that maximises the potential of its people, and that is free from inequality and injustice.Frank has received numerous awards, including the Pakistani Achievement Awards – Role Model of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, British Community Honour Awards – Outstanding contribution to the community. Fulfilling his passion for film, Frank branched out in 2013 by opening the West London Film Studios in Hayes, Middlesex.

Marianna Dean
Award winning TV & Film director and a producer

Marianna is an award winning TV & Film director and a producer. Her directorial debut, SYMPTOMS, screened at several festivals (including BAFTA/OSCAR qualifying ones) and won numerous awards. It earned her the Best First Time Director award at the Los Angeles Film Awards and an Award of Excellence (Directing) at the Accolade Global Film Competition.

Her second film, IN THE PARK, won Best Comedy/Dramedy Short at the LA Independent Film Festival and Best Directing at the International Independent Film Awards.

Marianna is currently producing three feature films.

She also has a film about autism in pre-production that will hopefully help to raise awareness of the condition. 

Judges 2019