Forward Ladies Celebrates the Success of Business Women in London and the South

Forward Ladies has announced the winners of the National Awards for 2017, sponsored by HSBC. The Awards took place on Friday at a celebration lunch at the Hilton London Tower Bridge, before an audience of senior and influential business leaders.

Photography: Silvana Trevale; Words: Gill Bowker 

The esteemed National Awards were introduced eight years ago to acknowledge, reward and celebrate the exceptional work and female talent throughout the business community. This year, Forward Ladies continues to recognise and honour the most respected businesswomen, within a variety of industries.

Discussing her pride in the winners, Forward Ladies Managing Director Griselda Togobo said: “This has been a fantastic year for women, and through our National Awards we are once again delighted to be working in partnership with HSBC to showcase the very best women in business in the UK.

“The calibre of entries has been increasing year on year, but this year we had a number of outstanding entries and it was a wonderful afternoon of celebration and sharing their remarkable success. The standard of all our shortlisted entries was truly exceptional.”

Jennifer Crawley, Head of UK Performance for HSBC and Chief Awards judge said; “I am always impressed by such talented businesswomen who enter each year – and this year is no different. They play a significant part in the UK economy which is recognised by these awards. A very well done to all those who have joined us and provided such inspiration for other entrepreneurs through their ongoing achievements.”

The twelve category winners will now take part in a judging day in Manchester in November, before a distinguished panel of business leaders, where they will join finalists from regional events in the Midlands, Yorkshire, North East and Scotland, and the North West, Wales and Ireland. The overall national winner will be announced at a grand finale to be held in Leeds on the 1st December.

The keynote speaker was Barinder Hothi, co-founder and Group Managing Director of The Knowledge Academy, a global training business. Barinder started the business in 2009, at the heart of the recession with humble beginnings. Today she employs over 200 people with global revenues in excess of £25M and is the winner of many prestigious business awards, including 2016 winner of the Forward Ladies Women in Business Award, International category.

Bespoke glass trophies were presented to the winners in each category:

Corporate Leader Category

Winner: Deborah O’Neill – Oliver Wyman

Within Oliver Wyman, Deborah O’Neill has supported some of the world’s biggest financial institutions to make sense of terabytes of business data, unearth the hidden knowledge it contains, and reinvent corporate decision making. She is also engaged in mentoring the next generation of tech experts and supporting the female talent pipeline.

Highly Commended:  Rebecca Millions – Johnson & Johnson

Digital Business of the Year Category

Winner: Bridget Harris – Youcanbookme.

Bridget Harris is CEO & co-founder of web scheduling tool, YouCanBookMe, having built up business since 2010 with co-founder Keith Harris. Bridget previously spent more than a decade working in Parliament and Local Government as a political and leadership specialist.

Inspiring Leader Category

Winner: Diana Choyleva – Enodo Economics

Diana Choyleva is Chief Economist at Enodo Economics, an independent macroeconomic consultancy focused on China which she set up in 2016. For 16 years prior, Diana worked at Lombard Street Research, most recently as Chief Economist and Head of Research, leading the economist and strategist team while conducting her own global analysis.

International Category

Winner: Christina Lawford – Potter, Diamond Air International

Christina Lawford-Potter is the CEO of Diamond Air International. She built her business from scratch at the age of 18, and also pioneered a market sector; ‘Airport Concierge’. They now provide services in 500+ airports. She’s on the Board of ‘Women in Travel’ & founding/shareholder of ‘Whitecar’. She’s also passionate about her charity work for the homeless.

Highly Commended:  Emma Sceats – CN Bio Innovations

Not for Profit/Social Enterprise of the Year Category

Winner: CJ Bowry – Sal’s Shoes

CJ Bowry is the founder of Sal’s Shoes. Nearly four years ago she was unable to find an organisation that could tell her where her son Sal’s outgrown shoes would end up walking again if they were donated; so she set up Sal’s Shoes finding new feet for children’s pre-loved shoes.

Highly Commended:  Sarah Chapman – Faro Energy

Rising Star Category

Winner: Fatima Vayani – Kings College Student’s Union

Fatima Vayani has worked in furthering gender equality and recognition of minorities in STEM, alongside her doctoral research in computational biology, at King’s College London. She’s currently the president of KCL Women in STEM Society at King’s College London Students Union.

SME Emerging Category

Winner: Caroline Sparks – Turtle Tots

Caroline Sparks and Gabrielle Lixton launched Turtle Tots in 2011. Turtle Tots in a unique swimming programme that begins with aqua-natal yoga and continues with specialist baby and toddler classes. Turtle Tots sells licenses in the UK and internationally.

Highly Commended:  Sophia Nadur – Ideas 2 Launch

SME Growth Category

Winner: Sarah Brown – Pai Skincare

Sarah Brown launched Pai Skincare in 2007 from her garage in West London with nothing but personal savings, as a solution to her own sensitive skin. The brand has grown into an award-winning business exporting to over 50 countries. Sarah is a supporter of the organic beauty industry and British manufacturing.

Highly Commended:  Katharine Glass – White Label Creative

Start Up Category

Winner: Pip Murray – Pip & Nut

Pip Murray, is the founder of Pip & Nut, a natural nut butter brand. Since it launched in 2015, Pip & Nut has gone from strength to strength with listings in more than 3300 stores, ranging from Sainsbury’s to Selfridges, and sales expected to exceed £6m in 2017.

Highly Commended:  Tania Boler – Elvie

 Lauren Stevenson – Aisle 8

STEM Leader Category

Winner: Anna Keeling – GKN Areospace

Anna Keeling is the Senior Vice President Commercial for GKN Aerospace, the world’s leading multi-technology aerospace supplier designs and manufactures innovative systems/components across 55 manufacturing locations, in 14 countries. Anna has 18 years’ experience in the global aerospace industry.

Highly Commended: Nora Vyas – Kingston University

STEM Rising Star Category

Winner: Ilaria Ambrogio – Proctor & Gamble

Through her PhD (Pharmaceutical Science) Ilaria Ambrogio discovered her love of organic chemistry to “think like a molecule” realising that science is a collective dream. Starting at Proctor & Gamble in 2008, that dream continued by collaborating with colleagues worldwide. Now a Principle Scientist, Ilaria is recognised for her technical mastery and innovation deliverables.

Highly Commended:  Becky Sage – Interactive Scientific

Victoria Peppiatt – Phrasee

Young Entrepreneur Category

Winner: Julianne Ponan – Creative Nature

Julianne Ponan is the Owner and CEO of Creative Nature, a mentor for Virgin Start-ups and a motivational speaker. She took over Creative Nature in 2012, aged 22, when it was in over £56,000 losses and has since launched her products into ASDA, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, TK Maxx and overseas.

Highly Commended:  Melanie Goldsmith – Smith & Sinclair 

You can also take a look at our winners’ page HERE.

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Have you booked your ticket for the country’s biggest celebration of female-led businesses? Book your tickets to an award near you. We will be in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds. Book your tickets HERE.