Forward Ladies Celebrates the Success of Business Women in the North West, Ireland & Wales

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 Lowry Hotel, Manchester, before an audience of senior and influential business leaders.

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 Yorkshire, North East and Scotland; London and the South East; and the Midlands. The overall national winner will be announced at a grand finale to be held in Leeds on the 1st December.

The keynote speaker was entrepreneur Rebecca McCann, a self-taught, self-made entrepreneur who launched Pro Blo Group in November 2014. Initially operating from her mum’s kitchen with a plan to sell her hair tool on EBay, Rebecca launched her brand into Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdales and many other high end department stores across the globe.

The brand is loved by celebrities, stylists and influencers worldwide and boasts an organic cult following across social media. With warehouses in UK, USA, UAE and Australia Rebecca continues to expand her business at a rapid growth.

The Awards were delighted to welcome back HSBC as key sponsor, and are supported by many sector leading businesses including Tastecard and Saville AV and our regional sponsors United Utilities, Freeths, Live Magazine and Manchester Evening News.

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

Corporate Leader Category

Winner: Marie Katherine Mayers, Sodexo

Marie Katherine Mayers began her career in computing and retrained in Occupational Health & Safety.  Passionate about business and safety, Marie Katherine now works for the global IFM company Sodexo as Head of HSE Ireland and enjoys balancing a busy job with family life.

Digital Category

Winner: Susanna Lawson, Onefile Ltd.

Susanna Lawson worked in the health and social care sector and witnessed huge inefficiencies in the training delivery models which drove her to develop OneFile.  Now as director/Co-founder, OneFile has developed into the leading e-portfolio software in the education sector. In 5yrs it has grown from 19 to 75 staff and revenue increased 300%.

Inspiring Leader Category

Winner: Carmel McKinney OBE, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue

Carmel McKinney has broken the glass ceiling as the first female chair of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, leading an all-male board. A highly accomplished and resilient leader she’s devoted to the promotion of women in a boardroom setting and within the organisation, which only has 12% females on its workforce.

International Category

Winner: Sharon Stephens, Lingua Translations

Sharon Stephens manages a successful international translation company, Lingua Translations, is a university lecturer and trains/motivates graduates with no reimbursement whatsoever.  Her enthusiasm is infectious, which is topped off as Sharon is a mum to three young girls.

Not for Profit & Social Enterprise of the Year Category

Winner: Kerryanne Wilde, CERT-UK

Kerryanne Wilde is the CEO of CERT-UK; Community Emergency Response Team UK. She joined the Army in 1990 and left in 2002 and moved into the Licensed & Restaurant Trade. She now runs her own training & consulting business as well as a very successful charity.

Highly Commended: Wendy Hobbs, Dreams & Wishes Charity

Rising Star Category

Winner: Ruth Logan, Ernst & Young

Ruth Logan is a Cambridge Chemical Engineering Graduate and Chartered Accountant, starting her career in Manchester before relocating to Belfast in 2014. Working for Ernst and Young as a partner, she serves some of the largest businesses in Northern Ireland and leads multi-national Audit teams as well as EY’s Delivery & Innovation Centre in Belfast.

SME Emerging Category

Winner: Shauna McCarney-Blair, Heavenly Tasty Organics

Shauna McCarney-Blair is founder and managing director of Heavenly Tasty Organics Ltd.  Before she started the business she was a full-time mum to two and yet in the past 5 years she has developed an award winning business, created 4 new jobs, and gained a 1:1 BSc Food Management and Marketing.

SME Growth Category

Winner: Sally Fielding, Sally’s Cottages                     

Sally Fielding set up Sally’s Cottages, a holiday cottage agency, with only £1,000 to invest in it. The company now looks after 425 cottages and took £6.5million worth of bookings last year. Her role changes from year to year which keeps things fresh and she loves the Lake District where she is based.

Start Up Category

Winner: Rose Aldean, Mello Drinks Ltd.

Rose Aldean is Co-Founder and Director of Mello Drinks which specialises in a range of healthy, innovative, Watermelon & Melon food and drink products. One of the fastest growing SME brands; producing a range of Cold Pressed Melon and Watermelon Seed Snacks, retailing nationally at Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, Ocado & more.

Highly Commended:  Sharon Lomas, Lomas & Lomas Ltd.

STEM Leader Category

Winner: Diane Hassett, Johnson and Johnson Vision Care

Diane Hasset is Senior Engineering Manager at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care and is responsible for new manufacturing production lines and equipment; managing a $50m capital budget and responsible for teams of 30+ people.  An honest leader focused on workplace inclusivity, Diane has three children and is studying for a Masters in Design Innovation.

STEM Rising Star Category

Winner: Johann Muldoon, Manor Architects Ltd.

Johann Muldoon is an Architect, specialist conservation architect, Director and shareholder of Manor Architects, mother to two babies and wife to a dairy farmer. The pinnacle of her career has been the receipt of an MBE and Best Women Architect in Europe, both received in 2017.

Young Entrepreneur Category

Winner: Tino Dzaro, Tino’s

Tino Dzaro, at the age of 17, worked for an Engineering company and by the age of 19 she was managing commercial projects. She moved to Swansea in 2010 and graduated with an Aerospace Bachelor’s Degree. She fell in love with South Wales and decided to stay and open a business, Tinos, a cafe, restaurant and bar.

Have you booked your ticket for the country’s biggest celebration of female-led businesses? Book your tickets to The Grand Final in Leeds. Book your tickets HERE.