Meet The ‘Unstoppable Women’ Recognised At The FL Leadership Summit and Awards2022

For immediate release

25 November 2022

For close to 20 years, Forward Ladies – the leading global platform supporting and empowering women in business – has hosted an annual Leadership Summit and awards ceremony, celebrating the powerful women who are paving the way towards equity and equality in the workplace. This year, the 2022 event has proven to be bigger and better than ever before.

With this year’s theme being ‘unstoppable women’, the Forward Ladies 2022 Leadership Summit & Awards has set out to recognise those demonstrating exceptional leadership ability, breaking glass ceilings, and inspiring communities around the world to never give up in the face of adversity.

Following a rigorous process, the judging panel – which included former PwC partner Bill Henry, EasyJet manager Ali Gayward, and Nuclear Energy specialist Julianne Antrobus, amongst a host of other prominent names in the business world – made their decisions from a fantastic shortlist of candidates. The winners were announced on Friday 25th November at the Grand Final.

Hosted by media and communications specialist Arti Halai, whose work with edtech company Auris Tech and the Every Child Needs a Mentor programme is encouraging young people to aspire to be everything they want to be, the Open University, BASF and LCF-sponsored awards ceremony was held at Royal Armouries, Leeds. The keynote speech was delivered by Joanna Jensen, Founder and Executive Chairman of Childs Farm, the UK’s #1 children’s toiletry brand.

Two panel discussions also took place, with the first exploring the topic of neurodiversity hosted by psychotherapist and an impassioned champion of women and their stories, Catherine Aster alongside Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, CEO of Leeds-based home décor brand and retailer Dowsing & Reynolds and Jessica Okoro, Founder and Global Program Director of STEM Social. The second panel, known as the Next Generation Panel, was chaired by multi-award-winning young entrepreneur, Hannah Duraid and Georgia Henry, the head of publishing at Rocket.

Forward Ladies CEO Griselda Togobo says, “Every year, the number of candidates and quality of candidates just keeps getting higher and higher, and this year was no exception. I think that really goes to show that we got this year’s theme absolutely spot on! Women, no matter what’s thrown at them, are unstoppable. The last few years have been exceptionally difficult for everyone, but women in the workplace were notable victims. There were concerns that much of the progress that had been made towards gender equality in the workplace would be reversed, but the quality of the candidates that we saw this year really shows that nothing can stop us”.

The awards were divided into three categories for entrepreneurs, corporate workers, and for those who identify as both. There was also a special award for ‘Business Woman of the Year’, which was presented to Sheridan Ash who scored the highest out of all shortlisted candidates across the judging criteria.

Full list of winners:

Transformational Leader

Jillian Thomas (Managing Director, Future Life Wealth Management)

Jillian Thomas’ business ethos is simple: clients always come first. She has adhered to this mantra since launching Future Life Wealth Management at the height of the 2009 recession. Today, the company is one of the UK’s leading independent financial advisors with an annual turnover in excess of £1m.


Carlotta Zorzi (Uk Partnerships Manager, Shopify)

Coming from a small town in Italy, Carlotta started her career in Silicon Valley before joining the London corporate tech scene working for companies like Oracle and Shopify. Additionally, Carlotta is a mentor for women’s networks, a career coach for School16, a startup NED and a University Guest Professor.


Dawn Childs (Ceo (Operations), Pure Data Centres Group)

Dawn is an accomplished engineer and operator who has held engineering director roles across several sectors. Currently she is the CEO of Operations at Pure Data Centres responsible for the construction and operation of hyper scale data centres. She is also the longest serving President of the Women’s Engineering Society.

Rising Star

Khadija Owusu (Doctor, National Health Service)

Dr Khadija Owusu is an award-winning UK Junior Doctor, Leader, Change-Agent and International & TEDx Speaker. She is the Founder of The Like Her Project (Ghana), Founding Member & Director of Programmes at Melanin Medics, an Ambassador at the GUBA-Enterprise and a Trustee for the charity Raising Futures Kenya.

Inspiring Mentor

Maria Peggs (Founder & Ceo, Vispera Limited)

A highly experienced professional with 28+ years’ experience working at Director level, Maria now works as a Mentor, Facilitator and Board Advisor. Maria has mentored and guided 350+ business leaders to stimulate growth, becoming their trusted ally and supporting them through various stages enabling them to achieve their desired goals.

Education/Academic Leader – Sponsored by Open University

Noel-Ann Bradshaw (Deputy Dean and Professor 0f Operational Research and Mathematics Education, University 0f Greenwich)

Noel-Ann Bradshaw is Professor of Operational Research and Mathematics Education at the University of Greenwich where she is also Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Science. She is keen to promote STEM subjects to girls, particularly showing how Florence Nightingale’s use of statistics and data management saved lives.

Social Impact

Sheridan Ash (Founder and Co- Ceo, Tech She Can & PWc)

Sheridan has two major roles. leader in Technology Innovation at PwC, and Founder and Co-CEO of charity Tech She Can. Sheridan set up the charity to improve career opportunities in technology for children and women. She’s a thought-leader on technological innovation and its contribution to productivity in the UK.

Start up

Jodie Hill (Managing Partner, Thrive Law)

Jodie Hill is committed to de-stigmatising mental health and disability in the workplace. Following a breakdown in 2018, she changed her working life by establishing Thrive Law, believing everyone should be enabled to Thrive at work. Thrive Law specialises in Employment and HR, with a focus on workplace mental health.

Female Entrepreneur

Christina Lawford (Founder & Ceo, Diamondair International)

CEO, Founder and owner of DiamondAir Selection Group. Christina has immense experience in premium passenger handling globally. From 18 years of age, Christina has organically developed 3 companies into global, multi-million-pound businesses and created an unsurpassed business model: an international network in over 600 airports and train stations globally.

Disruptor Innovator

Mae, Yip (Co-founder, Eric)

Mae left her accountancy job at PWC to co-create ERIC. Her mission in life is to make sure young people from all walks of life were told about their career options in the creative industries. Her role is to work with creative employers and connect them with young creatives.

Young Entrepreneur

Georgina Merckel (Business Owner, The Organised Personal Assistant)

Georgina is the owner of The Organised Personal Assistant supporting social enterprises and small businesses with their operations so they can focus on their passion. As a VA, Online Business Manager, HR Manager and Business Coach, Georgina provides powerful support to passionate entrepreneurs.

Forward Ladies also hosted a raffle at the event to raise money for Leeds Hospital Charity, to support their transformation of Leeds Children’s Hospital into a state-of-the-art facility that will do justice to the skills of the amazing clinicians who save and improve lives every day. Attendees at the event raised £970 between raffle tickets and donations.

For more information about the awards visit: