The Midlands shortlist unveiled for the FL National Awards & Summit 2019

The FL National Awards & Summit, now in its 10th year, has today announced its anticipated regional shortlist for The Midlands.

Designed to demonstrate enterprise, talent and innovation from across the region’s thriving business community, the annual National Awards & Summit has become one of the most recognised and well-attended business awards in the region.

Forward Ladies Managing Director, Griselda Togobo, revealed the 41 shortlisted applicants who will now compete for ten prestigious awards, in categories across all sectors including Emerging Leader, Start Up, Charity/Social Enterprise, Mentor of the Year and more.

Griselda explained: “Since launching in 2009, these are the only business awards to recognise those leaders and organisations who have made the greatest impact on the regional and wider UK economy over the last 12 months.

“For another year running, we have received some excellent entries from businesses large and small, and from individuals at all stages in their career journey. All of those who have been shortlisted this year can be immensely proud of their success and all they have achieved.”

The shortlisted applicants (outlined below) in each of the categories will be invited to an exclusive awards lunch hosted by acclaimed television presenter, reporter and producer Arti Halai, on Friday 4th October at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham. The winners from this, and the other regional finals, will then be invited to appear before a live panel of independent judges in November, followed by the National Grand Final in Leeds on 29th November.

Lara Oyesanya, UK Counsel and Director, Legal at Klarna Bank AB, was last year crowned with the top award of Forward Ladies Outstanding Business Woman of the Year 2018, after leaving the judges “amazed and highly inspired” by her “stunning career”.

Commenting on her triumph, Lara said: “The impact of the awards has been huge. This achievement has shone a spotlight on my career and inspired others. More importantly, the awards have enabled me to promote women’s causes and to encourage women to consider all possibilities.

“For me personally, I’ve taken away the importance of getting involved and sharing my story, and providing the visuals that are so necessary as part of the storytelling because people relate far better to what they can see.”

The keynote speaker this year will be Jenny Holloway, owner of Fashion Enter Limited, a social enterprise garment factory based in North London. With over twenty five years working in the fashion industry, Jenny not only manufactures for small brands and start-ups, helping create samples and small production runs, but she’s also manufactured for some of the UK’s most well-known retailers – such as ASOS, John Lewis and M&S. In 2000, Jenny commenced a consultancy business and was approached to be an Industry Advisor on Government funded initiatives.

The awards are delighted to welcome back one of last year’s judges Sahar Hashemi, Founder of Coffee Republic. Commenting on the event, Sahar said: “I absolutely love the Forward Ladies awards. I remember the first time I attended a few years ago and entering the room as the speaker – I couldn’t believe the buzz and the energy. But then again it’s no surprise that so many high achieving women in one room could create an unbelievably high octane, inspiring atmosphere. Every year it gets better and better.

“As a judge, I get so much inspiration and positive energy from meeting the incredible women shortlisted for awards. So here’s to another fabulous year – the future is female and you are all living proof – you go ladies!”

The full shortlist for the Midlands region is:

Charity/Social Enterprise Category:

Heidi Fisher, Director, Make an Impact CIC; Danniebelle Gunter, Chairwoman, Project COFFE; Elaine Nicholson, CEO/Founder/Counsellor, Action for Asperger’s; Dr Deborah Outhwaite, Director, DTSA, Derby Teaching Schools Alliance (DTSA); Diane Vernon, Chief Executive, EmployabilityUK; Melanie Glass, Social Entrepreneur, Devenishgirl; Kiran Kaur, Co-Founder & CEO, GirlDreamer

Corporate Leader Category:

Farhana Sheikh, Head of Operations, Clifton Packaging Group Limited; Elaine Siew, Managing Director, gbpartnerships; Louise Thompson, Group HR & Talent Manager, Barker Ross

Emerging Leader Category:

Reham Badawy, Machine learning researcher in Biomedical Engineering/STEM Editor and UK ambassador @Womenareboring/CodeFirst:Girls instructor, Aston University; Lynn Wood, Development Project Manager, Next Retail Ltd; Naomi Watts, Entrepreneur Engagement Manager, Tech Nation; Oishi Deb, Software Engineer, Rolls-Royce

Female Entrepreneur Category:

Helen Charteris, MD, Charteris Global Search; Clare Farrell, Independent Financial Adviser, Northfield Wealth Management; Charlotte Hay, Managing Director, Healing Manor Hotel;

Beth Heath, Founder of Shropshire Festivals, Shropshire Festivals Ltd; Helen Routledge, CEO, Totem Learning; Chloe Sharp, Managing Director, Snap Out; Natalie Taylor Herrick, Director, Taylor Herrick Recruitment; Teresa Boughey, Founder & CEO, Jungle HR Ltd; Louise White, Owner     Body Lipo, Lincoln

Mentor of the Year Category:

Simona Pillay, Managing Director, Smoke & Fire Curtains Ltd; Angela Armstrong, Owner/Head of Leadership Development, Armstrong Coaching & Consulting; Eve Whitmore, Franchisee Owner, Kiddleydivey – Shropshire, Mid Wales & Wolverhampton

Public Sector/Academia/Not for Profit Leader Category:

Kimberley Chadwick, Outreach Manager, Harper Adams University; Claire-Marie Cuthbert, CEO, The Evolve Trust; Theresa Grant, Chief Executive, Northamptonshire County Council;

Sarah Hainsworth, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, Aston University; Caroline Killeavy, Chief Executive, YMCA Lincolnshire; Joanne Maher, Principal & CEO, Boston College

 Start Up Category:

Ishbel Lapper, Owner HR Solutions, Shropshire; Tamika Martin, CEO, Ucreate PR & Events Management Ltd; Julie Colan, Founder, Secret Whispers™

 STEM Leader Category:

Sarah Grinonneau, Interim Head of PMO and Head of I&D, Kantar; Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, President and CEO, New Model in Technology and Engineering; Iona Lennon, Building Surveyor, Tewkesbury Borough Council

Young Entrepreneur Category:

Roseanna Croft, Director, Roseanna Croft Jewellery; Marie Clarke, Business Owner, Precious times; Susanne Virtanen, Director & Consultant, DiscoverChange Ltd

The Male Agent of Change will be announced at the event.