Since its launch in 2005 the First Women Awards have grown in influence and impact, leading the way in recognising and celebrating the many achievements of exceptional women.

Recipients of these awards are women from various sectors, from public service to business owners, who have achieved their success against all odds. These female trailblazers have broken glass ceilings, they work hard to remove barriers for other women and they are disrupting established industry norms through innovation. 

With longstanding support from the CBI, prominent industry organisations and small businesses, the First Women Awards continues to be a distinguished programme that inspires the next generation, fuels entrepreneurial passion and galvanises women to be a force for change.

First Women Judging Day

All shortlisted candidates will be required to attend an interview with our esteemed panel of judges which will be held on 16 May by BNP Paribas.

Judging Day Sponsor

  • This award gives you a sense of extra determination. You need stamina to always continue to make the world better for girls and women, which is what I want. The encouragement helps, the recognition helps, and you feel that you are being given support

    Jude Kelly CBE Artistic Director, The Southbank Centre

Key Dates

31st March 2017    Nominations close
early May 2017    Shortlist announced
16th May 2017    Judging day
29th June 2017    Awards ceremony

Programme for the evening

6.45pm    Welcome drinks
7.40pm    Welcome speeches
8pm    Dinner
9.30pm    Awards ceremony
11pm    Cash bar
1am    Carriages


First Women
 Built Environment

The winner of this award is a woman with incredible potential and motivation to achieve greatness in her field of the Built Environment. She will have had several significant achievements, contributing to her field in a distinctive and innovative fashion.


  • Anne McNamara, Shine Bid Services 
  • Michelle Greeff, Hobs Studios 
  • Perm Saini, Claremont Property Group 
  • Di Hart, L&Q Housing Trust 
  • Karen Temple, NPS Group 
  • Valerie Bannister, Your Move 
  • Louise Hardy, Sirus Minerals Plc

First Women
 Engineering & Manufacturing
Sponsored By:

The First Woman of Engineering & Manufacturing will most likely have overcome the odds to be a strong female force in a typically male-dominated field. She will be a role model, with great success behind her, and showing promise for the future.


  • Angie Ma, ASI Data Science 
  • Anna Wild, Laing O’Rourke 
  • Lisa Birch, Charles Austen Pumps 
  • Andrea Catlow, Frontier Pitts
  • Caroline Hargrove, McLaren Applied Technologies 
  • Catalina Quiroga, Sevcon 
  • Emma Pullen, The British Hovercraft Company 

First Women
 Retail & Consumer

The winner of this award will be a woman with ambition, drive and charisma. She will have achieved success in the field of retail and/or consumer industries, be at the forefront of innovation and be making a distinctive contribution to a real consumer need.


  • Angela Day, Affordable Car Hire 
  • Annabel Karmel, Annabel Karmel 
  • Ali Powell, Fitness First Group 
  • Anna Kilmurray, Clearscore Technology 
  • Miguelina Gambaccini, Miguelina Inc 
  • Sara Davies, Crafter’s Companion
  • Jana Korpova, Smart Currency Exchange

First Women

The First Woman of Media will be ambitious and creative with a ground-breaking spirit. With significant success to date and big goals for the future, she will be a role model for future generations.


  • Anna-Louise Gladwell, AKQA Ltd
  • Tracy De Groose, Dentsu Aegis Network 
  • Thalia Droussioti, Global Listings
  • Joanna Carrigan, News UK 
  • Cat Botibol, PD3
  • Verity Brown, The Specialist Works 
  • Jane Anne Hayward, WS Advertising 

First Women
Sponsored By:

The winner of the finance award will be tenacious and outstanding in her field. She will most likely have overcome difficulties to get where she is today, and will be passionate about driving change and supporting diversity and inclusion in the finance industry.


  • Marieke Flament, Circle 
  • Anna Sofat, Addidi Wealth 
  • Runa Alam, Development Partners International 
  • Elizabeth Raffle, Lloyds Banking Group 
  • Helen Steers, Pantheon 
  • Rhonda Ryan, Pavilion Alternatives Group 
  • Gail McManus, PER GmbH
  • Gina Miller, SCM Direct 

First Women
 Public Service

The First Woman of Public Service winner will be a dedicated and passionate female at the forefront of the public service industry. Her previous successes will support her drive for future achievements. She will be pioneering and entrepreneurial in spirit.


  • Christine Roberts, CalMac Ferries 
  • Claire Horton, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home 
  • Professor Aisha K. Gill, University of Roehampton 
  • Fleur Sexton, PET-Xi
  • Yasmin Batliwala, WDP
  • Deborah Cadman, Suffolk County Council 
  • Nikki Ross, Thames Valley Police 
  • Kimberly Richardson, Widows of Opportunity 

First Women
 Tourism & Leisure

The winner of this award will be an inspiring, committed and creative female, at the top of the tourism and leisure industry. She will be making a distinctive and innovative contribution to the field and empowering the next generation through her successes.


  • Kate McWilliams, easyJet
  • Kate Sullivan, Lonely Planet
  • Ufi Ibrahim, British Hospitality Association 
  • Clare Wood, MK Gallery 
  • Abi Wright, 
  • Dale MacPhee, Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian 

First Women
 Science & Technology

The winner of this award will be redressing the balance of this male-dominated field; inspiring younger women with her achievements. She will be pioneering, tenacious and committed to her industry as shown through her numerous successes and promise for the future. She will overall be a role model for women in science and technology.


  • Resh Sidhu, Framestore VR Studio 
  • Linda Summerton, Immodulon
  • Sarah Weller, Mubaloo
  • Elizabeth Sheldon, Evidence Talks 
  • Anne-Marie Imafidon, Stemettes
  • Hayley Sudbury, WERKIN

First Women

New for 2017! The First Woman of Healthcare will be an individual who has been at the forefront of innovation in healthcare. She will be dedicated to the field with high achievements huge personal and professional motivation to succeed. She will be charismatic and ambitious.  She may have overcome difficulties to get where she is, and will subsequently be an inspiring role model for women in this field.


  • Jean, Birtley House Nursing Home 
  • Penny Overy, Cambridge Care Company
  • Jan Steward, Ultrasound Direct
  • Charlotte Summers,
  • Alison Whittaker, Crawford Healthcare
  • Jan Flawn, PJ Care 
  • Fiona Godlee, BMJ
  • Amber Vodegel, Health & Parenting Ltd 

First Women
 Business Services
Sponsored By:

The First Woman of Business Services will be a ground-breaking high-achiever with huge personal and professional motivation to succeed. She will be charismatic and ambitious and significant achievements to date. She may have overcome difficulties to get where she is, and will subsequently be an inspiring role model for women in this field.


  • Rachel Barton, Accenture
  • Penelope Warne, CMS Cameron McKenna 
  • Hayley Johnson, Epos Now 
  • Jo Haigh, fds Director Services Ltd 
  • Yvonne Thomas, Interserve 
  • Ann Harding, Quattro Plant Ltd
  • Dawn McCarthy, Rentokil Initial 
  • Trisha Pirie, Scottish Enterprise

First Women
 Entrepreneur of the Year

The winner of this award will have recognised a need, and executed a successful solution to that need in an innovative and distinctive manner. She will be a strong, motivated and charismatic leader, most likely with a compelling personal story.


  • Lisa Scott, Gourmet Gadgetry 
  • Angela Spang, June Medical 
  • Kim Antoniou, Kafoodle
  • Hillary Graves, Little Dish
  • Coleen Wong, Techsixtyfour Ltd. 

First Women
 Young Achiever of the Year

The winner of this award will be under 35 years of age at the time of the awards ceremony. She will have achieved significant success in her short life with phenomenal potential for the future. She may have overcome the odds to get where she is today, and will be a shining role model to young women in business.


  • Elizabeth Dirth, 2050 Climate Group 
  • Rayner Davies, A&R Cleaning Services
  • Julianne Ponan, Creative Nature
  • Anne Macdonald, Harper Macleod LLP
  • Charlotte Pearce, InkPact
  • Melba Mwanje, SE1 United 
  • Joelle Dinnage, The Global Art Agency 

First Women
 Disruptor of the Year
Sponsored By:

The First Woman disruptor will be shaking up the industry or profession in which she operates. She may be at the cutting edge of scientific discovery, or transforming complacent markets with innovative ideas, but either way she will be doing so with great success and tenacity.


  • Maria Harris, Atom Bank
  • Emma Cleveland, Cleveland & Co Associates Limited 
  • Angelica Donati, Houzen
  • Victoria Peppiatt, Phrasee
  • Jane Gorick, Packaging Services Europe Ltd
  • Tracey Follows, The Future Laboratory
  • Lilia Stoyanov, Transformify 

First Women
 Mentor of the Year

The First Women Mentor of the year will be a male or a female who has gone the extra mile as a mentor of women in business, or young businesses over the past year. The winner will have shown willingness to volunteer their time to supporting one or more new or growing businesses and/or supporting one or more individuals in their chosen career. They will be inspiring and dedicated to diversity and inclusion.


  • Linda Kirk, Just for Women Centre 
  • Elizabeth Filippouli, Global Thinkers Forum 
  • Donna Marie Herdsman, HP
  • Zandra Lee Moore, Panintelligence
  • Aline Santos Farhat, Unilever 
  • Tiffany Kelly, RoundTable Global

First Women
 Business of the Year

The company to be awarded First Women Business of the Year will be one which has a clear commitment to investment in people, diversity and inclusion. The company will display unique and distinguishing characteristics which set it apart from the rest as a pioneering and dedicated force for change. Judging will be by public vote through partners, Real Business.

First Women
 Lifetime Achievement Award

This award honours the career and life achievements of one particularly exceptional, ground-breaking woman. The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award should represent two key characteristics; demonstrating what is possible for women and supporting the success of other women. She will have a personally inspiring story and will be an exceptional role model to others.

2016 Awards Gallery



Silent Auction Partner

  • "I was inspired by people earlier in my career to do what I have done, so I think awards like this help to inspire others and that’s the most important thing"

    Clare Johnston CEO and Founder, The Up Group