Former businesswomen of the year Karren Brady and Hilary Devey are leading the call for the UK’s women executives and entrepreneurs to nominate themselves or others for the Businesswoman of the Year Award in order to increase the visibility of successful women in industry and encourage others to reach their full potential.
An audience of Peers, Members of Parliament and high profile business figures attending the House of Lords reception to open nominations heard that with the UK facing a significant national skills shortage, there has never been a more important time to inspire women to succeed in industry – particularly in the science and engineering sectors.
Apprentice star Karren Brady said: “The Businesswoman of the Year award is an important opportunity to celebrate the many examples of women who are wonderful business role-models. It is critical that women in senior positions who are creating and leading businesses are recognised – not only for their own efforts and achievements but also to inspire future generations.
“The only way more women are going to be in the boardrooms of the future is if there are a wide range of role-models who lead by example. Awards like Businesswoman of the Year provide a perfect showcase and as a former winner myself, I can testify personally the positive experience it provides. I would urge women to put themselves forward and enter this year’s awards.”
Now in their 33rd year, the annual Businesswomen of the Year Awards highlight and celebrate women’s successes in business and society, promoting role models and inspiring women to reach their potential.
Hilary Devey said: “At such an important time, it is more important than ever to ensure that women’s voices are heard, and that they are encouraged to pursue careers in sectors from which women often feel excluded. Throughout my career I have met many talented female leaders, and it is of vital importance that the example they set is both recognised and used to encourage others.
“I am delighted to endorse the call for nominations, and will be urging all of the magnificent women I work with to put themselves forward.”
Former Director General of the CBI and Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Digby Jones, a long standing ambassador for the awards programme, said: “I cannot overstate the importance of realising the enormous contribution women have to make to all sectors of industry. Over the last century many inspirational women have worked hard and made many sacrifices to fight for equality, justice and a level playing field. Given the huge contribution that women make to society and the economy, it is vital that the momentum of these gains is not lost.”
Baroness Stedman-Scott, ambassador for employment charity Tomorrow’s People, also attended the launch event, along with former winner Julie White, managing director at D-Drill, and current title-holder Jenny Campbell, CEO of Milton Keynes-based YourCash which provides cash machine services to thousands of businesses across Europe.
The awards are sponsored by Barclays, British Airways, Bentley Motors, Deloitte, Freeths, Pertemps Network Group, SCC and the IXL Events Centre, and will this year raise funds for both Tomorrow’s People and national disability charity Revitalise.
The event is also supported by key industry organisations the Engineering Employers Federation; the Royal Aeronautical Society; the CBI; and – representing tomorrow’s potential – the WMG Academy for Young Engineers at Warwick University.
Awards chair Judy Groves said: “We want to encourage the next generation of role models to enter the award to follow in the footsteps of previous winners such as Karren Brady CBE and Hilary Devey CBE. It is an opportunity to celebrate women who encourage others to make a difference in their company or organisation.
“We welcome entries from all sectors but are also particularly interested in hearing from women who are involved in the engineering sector. I would urge you to either come forward and enter, or – if you know somebody too modest to take part – nominate them yourself.”
The 2015 Women of the Year Luncheon and Awards will be held on the 9th of October. Nominations are now open to enter and a form can be downloaded athttp://womenoftheyear.org.uk/ where tickets to the event are also available.