Woman Who winners set benchmark for Women In Business


The 2017 Woman Who… Awards reached new heights this year with the winners setting a benchmark for women in business from throughout Coventry, Warwickshire & Solihull.

Over 260 women in business joined together at a gala lunch and awards ceremony at the Coombe Abbey Hotel at which their fantastic achievements were acknowledged.

The event was attended by past winners, sponsors together with an inspirational line up of speakers who each shared their stories of success. These included Helen Walbey of Recycle Scooters, the UK’s only female motorcycle scrap dealer, Hannah Alexander, Area Director of Lloyds Banking Group and Louise Stewart, Head of Communications of the Federation of Small Businesses and formerly Political Editor of BBC South East who spoke about the many challenges she faced throughout her broadcasting career followed by a heart rendering account of her battle against breast cancer.

Hosting the event was BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire’s Trish Adudu and guests were entertained by Let it Shine contestant Hercules.  Over £1700 was also raised for Zoe’s Place and Breast Cancer Equipment.

The Women Who…Awards, which are run in partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses, recognise inspirational women from across Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull.  Now in its second year, it has doubled in size since launching last year.

Over 160 nominations were received across the 12 categories.  Two special awards were also given in recognition of exceptional achievement.

June Picken, Director of Sales at Coombe Abbey which sponsored and hosted the event commented: “The Management and team at Coombe Abbey Hotel were delighted to be chosen as host venue for the Woman Who awards lunch for the second year running.

“The event had more than doubled in size since the 2016 event and it was fantastic to welcome over 200 people through our doors. Many had not visited our venue previously therefore it was a great opportunity for us to be able to showcase Coombe Abbey Hotel and the facilities and service that we have to offer.

“The Marquee looked stunning and the atmosphere throughout the day was amazing as everyone recognised and celebrated the achievements of our local Women in Business and Rising Stars.

“We were thrilled to be a part of such a fantastic event and look forward to ‘doing it all again’ next year as Coombe Abbey Hotel has just been confirmed as host venue for 2018. “

Ian O’Donnell MBE, West Midlands Policy Adviser of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “Woman Who is all about the impressive work of women in business as well as inspiring the rising stars of the future, which has become a key focus of the FSB.

“We hope that by showcasing women in business in this way will set an example of what can be achieved through drive and determination so others too will follow in their footsteps.

“Huge congratulations to all our finalists and winners which is testament to the exceptional business talent which exists throughout the Coventry & Warwickshire region. “

Each of the winners received a trophy and certificate together with a one year’s free entry to both Woman Who and FSB events, one hour’s free business mentoring, a speaking opportunity and membership of the Woman Who Alumni Facebook Group.   All finalists were given a certificate in recognition of their involvement.

Jo Derviller, Founder and Director of Imaginate UK and winner of the Woman Who…Achieves in Business sponsored by Askews was described by judges as a breath of fresh air.  She commented:  I was absolutely blown away and I cannot believe that I also got the Secret Judges Recognition Award too!  I was completely shell-shocked.”

Julie McGarrigle of Alsters Kelly won the Woman Who… Networks Award sponsored by Sipsey Lingerie commented: “Winning the award was a huge honour for me and for Alsters Kelley and I really wasn’t expecting it! I was absolutely thrilled and I still can’t quite believe it.  The award is recognition of all the work both myself and my colleagues have undertaken over the last 4 years to develop the profile of the firm.  I’m very proud to be working amongst so many inspirational women across Coventry & Warwickshire.”

Helen Routledge of Totem Learning who won the Woman Who…Inspires Award last year was also thrilled at winning the Woman Who…Innovates Through Technology, sponsored by Jigsaw CCS.  Helen was described by judges as being a leader in her field and constantly innovating.  She commented: Like many people in the L&D industry, I’m driven by a desire to support people fulfil their potential and to help people rediscover their natural love of learning. Winning the Women Who…Innovates Through Technology Award is a great achievement, not only for myself but the entire team at Totem Learning as it demonstrates that serious games have a place in mainstream Learning and Development. The award has also come at a very difficult time for Totem; after the unexpected passing of our visionary MD in January the award has given the team a much-needed boost to keep on innovating and brining learning to life.

The Winners of the Woman Who Awards 2017

Woman Who…Judges Recognition Award – Jo Derviller, Imaginate Creative (Sponsored by SFB Group)

Woman Who… Excels in Business Growth – Tina Riley – Modern Homes (Sponsored by Opt HR)

Woman Who… Achieves in Business – Jo Derviller, Imaginate Creative.  Special commendation was also given to Shakila Holden of Quidem Radio Group (Touch FM) and Emma Louise Hewitt of Standley & Co Solicitors. (Sponsored by Askews Chartered Accountants)

Woman Who… Start Up – Amy Foster, Nomad HR & Recruitment (Sponsored by Athena Network)

Woman Who… Inspiring and Outstanding Leader – Gurdip Chatha, Esqué Beauty (Sponsored by Unique Therapies)

Woman Who…. Exports – Jenny Hooper of Independent Freight Solutions (Sponsored by Arthur J Gallagher)

Woman Who… Innovates Through Technology – Helen Routledge, Totem Learning (Sponsored by Jigsaw CCS)

Woman Who… Achieves for a Charity or Social Enterprise – Becki Coombe, The LEC Registered Charity (Sponsored by Alsters Kelley Solicitors)

Woman Who… Real Life Entrepreneur – Sonya Wallbank of Capellas Ltd (Sponsored by Coombe Abbey Hotel)

Woman Who.. Change Champion in Business – Laura Morris & Stacey Calder of Networking Mummies (UK) Ltd (Sponsored by Linda Scannell Photography)

Woman Who… Networks – Julie McGarrigle, Alsters Kelly Solicitors with Special Commendation given to Laura Moore of Ramada Hotel and Suites Coventry (Sponsored by Sipsey Lingerie)

Woman Who… Special Achievement – Sally Rance, Fordbridge Community School with Special Commendation given to Cheryl Rawbone of the Friendship Project (Sponsored by Woman Who…)

Woman Who… Rising Star Secondary Education – Modupe Otunaiya – Tile Hill Wood School (Sponsored by Little Soap Company)

Woman Who.. Rising Star Further Education or Training – Laura Brindley – Coventry University with Special Commendation given to Yulia Manyutina of University of Warwick (Sponsored by Twycross Zoo)

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