INSPIRATIONAL achievers from Coventry and Warwickshire have been named among the finalists in the fifth Ladies First Network Business and Inspirational Women Awards.
Entrants have been selected from nearly 300 nominations by a panel of judges from across the UK.
The finalists will now be invited to an independent judging day at Metropolis in Coventry next month before the glittering awards ceremony hosted by radio and TV presenter Sandra Godley at Coombe Abbey Hotel, on March 23rd.
Creatives are among those being celebrated in new categories this year, including Outstanding Woman In Sport, Outstanding Woman In Creative Arts and The Sandra Godley Music Award.
Tracey McAtamney, who forms the Ladies First leadership team with Sandra, said: “This is our 5th Awards and it always amazes me the incredible amount of talented, inspirational women out there. At Ladies First we take pride in celebrating all women, whether working from home or CEO of a major company.
“We also honour those who have been through terrible situations and respond by setting up charities or community interest companies to help others. We thank our sponsors, Janine Edwards Wealth Management Ltd, Alsters Kelley Solicitors, Pertemps and many others who continue to support us.”
Sandra Godley said: “Thank you for every single nomination. There is so much to celebrate about ordinary people doing extraordinary things in our communities, both here locally and abroad.”
Four of the six finalists for the Businesswoman of the Year Award are from Warwickshire – Emily Biddle, of Emily Jayne Hair & Beauty, Southam; Karen Wood, of Kidvelo Bikes, Leamington, Jo Williams of Joco Interiors, Nuneaton and Nikki Reid of Nikki Homes, in Welford-on-Avon, Stratford.
Nikki shares the spotlight with her sister Rachel Reid Knight, of Rachel Reid Interiors, Stratford, who is a finalist in the Woman of Achievement category.
Karen Wood is also a finalist in the New Business category, along with Lisa Cressy from Mind Warrior Coaching in Kenilworth; Wendy Martin, who runs Counter Culture Store in Leamington, Andrea Lennard of Pure Pegasus in Rugby and Zoe Whittaker’s Warrior’s World fitness centre in Rowley Drive.
Also up for two awards is Amanda Chalmers of Chalmers News PR, in Warwick, in the Excellence In Marketing and Career From Home categories.
Inspirational Woman finalists include Anne Marie Goodwin, of specialist independent running store Coventry Runner; Jo Powell, of MV Visual Media and Arty Splatz, in Warwick and Libby Wilson who established The Old Rectory Nursery in Rugby eight years ago after overcoming a series of setbacks including dyslexia and ADHD.
Libby, who is also up for an Achieves In Education award, said: “I changed schools seven times and didn’t pass any exams. After my GCSE results I was asked to leave school as it was felt I wouldn’t be able to cope with A level learning. Goodness, 16 years old and nothing on the horizon! Thankfully Montessori training and learning was the perfect fit for me.
“The most important thing for me is winning this award would be an opportunity for others struggling to be inspired and show that with hard work and dedication you really can achieve anything you set your mind too and also for others to understand the difficulties of dyslexia.”
Representing the county in the Woman of Courage category are: Kate Wilson, from Kenilworth, who has now resigned from her role as a paramedic to run Medics to Medics which packs and sends vital medical supplies to Ukraine – and Naomi Issit.
Naomi is also among those flying the flag for Warwickshire in the Achieves For Charity category, along with and Ceri Amphlett, both from Rugby and Amy Jackson of The Lily Mae Foundation, from Coventry.
Naomi launched the Our Jay Foundation in memory of her 18-year-old son Jamie who died suddenly following a cardiac arrest on New Year’s Day last year. Since then she has raised more than £50k and installed 37 life-saving defibrillators.
The charity also offers CPR training events and guidance and has, just this month, launched an information app available for download.
Naomi said: “It was the most painful shock that any of us could ever feel. He was my right arm. The only way I can even try and get through the days is to work for him and keep on making sure that his face is seen and his name is said and that things change, because he deserved so much better. I know he would be proud of that.”
Reacting to the awards news, she added: “I was overwhelmed to learn I had been named as a finalist. It’s not really me that’s courageous though, it’s Jamie. It’s because of his bravery and what he was like as a boy and I’m really just his voice now.”
Ceri Amphlett established Remember Rufus with her husband after the stillbirth of their son in 2020.
The charity helps parents of children who are born sleeping or who die soon after birth by providing cuddle cots to NHS trusts, nursing teams and palliative care departments across England and Wales. It is also currently raising funds to improve bereavement care in the maternity department of UHCW through the provision of a specific bereavement suite in the maternity department.
The rest of the Warwickshire finalists are:
Achieves in Business (Employee)
Leanne Horne – Air Aesthetics, Henley-in-Arden; Sarah Darby – Alsters Kelly Solicitors, Rugby; Kate Gould – Sheldon Bosley Knight, Leamington.
Bianca Perry – Bia’s Kitchen, Leamington; Paula Heaton – Belle Peau Beauty and training school, Rugby; Emily Biddle – Emily Jayne’s Hair & Beauty, Southam.
Sarah Day – One Day Film Productions, Henley-in-Arden; Emma O’Brien, of Funky Monsters and Sarah Jones, of Fairy Ellen in Coventry.
Andrea Lennard – Pure Pegasus, Rugby; Lisa Cressy – Mind Warrior Coaching, Kenilworth; Wendy Martin – Counter Culture Store, Leamington; Karen Wood – Kidvelo Bikes, Leamington.
Service Provider of the Year
Charlotte Pitts – HR Consultancy, from Stratford; Lauren Coombes – Pitch & Party, Kenilworth.
Service Provider – Retail
Sharon Daniels – NV Her, Warwick; Jayne Scandrett & Jane Medd – Justina & Dice of Shipston, Wellesbourne & Shipston; Nina Norman – Henley Boutique, Henley-in-Arden; Eva and Craig Percy – Antigo Boutique, Kenilworth; Helen Hibbert – Pertemps, Coventry and Michelle Gavin – Band Hatton Button solicitors, Coventry.
Excellence In Marketing
Hayley Alexander – Shakespeare Media, Welford; Katie Wilber – Cotswold Connected, Stratford; Sasha Westbrooke – Freelance Designer, Leamington; Tejal Prajapati – TP Creative, Coventry; and Tejal Prajapati – TP Creative, Coventry.
Excellence In Networking
Lauren Kelly – Mosaic Pub & Dining, in Warwick & Birmingham; Sue Ford – ActionCOACH, Warwick.
Career from Home
Toni Ballard – Celebrant & Artist, Hampton-in-Arden; Allison Phillips – Kindred CSR, Kenilworth; Kath Cleary – K Clear HR, Leamington.
Achieves in Education
Jo Powell – Arty Splats, Warwick; Katie Harcourt – Spellbound Academy, across Warwickshire; Catherine Cossey – The Piano School.
Woman of Achievement
Lisa Devine – Therapy & Fitness Centre, Leamington; Sarah Addis – The Scottish Fine Soaps Company, Long Marston.
Karla Byrne – Domestic Abuse Support Hub, Rugby; Raquel Garcia Garrido – Raxanie Ltd, Leamington.
Achieves for the Community
Julie McGarrigle & Alsters Kelley Solicitors, Leamington; Hannah Secher – Rugby Artistic Swimming Club; Kavita Bachada – PELS, Bedworth and Joanne Brooks for Coventry Hour.
Achieves For Charity
Amy Jackson of The Lily Mae Foundation, Coventry.
Kate Hunter – Bear Cleaning, Kenilworth and Melissa Austin, of Sutton Estates, Coventry.
Health and Wellbeing
Nadine Hummert – Life Equilibrium, Kenilworth; Lauren Gregory – Run Like A Girl, Leamington/Warwick; Seema Barba – Bowen Therapy, Southam; Lisa Devine – Therapy & Fitness Centre, Leamington; Christine Frey – Glowing Older, Coventry; Lily Samuels – Lily Samuels Nutrition, Coventry and Natalie Silverwood – One Fit Mama, Coventry.
Outstanding Woman In The Creative Arts – Melissa Smith, Penny Ann Interiors, Alex Johnson and Larna Andrews, all from Coventry.
Woman In Music
Abz Winter, Ruth Kelly, Caitlin McCarthy and Lorna Dea, all from Coventry.
Women In Sport
Chelsie Giles, Melissa Mullins and Jay Bradford, from Coventry.
Man of the Year
Billy & Ryan – Glitsy Bits/Community work, Coleshill; Adam Evans and John Coote for their work with Coventry Comfort Carers outreach project; pharmacist Bolande Onilari, Coventry; Sanjay Jagatia, CEO of Ekta-Unity voluntary organisation, Coventry; and Michael Mogan who, along with his twin daughters, led a campaign to save Coventry United Ladies Football Club from liquidation.
The event will also raise money for two West Midlands charities, The Memory Box Foundation and Coventry Foodbank.
The new Memory Box Foundation, being launched in March, provides free Memory Boxes for children and young adults coping with bereavement and supports pop-up Bereavement Cafes in Coventry, Kenilworth, Warwick, Balsall Common, Leamington Spa, Solihull and Stratford-upon-Avon.
For further information visit: https://survivingbereavement.com/
Coventry Foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust network of foodbanks. It was established in January 2011 and is one of the largest foodbanks in the UK, feeding thousands of individuals and families each year. https://coventry.foodbank.org.uk/
For the full list of finalists visit: https://ladiesfirstnetwork.co.uk/
To enquire about sponsorship opportunities contact Tracey McAtamney at: email@example.com