An 18-year-old train operator, a pioneer in cancer treatment and one of the UK's youngest NHS leaders. Just three of our First Women of Public Service
At just 18, Shauni O'Neill is the youngest female station supervisor on London Underground (LU), overseeing staff and running stations in the Rickmansworth Group. Clearly a rising star, Shauni appeared before a parliamentary committee in March this year, to give evidence about how she's achieved career success. In 2011, she was named “National apprentice of the year” and, during her short career, has already secured placements with five LU directors, including the managing director.
In 2010, Ruth Shaw was appointed as the first female chief executive of the Football Licensing Authority (FLA), the government-funded body that's played such a critical role in transforming safety at football grounds. In 2011, she relaunched the FLA as the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), with new powers to advise sports other than football and act internationally. In a very macho world, she has quickly become a major influencein football and recently led the establishment of a partnership project with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) ahead of Euro 2012. In her previous role as a senior civil servant, she was integral in launching the Department of Culture, Media and Sport's Women's Network.
Laura Lee's vision is to create the UK's leading network of centres supporting people living with, through and beyond cancer, with a Maggie's Centre in all the UK's cancer treatment centres. Trained as an oncology nurse, she was inspired while treating Maggie Keswick Jencks with chemotherapy. Both women shared a vision of a cancer support centre in an uplifting environment – not clinical and technical, but spaces of calmness that offer time to reflect on a diagnosis. Completing the first Maggie's Centre in 1995, after Maggie's death, Laura has led the development of 13 completed and interim centres; today, 83 per cent of Scotland has access to a Maggie's Centre.
Dr Robina Shah is an inspirational public-sector leader who has broken new ground and shattered stereotypes from an early age. She was the UK's youngest and first Asian chairman of an NHS trust and the youngest deputy lieutenant for Greater Manchester in 2006. A psychologist and academic researcher by profession, Robina is the author of numerous publications on health, social care and learning disabilities, including the high-profile work, The Silent Minority: Children with disabilities in South Asian Families. Among many roles to inspire ethnic minority women, she is chairman of the National Black and Minority Ethnic Leadership Forum.
Daniela Barone Soares has set herself the substantial goal to bridge the gap between the business and charitable arenas. In 2006, she became chief executive of the Impetus Trust, the first venture philanthropy organisation in the UK, using venture capital principles to invest skills and money in ambitious charities and social enterprises. She has, literally, pioneered one of the most effective forms of charity support, helping more than 300,000 economically disadvantaged people. Daniela's career is littered with firsts: the youngest ever appointee to her role at Citibank Brazil; the only woman and non-American recruited to BancBoston's private equity team; and, more recently, she became the only international member of Harvard Business School's Social Enterprise Forum.
Winners of the First Women Awards 2012 will be announced at an amazing awards ceremony on June 28, 2012 at the Grand Connaught Rooms, hosted by BBC presenter Clare Balding. You can book tickets and find more information at the awards website.
First Women Awards supporters include: BAE Systems, Benenden Healthcare Society, Centrica, COINS, Harvey Nash, ICAEW, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Land Rover and the Financial Mail.