Needless to say, we’re excited – over the past few years this annual celebration has recognised ground-breaking entrepreneurs including Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers, Thea Green, founder of Nails Inc, multi-million selling author Annabel Karmel; and pioneering corporate leaders such as the most senior woman within oil giant BP, Angela Strank.
Last year also saw the prestigious First Women Lifetime Achievement prize be bestowed upon Clare Balding – the host for the evening – joined by Kate Lester from Diamond Logistics, who scooped First Women in Entrepreneurship, and Amanda White from Transport for Greater Manchester, who went home with First Women Young Achiever.
We intend to celebrate the often unsung pioneering women in business who are genuine “glass ceiling breakers”. But in order to unearth women whose achievement and individual actions have helped and are helping to remove barriers, we need to hear from you: are you a trailblazing woman? Have you changed the way your industry works? Or do you know a businesswoman who has? If so, get nominating.
Nominations will be open until 15 April 2016 and will span 13 categories – plus a lifetime achievement award. Successful candidates will then be invited to meet an illustrious judges panel populated by business leaders early May before the award ceremony takes place on 22 June at the Lancaster London Hotel.
The First Women Awards are a fantastic opportunity for exceptional women. In addition to taking part in a star-studded gala ceremony, winning an award can make a big difference to your business, as Anne Walker, the founder of International Dance Supplies explained: “Winning the First Women Award was a big boost, not just for me, but for my whole team.
“It’s great being acknowledged for the many day to day achievements which, added together, make a very special company. Being at the Awards ceremony with so many successful women was a real inspiration and certainly sent me home feeling I could conquer the world! It really was very special for me.”
Similarly, former winner Jan Flawn told Real Business that she’d always been a tough negotiator, mainly because most of the players in her field were men, and that, as a woman, she had to fight hard to hold her ground.
“I found that after winning the award, I was even more firmly on the front foot,” she said. This, according to Flawn, inspired her to replicate the First Women programme on a local scale – based in her hometown of Milton Keynes.