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First Women Awards 2012: Winners announced

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At the First Women Awards 2012 we honoured 11 pioneering women, leaders across all sectors who are laying the foundations for the next generation of female talent.

The First Women Awards, in association with Lloyds Banking Group, were hosted by Real Business magazine and the CBI, and held at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London.

Judges of the awards included The White Company founder Chrissie Rucker, Taylor Wimpey CEO Pete Redfern and Wilful Blindness author Margaret Heffernan.

The ceremony was attended by more than 500 guests including Home Secretary Theresa May, Harry Potter actress Fiona Shaw, the Coalition government’s youngest minister Chloe Smith (economic secretary to the Treasury) and CBI president Sir Roger Carr.

And the winners are:

Lifetime Achievement Award

Shere Hite, who has sold more than 48 million books worldwide in her lifelong crusade in setting the agenda for feminism and sexual research in the 20th and 21st century.

Science & Technology

Pam Maynard, general manager for technology business Avanade, which has seen a 100 per cent increase in profits under her leadership.

Public Service (joint winners)

Ruth Shaw, the first female CEO of the Football Licensing Authority; andLaura Lee, who set up the UK’s leading network of support centres (Maggie’s Centres) to help people living with cancer.


Jann Brown, CFO of Cairn Energy, the FTSE 250 exploration business who floated the business on the Bombay Stock Exchange raising $2bn.

Manufacturing & Engineering

Julie Kenny, the first female director of the British Security Industry Association and head of £15m security business Pyronix.

Business Services (joint winners)

Former professor of oncology and current lead partner at KPMG, Hilary Thomas; and Aimie Chapple, managing director of Accenture, leading a programme to educate her workforce about non-visible disabilities.


Julia Hobsbawm, founder of global networking business Editorial Intelligence (EI), who was described by the judges as a ‘catalyst for phenomenal thinking’.

Retail & Consumer

Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker, founders of, the innovative shopping website selling 49,000 unique goods from more than 2,500 independent British SMEs.

The Built Environment

Diane Johnson, the first woman to be appointed President of the Electrical Contractors’ Association and founder of Wired for Success, an apprenticeship scheme designed to help more women into the industry.

Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Theresa May said: “All the winners and nominees are leading the way and I hope these awards will inspire even more women to become pioneers. That’s good for our economy, good for our society, good for women and good for Britain.

“Women are at the heart of our economic future and making the most of their skills is essential. I want us to do everything we can to unleash women’s talents and give them the support they need to reach the top.”

First Women Awards supporters include: BAE Systems, Benenden Healthcare Society, Centrica, COINS, Harvey Nash, ICAEW, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Financial Mail, and Land Rover. The charity partner is Teach First.



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