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From fitness to finance, the 2017 First Women are an inspiring lot

The leading lights behind a parenting app, gym group, high performance tech company and private equity firm were all recognised at the 2017?First Women Awards, which took place in London last night.

Those to walk away with the spoils at the 13th First Women Awards, held in association with the CBI and Real Business, included founder and managing director of, Abigail Wright the winner of First Women of Tourism & Leisure.

The inaugural Healthcare Award went to Amber Vodegel, founder of Health & Parenting for her Pregnancy+ app which has been downloaded more than 12m times worldwide. Meanwhile, the Young Achiever Award went to Charlotte Pearce, CEO of Inkpact Marketing. Pearce launched her first business at the age of just 13, selling make-up online. She has since launched a highly-successful direct marketing business.

The First Women Business of the Year 2017 was given to IT consultancy business”Capgemini. This award, which was won by Dell in 2016, was voted for by more than 2,000 Real Business readers through an online poll.

Women currently make up 30 per cent of Capgemini’s 190,000 global workforce. In the UK, the executive board has a 50-50 gender split. The business is working hard now to increase female representation across all levels of leadership.

The big award for the night, however, was the Lifetime Achievement Award. Previous recipients include Ruby McGregor-Smith, former CEO of Mitie, sports journalist and TV personality Clare Balding and multi-Paralympics Games gold medal-winning athlete Tanni Grey Thompson. For 2017, the winner was Fiona Caldicott, a psychiatrist by training, who has spent much of her career devoted to ensuring data protection within the NHS.

“The achievements and passion of all the finalists was truly remarkable,” said the judges. It is humbling to witness such unbridled drive and determination.

Below is the list of all the 2017 First Women winners in full

  • First Women of the Built Environment: Louise Hardy, Sirius Minerals
  • First Women of Engineering and Manufacturing: Caroline Hargrove, McLaren Applied Technologies
  • First Women of Retail and Consumer: Ali Powell, Fitness First Group
  • First Women of Media: Verity Brown, The Specialist Works
  • First Women of Finance: Helen Steers, Pantheon Ventures
  • First Women of Public Service: Deborah Ann Cadman, Suffolk County Council
  • First Women of Tourism and Leisure: Abigail Wright,
  • First Women of Healthcare: Amber Vodegel, Health & Parenting
  • First Women of Science and Technology: Elizabeth Sheldon, Evidence Talks
  • First Women of Business Services: Hayley Johnson, Epos Now
  • First Women Young Achiever of the Year: Charlotte Pearce, Inkpact Marketing
  • First Women Entrepreneur of the Year: Angela Spang, June Medical
  • First Women Disruptor of the Year: Lilia Stoyanov, Transformify
  • First Women Mentor of the Year: Donna Herdsman
  • First Women Business of the Year: Capgemini
  • First Women Lifetime Achievement Award: Dame Fiona Caldicott



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