The Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2014: The full shortlist revealed


Shehneela Ahmed, criminal lawyer advocate/ lawyer football agent, PlatinumFA

Shehneela has made soccer history by becoming Britain’s first female Muslim football agent, and has already signed some of Europe’s top football players. Shehneela, who also works as a duty solicitor criminal advocate in West London, received her license from the FA in September and aims to be a role model for youngsters and an ambassador for sports in the UK.

Samera Ashraf, kickboxer, ISKA

Battling against stereotypes and refusing to be pigeon holed, Samera is a true fighter. She has contributed to the martial arts community for almost ten years, winning regional, national and international titles. Having qualified with a MSc (diploma) in sociology, she works with Shakti Women’s Aid, and combines her kickboxing training with radio work and stints as a stand-up comedian.

Saddiqa Shan, sports physiotherapist, Sporting Pathways Ambassador

Saddiqa has loved the “beautiful game” since she was at primary school. She was the first girl on the primary-school team, captained her secondary school team and went to academies at West Brom, Birmingham and Aston Villa. In 2008, she made history by joining Premier League team Solihull Ladies Football Club as the first ever Asian girl. Now, aged 21, the Coventry University student represents the Coventry University 1st Ladies FC and works at Warwickshire County Cricket Club and Birmingham FC. Saddiqa is a regular pundit for the BBC Asian Network and promotes Sporting Pathways, a scheme set up in the Birmingham area to increase female participation in sport.

Priti Trivedi, senior manager, Scottish Professional Football League

Working as club secretary at Dundee United when they won the Scottish Cup in 1994, Priti was well known for her strong business acumen, tough negotiation skills and being able to “hold her own with the big boys”. She left in 2000 to join the Scottish Premiere League (SPL), where she now serves as the finance, administration and registration manager. Her vision is to see more women become successful at boardroom level.


Poorna Bell, lifestyle editor, The Huffington Post

Poorna is the lifestyle editor of The Huffington Post UK, one of the country’s most popular news and blog sites. She specialises in women’s journalism, health and travel, and is dedicated to nurturing young talent, especially fledgling Asian female journalists, giving them advice and anecdotal guidance.

Shazia Mirza, comedian and writer, BBC/ Channel 5/ Radio 4

A stand-up comedian and writer, Shazia has performed all over the world and written for The Guardian, The Newstatesman (for which she won Columnist of the Year) and The Financial Times. She has appeared on CBS 60 Minutes, NBC’s Last Comic Standing and the BBC’s Have I Got News For You. The Guardian says “her laconic one-liners represent something quite unique in modern comedy”.

Mandeep Rai, international expansion, Creative Visions Foundation

Mandeep went from private banking at JP Morgan to a pioneering ten years of creative activism, journalism and development. She used her degree in politics, economics and philosophy to report for the BBC World Service and has travelled to more than 100 countries, producing documentaries , features and programmes on development issues. She is a board adviser to Start Up Loans, helping young people start their own ventures, and is on the board of the Creative Visions Foundation.

Dhruti Shah, broadcast journalist, BBC

Dhruti has won international awards, broken several scoops and made the jump from a renowned local paper journalist to a respected global news producer at the BBC. She volunteers for journalism charity the John Schofield Trust and is a key member of the BBC’s Global Women in News committee. She is a woman who inspires others.

Sonali Shah, TV presenter

Part of the presentation team for the London 2012 Olympics for BBC One and BBC Three, Sonali is also known for her roles in the BBC coverage of many marquee live events over recent years – including the Royal Wedding, the Diamond Jubilee procession, Wimbledon and The Lord Mayor’s Show, all of which have helped make Sonali renowned for her warmth, charm and versatility. Additionally, she has presented for British Olympic Dreams, Watchdog and Escape to the Country for BBC1 and Crufts for Channel 4.

Mildred Yuan-Crotaz, associate, AP Watt at United Agents 

Mildred is second-generation Chinese American who has broken through cultural barriers of gender and ethnic origin to become a rising star in the publishing industry, working as associate to one of the top literary agents in the world. A former management consultant, she now represents writers across all genres. She has a secret double life as a competitive professional ballroom dancer and has represented the UK in global competitions.

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