The judging panel for the 2017 Forward Ladies National Awards, sponsored by HSBC, has now been named. Professional men and women, successful entrepreneurs and respected business heads will assess the regional finalists and select national winners.
Fourteen independent judges have been selected, whose collective experience will assess the award nominations from companies, small businesses, young entrepreneurs and social enterprises from a variety of industries across the UK.
The judging process will entail an examination of written submissions followed by interviews with all regional finalists. This will take place at a full day panel session on Wednesday 8th November in Manchester.
There are twelve award categories in all, with the winners being announced at a prestigious ceremony at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, on Friday 1st December, 2017. (Book your place HERE)
Griselda Togobo, Forward Ladies managing director commented: “The judging process is rigorous and has been shaped over a number of years, and to see the list of judges supporting us and our National Awards is very exciting. The level of talent and experience on the panel is remarkable and I'm very grateful to our judges for volunteering their time.
“Given the scope and calibre of entrants this year, it's certainly going to be a challenge for everyone to agree the ultimate winners. We very much look forward to sharing the exceptional female talent we boast throughout the business community, at the Grand Final in a few weeks’ time.”
Previous winners have included some of the UK’s most respected names and rising stars, such as Amy Archer, Swift Leisure; Deborah Leary, Forensic Pathways, Clare Brophy, Handicare UK; Karen Boswell, Hitachi and Petra Wetzel, West Brewery.
The full list of judges for the Forward Ladies National Awards is:
JENNIFER CRAWLEY - UK HEAD OF PERFORMANCE FOR BUSINESS BANKING, HSBC
Jennifer has worked for HSBC Group for the last 29 years, within the Commercial and Retail sectors. Currently the Head of Performance for Business Banking in the UK, she is responsible for over 1500 people and a million customers. Jennifer is passionate about the support of small businesses and the role of women in business, and is a huge advocate for Young Enterprise, who empower young people to harness their personal and business skills.
DEBRA WHITE - HSBC CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE DIRECTOR, UK BUSINESS BANKING
Debra White has been a Retail and Commercial Banker with HSBC Group for the last thirty nine years, working within the North Region and now Nationally. In September 2016 Debra took on a new role as Customer Experience Director for Business Banking UK delivering and leading the Customer Experience Nationally.
SAHAR HASHEMI - FOUNDER OF COFFEE REPUBLIC
In 1995 Sahar Hashemi founded Coffee Republic, and built it into one of the UK’s most recognised high street brands with a turnover of £30m. Giving up a job as a lawyer in London, she staked everything on a dream - and made Coffee Republic one of the main players in the ‘coffee revolution’ that transformed a nation of tea drinkers into one obsessed with ‘triple half-caf lattes’.
RACHEL HANNAN - ANGEL INVESTOR
Rachel started with a successful career with one of the big 4 accountancy firms, working in tax, corporate finance and consulting. In late 2002 she co-founded a leadership and executive search consultancy that became a multi-million market leader in under 8 years, before her successful exit in 2010. Since then she has been instrumental in the success of a range of high growth businesses as an active Angel Investor, Chairman, Non-Executive Director and Board advisor.
AJAZ AHMED - FOUNDER OF FREESERVE
Ajaz Ahmed is best known for being the founder of Freeserve, which was once the UK’s largest ISP and is now known as Orange broadband. He came up with the idea when he bought a computer and nobody in the store could tell him how to get into the internet, the rest, as they say, is history. He persuaded Dixons to launch Freeserve and it was eventually sold by Dixons to France Telecom for ￡1.6bn.
JAN FLAWN CBE - FOUNDER OF PJ CARE
PJ Care Ltd is a leading and award-winning provider of specialist neurological care and neuro-rehabilitation for people with progressive or acquired neurological conditions. Leaving school with no qualifications Jan became a registered nurse, rising to be a senior manager in the Department of Health. In 2000 Jan started PJ Care after seeing young people with neurological conditions living inappropriately in care homes for the elderly.
MATT TURNER - FOUNDER OF TASTECARD
Matt is the founder and owner of the world’s three largest diners’ clubs, including Tastecard, with 12,000 participating restaurants and over 4m members. With turnover of £24m and a net profit of £12.5m, the Dining Club Group was recently valued at over £125m.
LINDA PLANT - FASHION & STYLE ENTREPRENEUR
Linda established herself through a series of challenging executive roles and was a pioneer in women's collective ascent to leadership roles in the professional world. She is a self-made woman, and success has given her the freedom to enjoy all that life has to offer while remaining true to her values. Most days Linda is in London, running her successful property and interior design business. You may also have seen Linda grilling Alan Sugar's candidates on The Apprentice.
LUCY WAYMENT - START UPS, EDITOR
DAWN PARKER – HSBC, OPERATIONS MANAGER
MANDY GARNER – HSBC, HEAD OF HR
BILL HENRY – PWC, PARTNER
HELEN SMITH – HSBC, SENIOR RINGFENCING MANAGER