The Forward Ladies’ National Awards are judged by an independent judging panel, comprising professional men and women, successful entrepreneurs and business people.
Meet The Judges
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.
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.
PROFESSOR NIGEL LOCKETT - LANCASTER UNIVERSITY
Nigel Lockett is Professor of Entrepreneurship at Lancaster University Management School. He is a senior academic, experienced manager, entrepreneur and community leader. In 2015, he was awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship for his outstanding contribution to enterprise in higher education and leadership of the successful submission for the Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship and the Times Higher Education Entrepreneurial University of the Year at the University of Leeds. Nigel also has over 25 years’ experience as a company director, with a track record in managing start-up, joint venture and social enterprises.
CATHERINE DORAN - NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CONSULTANT ADVISOR
Catherine worked in IT corporate life for over 40 years, in a number of different sectors (Telecoms, FS, Transport & Logistics). For 20 of those years she was a CIO, with a specialism in large scale delivery, driving business and IT transformation. She now serves as a NED for the Coventry Building Society and also works with clients in an advisory capacity regarding their strategic technology programmes.
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.
MARGARET CASELY-HAYFORD - NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & PORTFOLIO WOMAN
Margaret was for nine years Director of Legal Services and Company Secretary for the John Lewis Partnership. After 30 years as a lawyer, she decided to transition into a Boardroom portfolio career when she was appointed Chair of the charity Action Aid UK. She is also a Government appointed non-executive director of NHS England and is on the Metropolitan Police Panel that is overseeing investigations into police corruption.
DALE MURRAY - CO-FOUNDER OF OMEGA LOGIC
Dale Murray started at PwC as a teenager. She is the co-founder of Omega Logic, a British mobile pioneer launching pre-pay mobile top-ups for networks including Orange and Vodaphone. She eventually sold the company to Eposs and then First Data Corporation, staying on as CEO and building turnover to £450m in just six years. Dale now focuses on angel investing and advising start-up and early-stage businesses.
BILL HENRY - INDEPENDENT EXECUTIVE COACH
In 2015 Bill retired as a partner of PwC where he led the Risk Assurance practice for the North of England. Having also been a partner coach in the firm he now operates as a qualified independent executive coach. In addition he is a non-executive director and a trustee of a large multi academy trust whose intake are among the most deprived areas of the UK.
EMMA MCGUIGAN - SENIOR MD OF TECHNOLOGY UK & IRELAND FOR ACCENTURE
Emma McGuigan is the senior MD of technology UK & Ireland for Accenture and the business sponsor for the global technology talent strategy. Her expertise is in large scale systems architecture and delivery management, and during her career she has worked with clients on large financial services programmes.
ALI GAYWARD - UK COUNTRY MANAGER, EASYJET
Ali has over thirty years' experience in the travel industry working with British Airways, American Express Travel, Sabre, American Airlines, ASM, AG Consultancy and now easyJet.
Ali is easyJet’s UK Country Manager, responsible for enabling easyJet to create the winning environment in the UK and overseas. Responsibilities include being the ‘face and voice’ of easyJet, building and maintaining active external relationships with local government, regulatory bodies, media/press, airports and tourism bodies. Ali is responsible for the revenue, profit contribution and route performance of flights operating both from the UK and also in some overseas markets.
Ali has direct responsibility for 58 aircraft, contributing to easyJet’s £1.01 billion worth of revenues each year in the UK.
ABU BUNDU-KAMARA - GLOBAL DIVERSITY & INCLUSION LEADER, BOEING
Abu is an inspirational educator, diversity & inclusion strategist and thought a leader who is passionate about helping leaders and companies embrace change in a New World Marketplace. With a proven track record and over 20 years’ experience in business, leadership, talent and human resource management, he works with leaders to embed diversity & inclusion in their decision making through both system redesign and leadership development. In October 2017, Boeing appointed him to the new position of Global Diversity and Inclusion Leader for Europe, Russia and Israel (ERI).
In addition to his fantastic role at Boeing, Abu supports a number of organisations focused on inclusion and sit on the board for Catalyst Europe, NCTJ (The National Council for the Training of Journalists) and the Journalism Diversity Fund. He is also a founding member of the National Equality Standard (NES). And 30% Club working group, and chair a UK Network for Diversity Practitioners. Abu speaks regularly at conferences on the topic of inclusion. He has previously worked for Pearson, Financial Times, The Economist, Penguin Books and BAE Systems.
PETRA WETZEL - FOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR, WEST
Bavaria-born Petra is the founder and Managing Director of WEST- an award-winning brewery, beer hall and events space in the iconic Templeton building in Glasgow Green. In 2016 Petra set-up the WEST Women fund, providing financial and personal support to other budding female entrepreneurs in Scotland.