2018 Inspiring Women Awards, Manchester Midland Hotel
- Credit: Archant
This year not only marks the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, but the 26th year of the prestigious Inspiring Women Awards. Despite massive progress being made over the last century, women still need to stand together, declared founder and organiser of the annual awards, Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy, in her opening speech.
‘We must continue to strive for equality,’ said Jacqueline to the audience of nominees and guests at the Midland Hotel in Manchester. ‘There is still a great need for role models and today we celebrate what women have achieved, many in the face of adversity and against the odds,’ said Jacqueline, from Timplerley, near Altrincham.
The ceremony, sponsored by the Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise at UCLAN, was once again hosted by Sky Sports presenter Angela Powers, who started proceedings with the Business Award. The winner was Sara Prowse, CEO of Skelmersdale-based Hotter Shoes, the largest shoemaker in the UK. Her award was picked up by her colleagues, Lesley Ashcroft and Melanie Killilea, who spoke about Sara and her ethos of empowering women.
Next was the recipient of the Inspiring Young Woman award, 17-year-old Hallie-Codie Lusty from Newton Heath in Manchester. While being a carer for her mum, the teenager faced bullying and real difficulties at school, which resulted in her being excluded and attending a pupil referral unit. However, she turned her life around and saved up to pay for her GCSEs. She volunteers as a young leader at The Factory Youth Zone, a youth charity in North Manchester.
‘I was shocked when I saw my face in the programme as the winner, I really didn’t expect it,’ said Hallie, who has a passion for dance and teaches other young women at The Factory. ‘I’m now in college where I am studying L3 fashion and textiles. I am also working on a music project. I just want to carry on doing different things and hopefully inspire other young women.’
Continuing with celebrations of the suffragette movement, the 100 award is a new category for 2018, recognising a man or woman who is advancing the role of women in our society. Manchester’s Eve Holt was announced as the winner thanks to her passionate work in helping women connect with their communities.
Director and co-founder at Happen Together CIC alongside numerous other projects, Eve left her career as a solicitor to help women unite and see their own strength – be that at home, work or in the community.
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‘Our sisters around the world and everything they go through, we are all connected to them when we work together collectively, and bring together change,’ said Eve, upon collecting her award. ‘We have the power to do it. We need to clap and support other women; marching together they will hear us.’
Another winner recognised for empowering women was the recipient of the Entrepreneur Award, Jennifer Bailey. She set up her specialist shoe company, Calla Shoes, after spotting a gap in the market for beautiful yet comfortable shoes for those suffering with bunions.
‘I am shocked to have won. Other women up here have been awarded for their awe-inspiring change and contribution to women’s lives, and I think I have too but in a different way,’ said the businesswoman from Newton-le-Willows. ‘I just want to thank my parents, as my dad always brought me up to not think about gender as a block in what you want to do.’
The popular winner of the Community Award, Maura Jackson, spoke about her journey of starting at Bolton Young Person’s Housing Scheme as a support worker 18 years ago, working her way up to become CEO in 2012. The charity provides accommodation and support for young people aged 16-25, who face homelessness and/or sexual exploitation.
‘There needs to be much more help working with young people or they become life-long service users,’ said Maura, when speaking about the work the scheme does. ‘They do not come to us through choice. It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’
The final award of the afternoon was another new addition to 2018, the Constance Award. Named in memory of Jacqueline’s mother who died last year, the award is given to a winner who is a role model, someone who is not recognised as a high achiever but makes a difference, probably without realising it.
Carole Nash OBE, from Bowdon, was declared the inaugural recipient because of the success of her insurance business which she started from scratch and the financial support she gives to many charities. After being made redundant in 1985, she spotted a gap in the insurance market for motorbikes. Her company grew and she sold it in 2017 for around £70 million. She has since donated very generously to charities, among this setting up the Carole Nash House, where underprivileged children can enjoy a holiday.
‘All I can say is that I am absolutely thrilled and honoured, especially as it is named after Jacqueline’s mum, that means more to me as a mother and grandmother,’ said Carole.
‘When I was at school in Moss Side, there was a quote “We are not born for ourselves alone.” That has stayed with me throughout my life, and I thank you for all the support in the happiness and joy that I have tried to give people.’
Sponsored by BBC Radio Manchester
As CEO of Bolton Young Person’s Housing Scheme, which provides accommodation and support for young people who face homelessness and/or sexual exploitation, Maura has transformed the charity, growing the turnover from £465,000 in 2012 to £2.1 million this year. Staffing has increased from 13 to 52, meaning even more support can be given to young people in need. Maura has engaged businesses in the organisation, and if the support offered exceeds what is required, Maura will ensure other charities benefit. Maura won CIH Housing Heroes inspirational leader of the year 2017 and NW charity of the year 2017.
When Jennifer was getting married, she realised it was going to be difficult to find beautiful shoes as she suffered from bunions. After searching the internet, she discovered there were no brands that did both fashionable and comfortable shoes for bunions and was determined to address the problem. Four years later, while using redundancy money from her job, she set up Calla Shoes – a brand of shoes specifically designed for stylish women who suffer from bunions.
In 2016, following two years of research, development and working with podiatrists, specialist footwear fitters, designers and a small factory in Portugal, she launched Calla Shoes on an ecommerce website.
Inspiring Young Woman award
Sponsored by UCLAN Business School
This inspiring 17-year-old volunteers as a leader at The Factory Youth Zone, a youth charity in North Manchester. She also teaches dance and gets involved with the Factory’s girls group – as well as being the main lead for when new girls join the zone. This wouldn’t have seemed possible two years ago, when Hallie-Codie was struggling at school and being bullied, eventually finding herself being excluded. She then had to attend a pupil referral unit, where despite her GCSEs being limited as a result, Hallie-Codie chose to push herself. As a result, she is now a confident young woman and at college studying fashion and textiles.
Sponsored by Deloitte
Sara was appointed CEO of the £97 million turnover company, Hotter Shoes, in 2016. The largest shoe manufacturer in Britain, they produce a pair of hand finished shoes every 20 seconds. With an impressive pedigree in merchandising and buying, which started at River Island, Sara has been charged with stabilising and growing this 60 year old company. Her past roles include being brand director at Shop Direct and European managing director at Lands’ End, a classic American lifestyle brand.
A director and co-founder at Happen Together CIC, Eve is passionate about people, community and equality. She left her career as a solicitor to focus on working with people to help them make the change they want to see if their own lives, communities, workplaces and in society as a whole.
Her current projects include being co-founder of DivaManc, which focuses on women’s participation, influence and power in Greater Manchester and the devolution process. She is co-lead of SomeWomen, a centenary cities project led by the Pankhurst Centre, among many others.
The Constance award
Sponsored by Cheshire Life
Carole, from Bowdon, became a successful business woman almost by accident. Following redundancy she set about building her own small business – something which grew from her dining room table - and turned it into a national insurance broker business for motorbikes and cars. She sold her company in 2017 for around £70 million, and has since been giving money away and working with numerous charities to help make a difference to underprivileged children’s lives.