The prestigious Women of the Year (WOTY) Luncheon and Awards, now in its 41st year, is delighted to announce the winners of this year’s highly-esteemed Business Woman of the Year, Freeths Woman with Edge and Women of Achievement accolades.
The anticipated occasion, which took place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on Friday 13 October, was a significant celebration of achievement, promoting positive female role models who provide inspiration across all areas of society and the business community.
Shortlisted from over 300 applicants across the country, the award for the Business Woman of the Year was presented to Clair Heaviside, Co-Founder and Creative Director of multi-award-winning digital agency Serotonin, who impressed the judges with her positivity, sincerity and calm confidence throughout the process.
As Co-Founder and Creative Director, in addition to running the business, Clair is responsible for brand and creative strategy for all clients, and overseeing all creative output of the agency. She has driven the growth of the business, which now has a twenty-strong team based at the firm’s Manchester office working with clients globally across a whole range of sectors and industries.
Following the Business Woman of the Year Award was the Woman with Edge Award, sponsored by leading law firm Freeths LLP and celebrating a courageous female business leader who has challenged the status quo to make significant changes in their industry.
Securing the accolade in recognition of her dedication and work to create more access and openness in business, and to encourage more diversity in an industry that is currently male-dominated is Eleanor Deeley. Beginning her construction industry career as a child helping at the old Deeley offices with her grandfather, Eleanor is now the Joint Managing Director at a Midlands-based construction and development firm, the Deeley Group.
The honourable Women of Achievement award was dedicated to the Women of the Windrush, in recognition of their pioneering accomplishments. Over the last 75 years, these women have contributed to UK society in many ways. In addition to their contribution to the workforce, the Windrush generation and their descendants have made a significant social and cultural impact on British society. They brought with them Caribbean culture, music, art, sports, traditions, and customs, enriching the cultural landscape of the United Kingdom. Several women took to the stage to accept the award to a standing ovation of applause. The women included Catherine Ross, who runs the UK’s only Caribbean heritage museum and GM Linton, celebrated author of My Name is Sunshine Simpson, teaching children about the Windrush generation.
Hosted by broadcaster and entrepreneur Arti Halai, the glittering event was attended by British television actress and WOTY president Sally Lindsay who addressed the audience, and keynote speaker Maxine Laceby, Co-Founder of Absolute Collagen who shared an insight into her hugely successful, entrepreneurial story. A host of digital influencers each leading the way in their own sector were also welcomed, including Miss England and aerospace engineer Jessica Gagen.
Attendees enjoyed a bespoke, three-course menu of culinary delights created by an exceptionally talented trio of chefs Anna Stanford, Delia-Maria Asser and Chariya Khattiyot.
Speaking at the event Sally Lindsay said: “One of the reasons I first agreed to become a part of the awards is because of what WOTY do; they put the ladder down for others and that’s so important to me. From the day I became involved, I have seen women supporting women in this room, passing cards around, making networks and making friends and it’s such an inspiration. Many of our winners and alumni are those introduced to the awards by winners before them, and that continues today with some of our finalists having been encouraged by our directors and ambassadors who felt like it was time for them to shine.”
WOTY was supported by a range of sponsors including headline sponsor Aldermore, as well as key sponsors Aston University, Strategi Solutions, Freeths LLP and Pertemps Network. Funds raised from the event will go towards Women of the Year’s chosen charity – The Prince’s Trust: Women Supporting Women.
Danielle Soto, Managing Director of Savings & Commercial Shared Services and Executive sponsor of the Female Network at Aldermore said: “At Aldermore, we firmly believe in celebrating and empowering exceptional women who are making a significant impact in life and business. Sponsoring the Women of the Year Awards is our way of recognising and supporting their extraordinary achievements, while encouraging and inspiring future generations of women to pursue their dreams. We’re thrilled to have been headline sponsors of the awards and we even launched our own at Aldermore, to help shine a spotlight on the remarkable accomplishments of women and showcase their invaluable contributions to society. Together, we can create a more inclusive and diverse world where every woman’s talent is acknowledged, appreciated, and celebrated. Congratulations to all the winners.”