Rising Star Champions

WeAreTheCity are proud to announce the winners of their Top 100 Rising Star awards. The Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management and to create female 100 role models across 20 different industries and professions. The awards also included a new category in 2016 which celebrates the efforts of senior individuals who champion gender equality both within and outside of their organisations.

The awards were entered by 850 individuals were judged by a panel of 21 independent judges. Over 28,000 public votes were received for the 200 shortlisted nominees from across 110 countries. The awards were kindly sponsored by Barclays and supported by AON, Bloomberg, Cancer Research UK (Women of Influence), The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Executive and Personal Assistants Association, EY, Keir, Lloyd’s, ISS, Morgan Stanley, Newton Investment Management, Oliver Wyman in partnership with UN Women National Committee UK, PA Consulting, PedalSure, PwC, Reed Smith, Societe Generale, Twenty Recruitment, Virgin Media Business and Worldpay.

Vanessa Vallely, MD of WeAreTheCity said “It has been a total honour to run this years awards and highlight the achievements of so many amazing women, the calibre of entries was truly phenomenal.  WeAreTheCity is very much about supporting the female pipeline and introducing these awards was a perfect opportunity to showcase the amazing talent of women across the UK. We are exceptionally proud of our winners and look forward to following their future success.  We wouldn’t have been able to launch these awards without the support of so many organisations who took no convincing to support these women and recognise their achievements. Both myself, my team, our sponsors, judges and supporters are very much looking forward to celebrating with all of our winners at Barclays on 30 June”.

Once again, we would like to congratulate all our winners and extend a sincere thanks to everyone who supported Rising Stars during 2016.

Carolyn Pepper

Reed Smith

Carolyn is a partner at Reed Smith specializing in litigation, entertainment and media and intellectual property law. Carolyn sits on the firm’s Executive Committee and is an advocate for diversity and equality in all its guises. She chairs the firm’s award winning Disability Task Force in London and has mentored two young women with disabilities seeking to enter the legal profession. She is a regular speaker at the firm’s Insight Days which enable young people to learn more about working in the legal profession and has offered work experience and work shadowing to many students over the years. Brummell Magazine named Carolyn as one of its Inspirational Women 2015: City Champions of Diversity last year and she was recently invited to speak at the Law Society’s City Firms Diversity Forum.

Funke Abimbola

Roche UK

A senior leader for Roche, the world’s largest biotech, Funke leads the legal & corporate compliance functions supporting Roche’s pharmaceutical operations (UK, Ireland, Malta and Gibraltar).

She is a multi award winning solicitor and diversity campaigner and has received national and European recognition for her work, speaking regularly at conferences (UK and abroad), to school students (as part of Speakers4Schools) and to University students (as a Professional Ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors).  She is a Champion for Women in Law London network (supporting the pipeline of women lawyers) and the First 100 Years Project (a digital library celebrating 100 years of women lawyers). In 2015, she founded Women Leaders in Life Sciences Law, a network supporting the international pipeline of female legal talent within life sciences.

A mentor, sponsor and proud working mother, Funke advises working mothers on achieving life balance. She is passionate about the law, diversity, education and healthcare and a regular media commentator, keen fundraiser for various charities and has twice served as school governor and as a board director.

She was recently admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, recognizing the outstanding contributions she has made to society as a whole.

Heather Melville

RBS

Heather Melville was appointed as the Director for Strategic Partnerships and Head of Business Inclusion Initiatives in January 2016, following a successful career in International sales, a role which leverages vast global client relationships together with her sector specialism especially within the Retail and Textile industry.

A graduate of the IBM business school, together with a wealth of international experience secured over a 30 plus year career in the world of finance, with the last 9 years primarily focused on the SME client base positioned her in a strong place to meet the evolving global challenges of her clients.

For a number of years, she has sat on the judging panel for the prestigious “UK Fashion & Textile Awards”, “The National Diversity Awards”, “We Are The City Rising Stars” as well as the “Brummel’s Top 30”. Through her partnership with the Latvian Chamber of Commerce in 2015, she is now a Patron and has been invited as a guest judge for this year’s International competition for young fashion designers within Europe.

The Founder and Global Chair of the RBS Focused Women’s Network, which is managed by volunteers, to date have Circ. 12,000 members in 33 countries. Not only does she sit on a number of internal and external diversity boards, in 2010 she was awarded the prestigious Women in Banking & Finance Award for Achievement under the category of Champion for Women, and in 2012 was also awarded the World of Difference 100 Award (TIAW) recognising her as one of the top 100 women worldwide who have made a difference to the economic empowerment of women.

Outside of the financial industry, having completed an executive coaching programme, Heather is a Career Coach and Mentor advising young people who are striving to be tomorrows Entrepreneurs. She represents RBS as a Non-Executive Director for Enterprise Enfield a business consultancy funded by the Government to help small businesses. As an established speaker Heather is regularly invited to speak at a number of global business forums, and last but not least is also a Justice of the Peace.

Heather is a mother of 2 sons, a grandmother of 4 girls, who enjoys jazz and driving fast cars!

Robert Thesiger

The Fiser Group

Robert is a graduate of Exeter University and Cranfield School of Management with over 24 years’ experience of Human Capital Management within Financial Services. Robert’s career has been framed within recruitment where he was the Chief Executive of a publically listed global financial services recruitment business which he was instrumental in building to over 500 staff across 15 international locations. In 2010 he co-founded The FISER Group, of which the senior leadership team is almost entirely female and four are part-time return to work mothers. He has been recognised by the Recruiter Awards for Excellence, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and Best Companies for championing diversity and work in Financial Services.

Robert has been instrumental in a number of gender diversity initiatives in human capital, including the creation of the Women in Financial Institutions Index (WiFI Index), which tracks the recruitment and engagement of women in financial services, and a Financial Services Diversity Forum which provides an opportunity for senior decision makers in the industry to discuss strategies and approaches to diversity in the sector.

Robert was also the principal driver behind the establishment of the City Talent Initiative (CTI), a programme dedicated to supporting high-achieving young people from low-income backgrounds (of which over 60% are female) gain entry to leading City firms. Today the CTI has gained cross party support from the Hon David Lammy MP, Mark Field MP and Baroness Kramer and sponsoring firms include Ernst & Young, JP Morgan, Strutt & Parker, Bank of America, Resource Solutions and RBS. In the last year over 30 students from low-income backgrounds who are unable to get practical improvements in social mobility them from their schools or families have gained experience through the CTI.

Tamara Box

Reed Smith

Tamara Box is an internationally recognised expert in legal and financial structuring and in strategic financial advice.  She is currently Global Chair of the Financial Industry Group at international law firm Reed Smith, where she also serves on the firm’s Executive Committee.

A founding member of the 30% Club Steering Committee, Tamara is knowledgeable and passionate about the efforts to establish gender parity in corporations and professional organisations.  In order to achieve gender balance, she focuses strongly on the pipeline of talent that takes rising stars up the leadership chain.‎

A few years ago, she created Women in Structured Finance to actively encourage and mentor women in the male-dominated sector.  She is a member of the Board of Governors of the London School of Economics, where she is also a frequent speaker.  For the past two years, she has been the chair of “Women of Influence”, an initiative that has raised almost £1 million in support of the senior women fellows of Cancer Research UK.‎

Tamara was a commissioner on the All Party Parliamentary Group’s first Commission on the Future of Management & Leadership, which launched at the House of Commons in 2014. She has lectured at the University of South Bank, debated at the Oxford Union, and written articles for many publications on the topic of gender balance and the pipeline of talent women offer‎.  Tamara is also a member of The Committee of 200 (C200), an invitation-only organisation of women who mentor future female leaders through scholarship programmes at the world’s foremost universities.  Last year she was instrumental in selecting three rising stars at the LSE for this honour.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close