Top 50 Rising Stars presented with trophies in House of Commons ceremony

WeAreTheCity presented the winners of the Top 50 Rising Stars awards with their trophies last night, in a ceremony at the House of Commons.

The rising star awards were introduced to showcase the pipeline of female talent in the UK and to create role models across 10 different industries and professions.  The awards focused on celebrating the achievements of women under a management level regardless of age.

In a ceremony sponsored by RBS and attended by over 150 professional women Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director of WeAreTheCity, said: “For us at WeAreTheCity, creating these awards has been an amazing journey. Both our judges and my team have had the privilege of getting to know over 340 women throughout the awards process.

Rising Stars and their guests

Rising Stars and their guests

“It is fair to say that all of the women who entered were truly amazing and deserve recognition for their achievements.”

Last month Bloomberg hosted an evening event for the 100 shortlisted finalists which Vallely touched upon during her speech: “As mentioned at our shortlist event at Bloomberg, the dream was to create some form of initiative that would recognise women and their achievements below a management level. Why? Because it is clear that the focus on women on boards, over the past five years, has achieved great success, however the question must now be ‘how do we build a robust pipeline of women who will one day assume senior positions within our organisations?’”

Vallely addressed the room as being an “amazing array of future role models. Paving the way for women who will follow in your footsteps. Shining your light brightly as beacons for your industries and professions. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate every single one of you.”

The event was hosted at Portcullis House by the Government Equalities Office. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, Minister Equalities and Family Justice, Caroline Dinenage was present and said: “When I was elected to Parliament only a year ago, 22% of women were in Parliament so it is nice to be in a room filled with so many women tonight. We now have the highest number of women in Parliament in history and I am proud to be a part of that to encourage more women and girls across the country. We have finally realised that we don’t need quotas and that change is starting to happen.

“It is fantastic to see an event and awards that focuses on success at every level. It is important to continue to identify female talent and to help them to fulfil their true talent in the workplace.”

She continued: “The pay gap is at the lowest in history and we have eliminated it for women under 40. Businesses are now realising that they can’t miss out on the talent offered from half of the population. We must also remember to support senior women and we are stamping out age discrimination. There are no limits to age, so I’m pleased these awards are for women at the start of their careers.

“This is a kickass room of top notch role models. We need to continue to encourage women to be the best they can be, to overcome challenges and to reach management or the level they desire to be at.”

Heather Melville, Director for Strategic Partnerships at RBS, said: “This has been one of the most challenging awards I have ever judged, because they were all so fabulous in terms of what they do in their roles, what they do for other people and how they help others in their communities. Going through them I thought ‘wow this is what tomorrow’s future looks like.’”

“A huge congratulations to those who made the top 100 and to the final 50. That’s another 50 to add to the pipeline, to continue on the journey towards a balanced boardroom.”

The winners of each category can be found in alphabetical order below.  Full details of each winner can be found here.

Images from the Award ceremony can be found here.

Rising Stars – EA/PA’s – Sponsored by Barclays
  • Debbie Grimshaw, Brother UK
  • Donna Evans, Barclays
  • Donna Olliver, KPMG
  • Sue Stoner, PWC
  • Vicki Ghiotte – Sodexo

Mark McLane, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Barclays, said: “A famous quote already mentioned this evening was ‘If you want something said ask a man; if you want some done ask a woman’. EAs and PAs need to understand the competition and help me in being successful and I’d like to congratulate all of our winners for being exactly that.”

Rising Stars – Media & Journalism – Sponsored by Guardian Women in Leadership
  • Emma Al-Munshi, Kruger Crowne
  • Gemma Guise, Journolink
  • Jessica Gioglio, Sprinklr
  • Tamara Leigh, IRIN
  • Victoria Smith, My Little Black Book

Harriet Minter, Editor of Guardian Women in Leadership, said: “I am excited to sponsor this awards as women in leadership is not just about senior women.

“The winners in this category are a true reflection of what journalism needs today and it makes me feel like my industry, that is sometimes considered to be on its last legs, actually has a very bright future.”

Rising Stars in Law, The Lynne Freeman award – Sponsored by Reed Smith
  • Alicia Millar, Reed Smith
  • Caroline Andrews, Giles Wilson
  • Gemma Lodge, DLA Piper
  • Rashida Abdulai, Hogan Lovells
  • Sascha Grimm, Cooley

Tamara Box, Chair Financial Industry Group at Reed Smith, said: “The women we are celebrating tonight are our future leaders.”

Discussing Lynne Freeman who the award is dedicated to Box said: “Lynne was a shining beacon on how to be an inspiring role model. She was a true hero, generous and a very devoted and true friend. May she inspire you as she has always us.”

Rising Stars in Insurance – Sponsored by Lloyd’s
  • Caroline Renouf, Rossborough Guernsey
  • Diane Kennedy, Lloyd’s
  • Dominique Liberto, Aon UK Ltd
  • Nathalie Majlis, Barclays
  • Sarah Gerken, Willis

Pauline Miller, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Lloyd’s, said: “Only 1% of school leavers are interested in insurance whereas 15% say finance and banking and 22% are interested in professional services such as law and banking.

“The pipeline is showing us that they have amazing skills, can start networks, and volunteer and are doing this really well. We recognise up and coming talent at Lloyds and this awards is absolutely amazing.”

Rising Stars in Banking – Sponsored by Societe Generale
  • Emma Couper, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Joy Adams, Deutsche Bank
  • Layla Mullins, HSBC
  • Lucy Brooker, RBS
  • Nicola Ruane, EY

Ben Higgins, Human Resources Director at Societe Generale, said: “The banking and finance has seen considerable change. To continue to drive change we need to continue to promote diversity overall.”

Rising Stars in Consulting – Sponsored by EY
  • Dara Kirton, PwC UK
  • Emily Thorpe, Happy Working Mum
  • Jo Sweetland, Green Park Interim & Executive Resourcing
  • Julia McColl, Capco
  • Sarah Smith, CGI

Tracey Bowen-Lowe, Partner at EY, said: “This is a passionate room of women. We have children, home lives and complexities but we can become partners in consultancies too.

“This is a formative group that will make a drive not just in gender but in our businesses too.”

Rising Stars in HR & Recruitment – Sponsored by Twenty Recruitment
  • Angela Cooke, PwC UK
  • Becky Rogers, C&C Search
  • Mel Aston, Merlin Entertainments PLC
  • Mitra Janes, DLA Piper
  • Rosa Goncalves, Kidbrooke Community Enterprises

Ak Kaur, Director at Twenty Recruitment, said: “Awards like these put diversity and gender at the tip of our tongues.”

Rising Stars in Technology – Sponsored by Morgan Stanley
  • Isla Kennedy, Accenture
  • Melanie Ogden, Transport for London
  • Memona Mohammad, BT
  • Polina Zabelina, BP
  • Rashada Harry, Vodafone

Gerard Hester, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, said: “We are extremely challenged in the technology world at the moment in finding talent. We’re looking to improve our diversity further at Morgan Stanley, because of this, so we run a number of programmes to support the pipeline.

“Congratulations to all and we look forward to following you in your careers.”

Rising Stars in Sport – Sponsored by Ladbrokes
  • Alice Powell, Alice Powell Racing
  • Amy Hughes, The 53 Foundation,
  • Annie Zaidi, Leicester City Football Club, Centre of Excellence
  • Emma Mason, Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP
  • Liv Cooke, Liv Cook Freestyle

Kate McLennan, CRM Director, Retail at Ladbrokes, said: “There has been a huge amount of change around the enthusiasm for women in sport now and we also have many women out in the field working for Ladbrokes.

“It has been so great working with WeAreTheCity to promote women in sport.”

Rising Stars in Investment Management – Sponsored by BNY Mellon & Newton
  • Ashley Smith, British Gas Venture Capital
  • Gemma Stanbridge, Westminster Wealth Management
  • Sarah Brakebill, BNY Mellon
  • Stephanie Niven, Tesco Pension Investment
  • Vinita Ramtri, Barclays

Joanna Symes, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, EMEA at BNY Mellon, referred to the winners as “relentless” “courageous” and “energetic”. “Congratulations to all of the winners,” she added.

The winners of each category can be found in alphabetical order below.  Full details of each winner can be found here.

Images from the Award ceremony can be found here.

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