Top 100 winners celebrated at the 2016 Rising Star Awards

WeAreTheCity presented the winners of the Top 100 Rising Star awards with their trophies last night, in a ceremony at Barclays, London.

Over 200 winners, sponsors, judges and guests attended and enjoyed a champagne reception. The audience were welcomed by Vanessa Vallely, WeAreTheCity Managing Director; Sally Clark, Chief Internal Auditor, Barclays; and Caroline Dinenage, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women, and Family Justice Equalities.

After congratulating the Top 100 winners, Sally Clark spoke of the importance of networking and urged the audience to connect with each other. She said, “Networking was the last thing I wanted to do, but I realise now that was a failure on my part”

“So make sure you can find a new friend and I wish you all a fabulous evening.”

Following on, Caroline Dinenage, MP said, “It is lovely to be here this evening. It feels like yesterday I was speaking at last year’s awards.”

“I am really pleased to be speaking today because these awards are promoting role models, and that is exactly what we need to do.”

“We all need allies. Madeleine Albright once said, ‘there is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women’, and I’m a firm believer in that.”

“You are all winners, all stars and all role models to those who come after you.”

Broadcaster and journalist, Brenda Emmanus, hosted the awards ceremony, sponsored by Barclays. Congratulating the winners, Emmanus said, “You are all diamonds in the rough that are about to shake up the establishment.”

“Where you are right now is exactly where you are supposed to be. You are about to make serious strides.”

“I commend you for where you are so far, and I commend those behind you who have got you this far.”

“This is an army and we march forward together.”

During the interval, the audience were treated to surprise entertainment from the North London Military Wives Choir. The choir delivered a moving performance and received a standing ovation from the audience.

Military Wives Choirs

Closing the awards, Emmanus left the crowd with inspiring words, saying, “When God created women, he was simply showing off.”

“We don’t get bitter, we get better.”

The Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management level and to create 100 female role models across 20 different industries and professions as well as celebrating the hard work and support of our Rising Star Champions.

The winners were narrowed down from over 800 nominations and were judged by a panel of 21 independent judges. Over 28,000 public votes were received for the 200 shortlisted nominees from across 118 countries.

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

Rising Stars in Banking – Sponsored by Societe Generale
  • Ebi Obode, RBS
  • Khalia D. Newell, Bank of America Merill Lynch
  • Lauren Garey, J.P. Morgan
  • Luma Zitani, Barclays
  • Rachel Webster, Barclays

Veronique Sabbah, Managing Director – Head of UK Asset Managers & UK Insurance Companies, Societe Generale, said: “Be the voice of tomorrow and do not just wait for it to happen.”

Rising Stars in Consultancy – Sponsored by EY
  • Amber Rosier, Accenture
  • Cynthia Yoon, KPMG
  • Hannah Selby, Weston Williamson + Partners
  • Helen Campbell, PwC
  • Jennifer Curtis, ZS Associates

Rob Toguri, Partner at EY, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be presenting these awards this evening. At EY, one of our top three business goals is to promote diversity.”

Rising Stars in Sport – Sponsored by PedalSure
  • Alexandra Merisoiu, The Merisoiu Technique Institute
  • Francesca Brown, Goals4Girls
  • Hayley Bennett, Kick It Out
  • Manisha Tailor, Swaggarlicious
  • Sophie Radcliffe, Challenge Sophie

Philip Lochner, Founder and CEO at PedalSure, said: “We at PedalSure are pleased to sponsor the award. Each of these ladies are using sports to make a difference, in this society, communities and across the UK.”

Rising Stars in Education & Academia – Sponsored by The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Amy Farrelly, Rugby School
  • Brenda Neburagho, St Mathew Academy
  • Carrie Dunn, University of East London
  • Faye Kilgour, Graydin
  • Hasmita Chavda, Ignite!

Eugenia Patriniche, Director Corporate Development EMEA, dedicated her speech to Vanessa Vallely, saying: “She is a great example of someone who knows how to bring people together.”

Rising Stars in Insurance – Sponsored by Lloyd’s
  • Adobea Atsrefi, AIG
  • Amy Sinnott, AIG
  • Charlotte Lach, AIG
  • Christy Mitchell, Zurich
  • Sarah Millman, LV=

Paul Awcock, Head of Talent Sourcing at Lloyd’s said: “It was great to be at awards outside of the finance silo.”

Rising Stars in Law (The Lynne Freeman Award) – Sponsored by Reed Smith
  • Claudine Adeyemi, Mischon De Reya
  • Danielle Ayres, Gorvin Solicitors
  • Kim Opszala, Dentons
  • Leah Glover, DWF
  • Rhiannon Paine, Clifford Chance

Nola Beirne, Vice Chair of the Financial Industry Group for EME at Reed Smith, spoke of the how to award became known as the Lynne Freeman award. She said: “I am delighted to say it’s been renamed the Lynne Freeman award, after Lynne who ran our women’s initiative. Sadly she passed away unexpectedly last year, leaving a hole in all our hearts, but I’m sure she would be extremely proud to be honoured in this way.”

Rising Stars in Property – Sponsored by Kier
  • Alex Chitty, Land Securities
  • Alice Boswell, British Land
  • Jessica Neale, CBRE
  • Najwa Jawahar, WSP | Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • Rebecca Fieldhouse, Iceni Projects

Leigh Thomas, Managing Director, Kier said: “I am delighted to be presenting these awards. As a father of two girls, it is great to see so many inspirational women here today.”

Rising Stars in Investment Management – Sponsored by Newton Investment Management
  • Alison Ure, Hermes Investment Management
  • Emma Bullock, Saunderson House
  • Jamie Tolentino-Deludet, Investec Asset Management
  • Katie Trowsdale, Standard Life
  • Sarah Hudson, BlackRock

Stephanie Gore, Charity Business Development Manager, said: “For us [these awards] combine two things that we are passionate about at Newton: investment management and women. As companies we need to be supporting women in their careers.”

Rising Stars in Public Sector – Sponsored by Socitm
  • Emma Redman, Southend Council
  • Hannah Cotton, Transport for London
  • Lorraine Eyers, Greater London Authority
  • Susan Russell, Festivals Edinburgh
  • Temitope Roberta Lawal, Ministry of Justice

Nadira Hussain, President of Socitm, said: “We don’t have many women in our company and we want to change that. We are continuing with the crusade and hoping we can attract more women into both the society and the sector.”

Rising Stars in Sales – Sponsored by WorldPay
  • Elizabeth Drummond, Bloomberg
  • Emma Gillies, Sedgefield Racecourse
  • Mary Kay, Real Staffing (SThree)
  • Shauna Bull, Pure Storage
  • Valentine Rabin, Mastercard

Steve Newton, SVP Relationship Management at WorldPay, said: “The reason our business is supporting these awards and will continue to support WeAreTheCity is to demonstrate our commitment to gender equality.”

Rising Stars in Technology – Sponsored by Morgan Stanley
  • Babs Ofori-Acquah, MVF
  • Ellie Ulrich, Cisco
  • Lucie Svandelikova, BT
  • Sarah Chapman, 3M
  • Sarah Khan, SARA K Digital

Sonam Belbase, Vice President at Morgan Stanley spoke of the emotion in the room saying: “I was expecting this evening to be inspiring and exciting but I was not expecting it to be moving. But it has been so moving.”

Rising Stars in Media & Journalism – Sponsored by Bloomberg
  • Jenna Jones, Maggie Semple Ltd.
  • Nejra Cehic, Bloomberg
  • Roz Sanderson, UBM
  • Ruth David, Bloomberg News
  • Samantha Brooker, Secret Escapes

Heather Harris, Executive Editor at Bloomberg, made light of the recent news saying, “I promise no cheap Brexit jokes, but I don’t think it’s cheap to say, a couple of guys have wrecked the House, now a woman’s going to have to clean it up.”

Rising Stars in Charity – Sponsored by Cancer Research UK
  • Frah Saeed, YMCA North London
  • Mary Dobson, LYCP
  • Michelle Thorpe, UK Homes 4 Heroes
  • Samantha Jones, Smart Works
  • Sophie Richardson, Free the Children UK

Frances Milner, Executive Director of Philanthropy and Partnerships at Cancer Research UK, said: “It is so inspiring to be amongst so many fabulous women.”

Rising Stars EA/PA – Sponsored by Executive & Personal Assistants Association (EPAA)
  • Amanda Hargreaves, PZ Cussons
  • Hannah-Kate Smith, RSA
  • Jennifer Corcoran, Crédit Agricole CIB
  • Karen Glenn, Colt Technology Services
  • Simone White, BlackRock

Victoria Darragh, Founder of EPAA, said: "It's been quite emotional at the back as frankly it's a blooming miracle for EA & PAs to be included in something like this."

Rising Stars in Diversity - Sponsored by AON
  • Elisha St. Hilaire, AON UK
  • Julie Thomas, Zurich Insurance
  • Lauren Peel, Aviva
  • Rupal Kantaria, Oliver Wyman
  • Stephanie Kouame, Bloomberg
Rising Stars Entrepreneurs - Sponsored by Virgin Media Business
  • Amma Mensah, Beyond the Classroom
  • Charlotte Pearce, Inkpact
  • Clare Anyiam-Osigwe, Premae Skincare & JoClarePR
  • Georgina Bullen, Team Insight
  • Phoebe Gormley, Gormley & Gamble

Jeannie Ivanov, Propositions Development at Virgin Media Business, said: "I have nothing but respect and admiration for these women so early on in their careers. I would wish them well but they definitely don't need it."

Rising Stars in HR & Recruitment - Sponsored by Twenty Recruitment Group
  • Ellen Hartley, Barclays
  • Julia Vanoli, House of Commons
  • Kayleigh Bottomley, Progressive Recruitment (SThree)
  • Tarryn Severn, Barclays
  • Winnie Oudemans, Barclays

Stephanie Lloyd, Company Manager at Twenty Recruitment, said: "Thank you for allowing us to be one of the founding sponsors for these awards. On a personal level, it is so inspiring and it gives me hope that we are knocking down those barriers."

Rising Stars in Facilities Management - Sponsored by ISS
  • Cheryl-Anne Sanderson, G4S FM UK and Ireland
  • Elaine Gibson, NSPCC
  • Lianne Lawson, Interserve Construction
  • Mary O'Connor, London Bridge Quarter Estate Management
  • Sophie Kimber, ISS UK

James Lester, UK Corporate Director at ISS, said: "Our industry is very diverse by nature and I am proud to be presenting this award."

Rising Stars in Defence - Sponsored by PA Consulting Group
  • Hayley Barnden, Ministry of Defence
  • Natalie Grainger, 846 Naval Air Squadron
  • Sarah Cotman, Royal Air Force
  • Sarah Stevens, Royal Fleet Auxiliary
  • Sherry McBain, Royal Air Force

Nick Newman, Head of Global Defence and Security Sector at PA Consulting Group, said: "The winners of the defence category clearly represent leaders in the truest sense of the word."

Rising Star in Oil & Gas - Sponsored by PwC
  • Anne Bailey, Baringa Partners
  • Anne Claudel, BP
  • Eleanor Collins, BP
  • Kerrine Bryan, CB&I
  • Nicola Hartshorn, British Gas

Alison Baker, Partner at PwC, said: "This evening is a way of celebrating those on the way to the top, but there is a lot more to be done. I am a big fan of Walt Disney when he said, 'if you can dream it, you can do it'. All our dreams can come true if we pursue them."

Rising Star Champions - Sponsored by Oliver Wyman & United Nations Women
  • Carolyn Pepper, Reed Smith
  • Funke Abimbola, Roche UK
  • Heather Melville, RBS
  • Robert Thesiger, The FISER Group
  • Tamara Box, Reed Smith

Francois Austin, Partner at Oliver Wyman, said of the Champions that "rarely is there as much energy, enthusiasm and happiness."




Rising Stars - Shortlist 2016- main image

Bloomberg to host WeAreTheCity's Rising Star shortlist celebration

The celebration of this year's Rising Star shortlist will be held on 17 May 2016 at Bloomberg’s European headquarters and attended by all shortlisted individuals, the judging panel, corporate sponsors and supporters.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank Bloomberg for sponsoring and hosting what will no doubt be an inspiring evening.

Pamela Hutchinson, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Bloomberg said:

'At Bloomberg, we recognise the value diversity brings to our organisation and we're delighted to host the celebration event for this year's nominees. These women, along with previous nominees and winners, are critical in motivating women to join the workplace and an inspiration to those already here.

'It's an incredibly impressive list of individuals and we congratulate WeAreTheCity in giving visibility to these amazing women.'

As well as an abundance of network opportunities, all shortlisted individuals will have the opportunity to have professional headshots taken by the Headshot Guy. Guests will also hear from:

Jane GarveyJane Garvey, BBC Presenter, Women’s Hour who will be hosting the evening


sophie walker featuredSophie Walker, London Mayor Candidate, Head of the Women’s Equality Party



A panel discussion with 2015 Rising Star winners, Dara Kirkton (PwC, Consultancy), Debbie Grimshaw (Brother UK, PA/EA), Alicia Miller (Reed Smith, Law), Annie Zaidi (Leicester City Football Club Community Trust, Sports) Rashada Harry (Vodafone, Technology), Vinita Ramtri (Barclays, Investment Management)

rising star panel lineup

Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director of WeAreTheCity said: “We are so pleased that Bloomberg have chosen to support our awards and shortlisted nominees by sponsoring and hosting our celebratory event in May. Gaining Bloomberg’s support alongside our other sponsors and supporters clearly demonstrates how determined these large companies are to support the female pipeline.

"Both my team, our judges, sponsors and supporters cannot wait to meet our shortlisted nominees at Bloomberg in May.”

After the shortlisted nominee event, judges will meet to confirm the top five winners for each category. Winners and their nominees will be informed by 6 June. The winners will then be invited to an exclusive celebratory winners event to be held at Barclays on 30 June.

WeAreTheCity would like to thank all of those who have nominated a Rising Star and wish our shortlisted nominees the best of luck in the final round of judging.

Bloomberg logo

Rising Stars 2016 announcement

Rising Star Awards nominations | Deadline extended to 25 March 2016

We have received an amazing array of nominations for this years awards, however a few of you have asked for a little more time to submit your nominations. With this in mind, we are extending the award deadline to Friday 25 March 2016. Please note there will be no further extension passed this revised deadline.


About the Rising Star awards

The WeAreTheCity Top 100 Rising Star awards are the first to focus on the UK’s female talent pipeline below management level and will celebrate 100 female individual contributors that represent the leaders & role models of tomorrow. We hope that by raising the profile of our short list and winners, we will also encourage organisations to consider how they strengthen the development of their female pipeline in the future.

  • Rising Stars in Banking, sponsored by Societe Generale
  • Rising Stars in Charity, sponsored by Cancer Research UK, Women of Influence
  • Rising Stars in Consulting, sponsored by EY
  • Rising Stars in Defence, sponsored by PA Consulting
  • Rising Stars in Diversity, sponsored by AON
  • Rising Stars in EA/PA, sponsored by EPAA (Executive and Personal Assistant Association)
  • Rising Stars in Education & Academia, sponsored by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Rising Stars in Entrepreneurs, sponsored by Virgin Media Business
  • Rising Stars in Facilities Management, sponsored by ISS
  • Rising Stars in HR & Recruitment, sponsored by Twenty Recruitment
  • Rising Stars in Insurance, sponsored by Lloyd's
  • Rising Stars in Investment Management, sponsored by Newton Investment Management
  • Rising Stars in Law, The Lynne Freeman Award, sponsored by Reed Smith
  • Rising Stars in Media & Journalism, sponsored by Bloomberg
  • Rising Stars in Oil & Gas, sponsored by PwC
  • Rising Stars in Property Services, sponsored by Kier
  • Rising Stars in Public Sector, sponsored by Socitm Advisory
  • Rising Stars in Sales, sponsored by WorldPay
  • Rising Stars in Sports, sponsored by PedalSure
  • Rising Stars in Technology, sponsored by Morgan Stanley
  • Rising Star Champions, sponsored by Oliver Wyman in partnership with UN Women National Committee UK

Find out more about our sponsors here

Criteria for entries
  • Open to all women regardless of age
  • Nominees must be below senior/middle management
  • Nominees must be working within the industry of the category they are nominated for
  • Nominees must be working in the UK or Northern Ireland
  • Individuals can nominate themselves
How we define a rising star
  • Someone who is a champion of women in their business or sector
  • Someone who strives to achieve success and results
  • Someone who gives back or inspires others
  • Someone who is recognised by others as having the potential to become a future leader in their industry
The Process
  • 01 February: Nominations open for all categories
  • 25 March: Nominations close for all categories
  • 25 March: Additional information deadline
  • ‪25 April: Top 10 shortlist from each category announced/public voting opens for all shortlisted nominees
  • 17 May: Shortlist celebration event at Bloomberg
  • ‪27 May: Public voting closes for all shortlisted nominees
  • ‪06 June: Top 5 Rising Stars for each category announced
  • ‪30 June: Top 100 Rising Stars drinks reception and awards for winners, guests and sponsors at Barclays

Recognising that careers for women may follow different timescales, the Top 100 Rising Star awards will not have any age restrictions included within the criteria. We feel we have a responsibility to ensure that female talent regardless of age and background receives the necessary support and skills to transition into key decision-making roles within our organisations.

WeAreTheCity will use its extensive reach across the UK & Ireland to find 100 high-achieving women across 20 key industries and professions.

A shortlist of 10 for each category will be judged by our judging panel and published during April. Public voting will then open for all nominees. All shortlisted nominees will also be invited to celebrate their achievements at our shortlist celebration on the 17th May, kindly sponsored and hosted by Bloomberg.

Judging of the final five winners for each category will take place with the category sponsors & independent judges during May. The 100 winners will be announced in June where they will be invited to celebrate their awards at a champagne reception.


rising stars featured



Rising Stars-Announcement

Trending on Rising Stars #WATCTop50

Social media iconsTwitter has been going wild over the last few weeks for our Rising Stars Awards 2015. 

With nominees, nominators and supporters all getting behind the awards to celebrate the pipeline of talented women using the Hashtag #WATCTop50. With voting coming into its second week and over 12,000 votes, the Top 50 places are still up for grabs, share your thoughts on Twitter and get behind your Rising Stars!

Why not join in on the conversation!


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Rising Stars Shortlist-Featured

Rising Stars-Announcement

WeAreTheCity's Top 50 Rising Star Awards: Shortlist Announcement

Rising Star Shortlist-2015

We are extremely proud to announce our shortlist for WeAreTheCity’s top 50 Rising Star Awards.

The caliber of entries across all categories was extremely high this year. We received over 300 nominations spanning 149 companies from across the UK.

To view the shortlist, please visit here

“Reviewing the hundreds of submissions to WeAreTheCity’s Top 50 Rising Star Awards has been such an encouraging experience - it is clear that the pipeline of talented women is incredibly strong which set the bar for the shortlist very high.  Congratulations to all of the shortlisted nominees, and best of luck in the next round of judging!” commented Birgit Neu, MD, Neuchange, one of the shortlist judging panel.

We would like to personally thank everyone who submitted a nomination and extend our sincere thanks to all our sponsors, supporters and shortlist judges who gave their valuable time to recognise the fantastic achievements of all of our amazing female nominees.

Shortlisted nominees will have the opportunity to celebrate their achievements at an event kindly sponsored by Bloomberg on the 13th August 2015.

The next stage in the process is a public vote to help narrow the shortlist down to the Top 50. Please visit here to cast your vote. The public vote count will be taken into consideration by our finalist judging panel alongside the original submissions for our shortlisted nominees.

We would like to wish our shortlisted nominees the very best of luck in the next round.

For more detail about the awards, please visit here

Rising Star-2015-logo

Rising Stars-Announcement

Bloomberg to host shortlist celebrations | WeAreTheCity's Top 50 Rising Star Awards

Bloomberg logo
WeAreTheCity is proud to announce that Bloomberg will be hosting a celebration event for 100 shortlisted nominees for its newly launched Top 50 Rising Stars awards.

The event will be held on the 13th August 2015 at Bloomberg’s European headquarters and will also be attended by the judges, corporate sponsors and supporters of the awards.

Invites will be sent to the shortlisted nominees on completion of the first round of judging on the 20th July 2015.

Erika Irish Brown, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Bloomberg said: “Here at Bloomberg we embrace the saying, ‘Diversity plus inclusion equals innovation’. Fostering a diverse and inclusive culture isn't just ‘the right thing to do’, it’s critical to attracting and retaining top talent – and the wide range of ideas and perspectives - that we need to grow as a company. We define diversity broadly, and work every day to create an environment in which all Bloomberg employees can bring their authentic selves to work and achieve success. We are delighted to join WeAreTheCity in celebrating top diverse talent here today."

Speakers at the event will include;

  • Mark McLane, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Barclays
  • Tamara Box, Partner, Chair of Financial Industry Group, Reed Smith
  • Catherine Spencer, Ex England Rugby Captain and founder of Inspiring Women

Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director of WeAreTheCity said: “We are so pleased that Bloomberg have chosen to support our awards and shortlisted nominees by sponsoring and hosting our celebratory event in August. Gaining Bloomberg’s support alongside our other sponsors and supporters demonstrates how determined these large companies are to support the female pipeline. Both my team, our judges, sponsors and supporters cannot wait to meet our shortlisted nominees at Bloomberg in August.”

After the shortlisted nominee event, judges will meet to confirm the top five winners for each category. Winners and their nominees will be informed by the 1st September. The winners will then be invited to an exclusive celebratory event to be held at a prestigious venue on the evening of the 9th September.

WeAreTheCity would like to thank all of those who have nominated a Rising Star and wishes those who have been nominated the best of luck!

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