A ground-breaking researcher, Dr Naomi Thompson is the Winner of the 2017 WOF Professions Award

On the 15th November, our 2017 Women of the Future award winners were announced at a star-studded event at the London Hilton, Park Lane. Today, we would like to turn the spotlight onto the winner of the Professions category, Dr Naomi Thompson.

A ground-breaking researcher

Dr Naomi Thompson is a Lecturer and Sociologist of Youth and Religion at Goldsmiths, University of London. She impressed the judges with the way in which she has carved out a totally new field of research in a highly relevant area, with her research specialisms covering young people, youth work, religion and crime.

Naomi has vast experience in mixed methods research and has recently successfully headed-up two grant-led projects; one for the UK Home Office, supporting the development of educational resources about serious and organised crime for practitioners who work with young people, and another funded by the Big Lottery, providing a training and events programme for youth workers and volunteers.

A woman who has overcome the odds

Naomi grew up in a family of five with parents who were determined that all would have the opportunity of going to university. Her father died when she was 17 and she went on to Durham University a year later to study youth and community work. Naomi fell pregnant at the end of the second year:

‘Just over 15 years ago now, I sat in the nurse’s office of my university health centre having just found out I was pregnant, and the nurse said “what year of your course are you going into?” I said I was going into my third year and she replied “Not anymore!”

‘A couple of days after speaking to that nurse, I went to see one of my tutors… I only got as far as telling him I was leaving the city of Durham, that I needed to see if I could leave with any qualification and he helped me move my modules around… I completed my third year with a first class degree.’

Naomi’s hope is that she can model the same belief in people that her tutor showed her 15 years ago. She’s an ambitious role-model, believing that nothing should ‘end’ your journey but that everything is a ‘branch of your journey’.

Naomi now has three degrees to her name including an MA in Education and a PhD in faith-based youth work. She is also mother to a delightful 14 year old son.

What does this award mean to our winner?

When asked what winning this award means, Naomi replied, “I was humbled and delighted to win the Women of the Future Award in the Professions category after being shortlisted alongside some incredible women. The award is a recognition not just of my journey but of the people who have supported me along the way, including the colleagues and students who supported my nomination – proving no woman is an island! It has already led to new opportunities both at work, where it has been widely promoted, and outside, having been given the opportunity to write for the media. It will continue to provide leverage as I look to extend my research and networks over the next months. Thanks again to all at the Women of the Future and my category sponsor Mishcon de Reya.”

Get involved with the Women of the Future Programme

The mission of the Women of the Future Programme, whether it be the Awards, the Summit, the network events or the Ambassadors Programme, is to uncover the inspirational young leaders of tomorrow, to shine a light on their work, nurture their talent and support them as role models for the next generation. If you would like to get involved with any aspect of the programme, stay tuned here for all of our updates. And to watch the highlights from the 2017 Women of the Future Awards ceremony, head this way: http://bit.ly/2kDVd7M

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