Just one week ago as day turned to night, delegates and guests were dressed for the occasion as they made a glamorous entrance to this year’s 2016 Women of the Future Awards at the Hilton Park Lane. After a busy day of debating it was clear everyone was ready for an evening of celebration, good food and excitement! The energy at the event was electric.
Women of the Future’s Annual Awards are not only a chance to come together and network they are a chance to celebrate women’s achievements across a broad range of industries. These awards mark out the stars of today and tomorrow, with winners going on to become ambassadors for the next generation of leaders.
Our fabulous host Tania Bryer from CNBC was terrific. Tania made everyone feel welcome and led the raffle in aid of Breast Cancer Care, a crucial charity that works to support women affected by this terrible illness. Despite improvements, too many lives are still being lost. We are delighted to say that the evening’s raffle raised £5,000 for Breast Cancer Care, which was generously matched by the Awards’ headline sponsors, Aviva.
Our Founder Pinky Lilani CBE DL, reminded guests of the importance of collaborating through kindness when she addressed guests and reminded everyone why Women of the Future works so hard to connect women. It was a great privilege to also be joined by our Patron, Cherie Blair CBE QC, who joined all the nominees on stage.
We had 14 categories in total, spanning everything from Science, to the Mentor Award, Media award, business award and Young Star Award – recognising future leaders under the age of 21. Our categories not only show how diverse the network is but demonstrates that there is no such thing as ‘jobs for the boys’ – women are excelling across all spheres of life. Every single nominee deserves our congratulations for the huge strides they have made, as well as ongoing support for what they are doing to inspire other women.
It was an honour to have leaders from a diverse range of industries there to announce the winners. It was fantastic to have Baroness Shami Chakrabarti CBE, former head of Liberty and Shadow Attorney General – as well as Mr Speaker John Bercow MP and Sarah Newton MP, minister at the Home Office. We were also joined by leaders from the business community, including Aviva’s CEO Mark Wilson, Melanie Richards – Vice Chair at KPMG and Sir John Peace, who is not only Chair of Standard Chartered and global fashion brand Burberry but was the head of this year’s judging panel.
One of the most inspirational parts of the awards ceremony was the fact that nominees cheered each other on, guests congratulated each other and everyone continued grabbing the opportunity to network. Even as the evening ended, the conversations didn’t stop.
Our winners came from an enormous range of backgrounds and professions. Nusrath Hassan, winner of the Young Star award and former student at Mulberry School for Girls, had the audience captivated as she spoke about meeting the First Lady Michelle Obama and the importance of not judging a book by its cover. Likewise, the winner of the award for Real Estate, Infrastructure and Construction Bryony Day impressed everyone when she said that she had nominated herself. She told guests that as women we don’t self-nominate enough and we don’t speak out for ourselves. She argued that we need to and as women we should feel proud of our achievements. At Women of the Future we couldn’t agree more.
We want to carry on connecting women and make sure we carry on celebrating women’s achievements. We had a fantastic evening and hope everyone takes some time to think about someone they would like to nominate next year OR even take a leaf out of Bryony’s book and nominate yourself!
Our 2016 Summit and Awards was an incredible success and we’ve already shared a very brief snippet into some of the day’s highlights. Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram to catch highlights of speakers, photos of special guests and to see what was discussed on the day. Thank you again to everyone who took part, to everyone who cheered on colleagues, to our sponsors, nominees, winners and judges. It was an unforgettable evening.