Inspirational women in Warwickshire celebrated at business awards

There were more than 270 nominations

All the winners in the fourth Ladies First Network Business Awards

Inspirational achievers from Warwickshire were among those celebrated at the fourth Ladies First Network Business Awards.

More than 300 people assembled at Coombe Abbey on Thursday (March 24) for the glittering awards ceremony, hosted by BBC radio presenter Sandra Godley.

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Winners were revealed across 30 categories ranging from Rising Stars, Young Achievers and Excellence Education through to Woman of Achievement,, Woman of Courage, Advocate for Women and Lifetime Achievement.

Dan Smyth is the first to receive the new Man of the Year Award from Natasha Blacklock

They were selected from more than 270 nominations across the UK by a panel of 18 judges at a special event in Coventry last month.

The awards marked a return to a live event following the pandemic, while also raising £4,000 for two West Midlands charities, St Basils and Suited For Success through an auction and raffle.

Special guests included The Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor John McNicholas and Lady Mayoress Dr June McNicholas; Nurse May Parsons – the nurse who gave the first ever covid injection in Coventry and former member of The Drifters, Roy Hemmings.

Key Note speakers were Louise Oliver, President of The British Association of Women Entrepreneurs and Nicola Smyth, owner of Nicola Smyth Hair Salons and last year’s Business Woman of the Year.

Judge and sponsor Amanda Chalmers of Chalmers News PR announces the award for Unique Business

Awards organiser and Ladies First Network Leader, Tracey McAtamney from Balsall Common, said after the event: “I am absolutely buzzing from such an uplifting evening, celebrating the achievements of women, men and talented young ladies from the age of 10, whilst also raising funds for our Charities Suited for Success and St Basils.

“I was delighted in particular to acknowledge the wonderful work of unsung community hero’s, Christine Eade and Sarah Laughton from The Pod Café and John Coote and AJ Evans from Coventry Comfort Carers Homeless Outreach Project – these people support those suffering from mental health issues and homelessness on a daily basis.”

Here are the winners

New Business of the Year

Host Sandra Godley with former member of The Drifters Roy Hemmings

William & Kelsey Seymour – St Maur, Alcester

William and Kelsey said: “We are very proud of the achievements we have had so far with our drink St Maur, but these awards from Ladies First are special for us because they are for the business behind the brand, and highlight the real people involved rather than just the product itself.”

Achieves for the Community

Christine Eade & Sarah Laughton – The POD Café, Coventry

Kelsey and William Seymour receive their award

Excellence in Education

Suneta Bagri – Teach well, Toolkit, Coventry

Man of the Year

Dan Smyth Humphriss – Nicola Smyth Salons, Leamington

Dan said: “It was a complete surprise to be nominated and then to pick up the award too. I feel very honoured to Win Man of Year.”

Digital Star

Sue Herbert and Jennie Ludford receive a Charity Award on behalf of Rachel Ollerenshaw, of Molly Ollys

Jacqueline Leake – V A Services, Nuneaton

Jacqueline said: “I am still on a high, and proudly telling anyone and everyone. It has given a real boost to my confidence that the judges recognised how my business has developed and my passion for learning and finding the best digital solutions for myself and my clients to grow their businesses.”

Achieves for Charity

Nicola Hepburn - The Centaurus Trust, Wootton Wawen

Nicola said: “I am so thrilled to have received this award for The Centaurus Trust and Equine Learning Centre CIC. It is so wonderful for our teams to be recognized for their hard work and dedication. This award also recognizes the achievements of our wonderful participants who inspire us all every day.”

Family Business Husband and Wife

Kelsey & William Seymour - St Maur, Alcester

William said: “For Kelsey and I St Maur can be traced back to our wedding day, so for us to be recognised and win the Husband and Wife Award means a lot to us personally. I'm really enjoying the business and I consider myself so fortunate to have married an entrepreneurial lady.”

Going Above & Beyond For Charity Award

Rachel Ollerenshaw, Warwick - of Molly Ollys

Rachel said: “I was completely shocked to receive this award, but I’m very thankful to Ladies First. We don’t try to go above and beyond - we just know that we can make a difference by making the dark days brighter.”

Excellence In Marketing Award

Vicki Bravington – Shakespeare Media, Stratford

Vicki said: “The last two years have been a challenge for everyone so to come out the other side stronger than ever and to be recognized among so many inspirational women makes this the proudest moment of my career so far. A massive thanks must also go to my amazing team. We look forward to continuing our journey and to many more successes in the future.”

Special Award

John Coote & his partner AJ Evans for their work with Coventry Comfort Carers Homeless Outreach Project.

Achieves in Business (Employee)

Corrine Seaborne – Alsters Kelley, Coventry

Achieves Through Networking

Sharon Louca – Women’s Business Networking Limited, Tamworth

Advocate for Women

The Verinos – All Female Band, Leicester

Service Provider of the Year

Geraldine Davies – Senior Care Support, Solihull

Excellence in Health & Wellbeing

Asha Bezron – Inspired to Change, Balsall Common

Woman of Achievement

Suzanne Reid Barreiro de Silva – Unique Venues, Birmingham

STEM Award

Helen Routledge – Totem Learning, Coventry

Inspirational Woman

Fay Goodman – Goodmedia, Birmingham

Business Entrepreneur

Amy Davies – Madame Caci Lounge & Store & Stove, Balsall Common

Young Business Entrepreneur (Under 30)

Lauren Coombes – Pitch and Party Limited, Balsall Common

Businesswoman of The Year (Joint winners)

Olivia Mikhail – Kew Little Pigs, Amersham

Michelle Kirkham – of International Automotive Components Group

Family Business of the Year

Jayne Chambers – Haigs Hotel & McKees Restaurant, Balsall Common

Unique Business

Olivia Mikhail – Kew Little Pigs, Amersham

Successful Career from Home

Lindsay Gillespie – Pawsome Pooches, Balsall Common

Lifetime Achievement Award:

Gillian and Ruth Bridges – J Roberts SPV, Sutton Coldfield

Sandra Godley, Coventry – for lifetime achievement in Music

Venue Award

Coombe Abbey, Coventry

Woman of Courage

Andrea Rainsford – SEO Angel, Tamworth

International Award

Emily Coldwell – Online Toolbox, New Zealand

Inspirational Young Achiever

Twins Stacey &Tracey William,13, from Coventry

Twins Alice & Hattie Mogan,10, from Coventry

Ananya Prajapati, 11, of Ananya Artistry

Ananya said: “This award will give me the confidence to continue my journey as a calligraphy artist and pursue my passion for my own business. This event has been a life changing experience for me.”

Young Achievers

Charlotte Durham – apprenticeship with Pertemps

Lily Wildman, from Kenilworth – Wild Beauty

Sathvika Krishnam, from Coventry – Studying Biology at Oxford University

(STEM/Environmental Award)

Ella Freeman – Studying Engineering at Loughborough University (STEM)

Julie McGarrigle & Erica Kemp of Alsters Kelley Solicitors present Family Business Award to Jessica Chambers
Host Sandra Godley with Inspirational Young Achievers, twins Tracey and Stacey William from Coventry
Lord Mayor of Coventry John McNicholas with Ladies First leader Tracey McAtamney
Key Note Speaker Nicola Smyth and members of the Nicola Smyth Salons team
Twins Stacey and Tracey William from Coventry perform