First Northern Power Women awards crowned nine inspirational winners from across the region

Northern Power women awards full stage of winners
More than 400 people enjoyed the awards at Manchester Hilton Hotel on March 3, which saw 51 people shortlisted in nine categories that had been selected from 700 nominations.

NPW awards, hosted by BBC Newsround presenter Leah Boleto, were open to men and women and launched to recognise, showcase and celebrate the exceptional role models, who are supporting gender equality across the Northern Powerhouse region.

Jacquie Johnston-Lynch from Merseyside won the Person with Purpose award; she created the UK’s first dry bar in Liverpool – Brink – and more recently, the UK’s first military veteran addiction treatment centre.

The Outstanding Entrepreneur went to Rachel Ray, who started Bright and Beautiful, a professional housekeeping franchise business in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, in 2007 and now has more than 50 franchises nationwide, employs 460 people and has a £5 million turnover.

Grace Dyke, director of Greater Manchester PR and communications agency Yellow Jigsaw, walked away as One to Watch, for her successful women in business campaign #imnotjohn that reached half a million people.

The winner of the Mentor of the Year was Dermot Boyd, CEO of QVC UK, and the Transformational Leader was named as Wigan City Council chief executive, Donna Hall, who spearheaded the ‘Believe in Her campaign’ to raise aspirations of Wigan women in the workplace and in the face of high levels of domestic violence.

stage at the northern power women awards

BBC presenter Steph McGovern was crowned the winner in the Agent of Change category, for her work in helping young people gain employability skills and regularly runs career workshops and events in her native North East.

Best Small Business went to North Humberside-based Heald Ltd, who design, manufacture and install a range of hostile vehicle mitigation systems that aim to prevent targeted attacks on high profile sites across the world, the best Medium Business was given to Greater Manchester’s Brother UK Ltd – an information, communication and technology services provider and the best Large Business was train operators Northern Rail.

Simone Roche, founder of Northern Power Women, said the vast amount of nominees not only shows the expanse of talent in the North but also recognises professionals, who put gender balance in the workplace high on their agenda.

She added: “Congratulations to all the award winners and shortlisted nominees. I am really proud that the Northern Power Women campaign is driving gender diversity and shifting the culture of business by recognising, showcasing and celebrating role models.

“The next steps from the buzz around the awards will be to mobilise the amazing role models across the North to help make fair access and equality a reality for all. NPW Awards is not just a glitzy ceremony; this is a campaign for culture change that begins now.”

Also announced on the evening were the first Top 50 Power and Future List, illustrating the vast amount of established and emerging talent across the north – from the first female Astronaut Dr Helen Sharman OBE and Lady Nicola Mendelsohn CBE in the Power List to co-founder of digital social enterprise Liverpool Girl Geeks, Chelsea Slater, who made the top 50 Future List.

room atmosphere at the northern power women awards

Now the NPW campaign, which has already seen support from MPs Caroline Dinenage Parliamentary Under State for Secretary of State for Women, Equalities and Family Justice and James Wharton, Northern Powerhouse Minister, will offer a legacy of bringing business and education together by connecting students with nominees and winners of the awards via speed mentoring events.

To see the full power lists and for more information on Northern Power Women log on to or follow @NorthPowerWomen

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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