WeAreTheCity’s 2023 Rising Star Awards shortlist announced

Rising Stars Shortlist Montage

WeAreTheCity is extremely proud to announce our shortlist for the 2023 Rising Star Awards.

For the ninth year, WeAreTheCity are proud to shine a spotlight on over 230 incredible individuals as part of their annual Rising Star Awards.

On behalf of our headline sponsors, Royal Bank of Canada, and our supporting sponsors, it gives us great pleasure to announce the 2023 Rising Star Award’s shortlist and congratulate all the shortlisted individuals.

The Rising Star awards which opened in January 2023 saw a record number of 1,450 nominations submitted from across the UK and Northern Ireland. All our judges stated that the calibre of entries for this year’s awards was nothing short of exceptional. The awards include over 20 different categories highlighting the need to see more women represented within these respective industries. The awards also include separate awards for Men for Gender balance, our Champion award, our Global Award, and our Company of the Year. All shortlisted individuals also have the opportunity to enter our additional public vote award where the winner will be chosen by the public*.

Rising Stars Shortlist Montage

This year’s shortlisted nominees include Runako Celina, an Investigative Journalist whose debut documentary, Racism for Sale, broke several records for BBC Africa Eye, becoming the most watched, saved and commented-on video of all time on the BBC Africa Instagram account. Abimbola Ajala of Lahafrica is also shortlisted for her work as Executive Director of Lend a hand for the development of Africa, a non-profit organization in Lagos Nigeria dedicated to supporting families in underserved communities with educational scholarships and a blend of supplementary initiatives which includes food drives and her padforagirl project. Shortlisted within our Charity category is Anita Marinelli, Founder of My Shining Star children’s Cancer charity who raised over £600,000 in nine months for a child diagnosed with Cancer and within our Entrepreneurs and Start-ups category, we are delighted to shine a spotlight on Samantha Hiew, who set up ADHD girls, a community to support neurodiverse women with ADHD.

These are just a few of the incredible women on our shortlist, you can view the entire shortlist here.

Dave Thomas

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is delighted to be powering the Rising Stars Awards for the fourth year and extended our partnership through to 2024. These awards are critical to celebrate and showcasing incredible talent across multiple industries in the UK, something that is particularly important during these challenging times. Diversity and inclusion are more than just a value at RBC, it’s our strength, and it’s one of the ways we bring our purpose of helping clients thrive and communities prosper to life.

Dave ThomasCEO, RBC Europe

The calibre of entries this year has been truly exceptional. Every one of these women should be extremely proud of their achievements. They are key contributors to their industries and outstanding role models. I wish them the very best of luck in the final round of judging.

Vanessa Vallely OBEFounder, WeAreTheCity
Vanessa Vallely OBE

The Rising Star awards also include a Company of the Year award, which recognises the achievements of a company that can demonstrate that they are actively supporting and developing their female talent pipeline through initiatives, training, development programmes and/or internal employee relations groups. We are proud to include the likes of ATOS IT Services, Synergised Solutions and Starling Bank within this year’s shortlist.

The awards also continue to celebrate Rising Star Champions, recognising the efforts of senior leaders who are actively supporting the female pipeline as well as celebrating male allyship via our Men for Gender Balance category. The list shines a spotlight on male ally, Mike Smith, Wells Superintendent at BP, who founded the Men as Allies Wells group in the North Sea in 2019. Mike has since gone on to set up numerous male ally chapters through London, Baku, and Houston.

Our Champions shortlist also pays tribute to Tori Ford, founder of Medical Herstory, an international award-winning youth-led non-profit on a mission to eliminate sexism, shame, and stigma from health experiences.

All our shortlisted individuals will be invited to celebrate their achievements on the rooftop of RBC on 17th May where they will the opportunity to meet their fellow shortlisters, our sponsors and judges. There will also be a panel whereby guests will hear how several of our previous Rising Star award winners have used their awards to help others and progress their careers.

Our final winners listing will be announced on 22 May and invited to celebrate their achievements at a prestigious awards ceremony on 12 July at the Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our judges Rosie Nixon, Carol Ann Whitehead, Rob O’Neil OBE, India Gary Martin, Helen Pankhurst CBE, Anna Delvecchio FCILT, FCIPS, Kate Stephens, Athena Lamnisos, Asif Sadiq MBE, Charlotte Sweeney OBE, Lieutenant, Colonel Sulle D Alhaji, Commander Sam Kinsey-Briggs MBE MA, Flavilla Fongang, Dave Savage, Joanne Monck, Paul Sesay, Joy Burnford, Birgit Neu, Victoria Wratten, Ben Stevenson, Professor Susan Vinnicombe CBE, Dr Kate Devlin, Catherine Hall, Jenny Blackford, Dr Byron Cole, HonDBA, Scarlett Russell, Professor Funke Abimbola MBE, Dr. Diahanne Rhiney BCAe, Dr, Ruth Oshikanlu MBE, Ambily Banerjee, PhD, Paul Sainthouse, Sue Percy, Sam Newman, Michaela Gibson, Melanie Seymour, Martina Satherlund, Ania Rontaler, Lee Chambers, Elliott Rae, Stacey Toder-Feldman, Vanessa Sanyauke, Tunji Akintokun MBE CCMI, Priscilla Baffour, Stephanie Armstrong, Girgit Sandu, Tamara Lowhan, Anne Golden, Bhavini Shah, Sally Penni and Deborah Garlick.

* Shortlisted individuals are invited to enter our public vote as a separate award. The public vote will open from 9-16 May 2023. The number of public votes cast has no impact on the winners of our categories, as that decision is made by our judges.  You can cast your votes here.

Please note there is no public vote for the Company of the Year category.

We would also like to thank our incredible sponsors who power our work to find and recognise these incredible individuals.

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