Headline Sponsor of the 2024 Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards

About Us
The Women the Year Luncheon and Awards highlight and celebrate the achievements of exceptional women across the UK. Now in our 42nd year, we continue to promote positive female role models who provide inspiration across all areas of society and the business community. We encourage women to showcase their talents and celebrate their achievements to a nationwide audience and help to raise funds for our nominated charity.

Meet the Directors

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The Directors od the Women of the Year Luncheon Awards.

Our History

The Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards was established in Nottingham in 1982 as a ladies’ luncheon to raise monies for a charity called The Winged Fellowship Trust.

Over 40 years on, we continue to support our chosen charities each year. In recent times we have been proud to support charities including Revitalise, Marie Curie and The Princes Trust: Women Supporting Women.

Over the years, the event has grown from being a regional ladies’ luncheon to a national awards ceremony with a key focus on business. The event now plays host to around 600 guests and recognises the achievements of women in business and women that have strived to achieve the unthinkable in the most challenging of circumstances across the country.

Years Supporting Charities
Guests and Counting

Meet the Directors

Zalena Vandrewala

Zalena Vandrewala is a commercial litigator with Top 50 National Law Firm, Freeths LLP. Having been recognised for her work in the Legal 500, Zalena has conducted and resolved a wide range of commercial and general disputes nationwide over the last 17 years. Zalena is also a mentor for start-up and SME businesses throughout Cheshire and Staffordshire and is passionate about supporting young people in business to help achieve their goals.

Having worked with Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards for some time, in 2009 Zalena was appointed to the Board of Directors. In 2018, Zalena was then appointed to Chair of the Board and Director of the Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards. In her time with the organisation Zalena has helped to grow the audience from 350 to over 600 guests and has been instrumental in forging working relationships with many female representative organisations to further raise awareness of women in business.

Wendy Dean

A true people person, Wendy enjoyed a career delivering impactful culture change programmes across diverse business for over 20 years. As HR Director for FedEx in 2000, the development of “Delivering Peace of Mind” transformed the business in readiness for acquisition in 2006. This culminated in Wendy becoming Personnel Today – HR Director of the Year.

Following the same success, Wendy moved to Steelite International in 2008 becoming Group HR Director and delivering another culture programme in a traditional manufacturing environment that had gone through significant depression since the 1980’s. Wendy introduced “Stepping up to the Plate” in 2009 as a programme of change which created training opportunities for everyone, from employees being able to learn how to read and write, through to a new business foundation degree with Staffordshire University which was open to all employees regardless of level within the organisation. Her passion is to improve links between education and industry and to ensure that business requirements are communicated to education to ensure young people are fit for purpose.

She became instrumental in the acquisition of Royal Crown Derby by Steelite International in 2012 and led the business through a rebranding and new product line programme – which was out of her area of expertise. Culture change, of course, soon followed.

Ready to leave the corporate world, In 2015 set up her own business, Strategi Solutions Group. With culture change at the heart, Wendy saw an opportunity to align three core business streams: People, Marketing and Creative. All working simultaneously to help businesses thrive through change, using her wealth of experience to support every step of this journey.

The company is now an employer of choice in Staffordshire, committing to cultivating local talent, and has gone on to win numerous prestigious awards. Wendy was the winner of Inspiring Workplaces Inspiring Leader 2022, Strategi was a finalist at the Engage Awards 2022, winners of Best SME HR and Marketing 2021, National Business Awards, Personnel Today Awards and the Staffordshire Chamber Awards to name a few!

Emma Elston MBE

Emma Elston MBE, Co-Founder & CEO of a leading waste container repair and refurbishment firm. She is passionate about the creation of a circular economy, and has used this focus to drive success for her business which saves local authorities and waste companies money by refurbishing and reusing waste & recycling containers.

UK Container Maintenance is now the biggest container refurbishment & re-manufacturing company in Britain with Head Quarters in Cheshire.

Emma also devotes significant time mentoring people from all walks of life, either helping them make the step into the world of business or providing them with advice that makes a difference to their outlook.  As a keen supporter of start-up businesses, Emma will often provide considerable investment in those with a bright future.

In 2015 Emma was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List.  Emma’s business motto is “Lead with passion, positivity & integrity. But most of all just be you”.

1982 - 2022

Planning forward to the next
40 years of Women of The Year.

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