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.
Now 37 years on, we continue to support our chosen charities each year, over the last few years 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.
Meet the Directors
Originally from Manchester, Zalena Vandrewala is a commercial litigator with Top 50 National Law Firm, Freeths LLP. For the last 15 years Zalena has conducted a wide range of commercial and general disputes nationwide. Zalena is also a mentor for start-up and SME businesses and is passionate about supporting young people in business to achieve their goals.
In 2009, having already worked with Women of the Year for some time, Zalena was appointed to the Board of Directors. In 2018, Zalena was appointed to Chair of the Board.
Zalena’s motto to live by is “Never give up on your dreams”.
Baroness Helen Newlove
Baroness Newlove is a community reform campaigner who was appointed as the Victims’ Commissioner of England and Wales by the UK government in 2012.
Baroness Newlove came to prominence after her husband, Garry Newlove was tragically murdered in 2007. After his death she set up a number of foundations that aimed to tackle the UK drinking culture as well as providing support to young people.
Helen strongly believes Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote- “A woman is like a tea bag, you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water”.
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”.
After leaving school at 16 to begin her working life counting cash in a bank branch, Jenny climbed through the ranks to become one of the few senior female bankers at the time in the UK.
Following thirty years in the banking trade, Jenny left the corporate world in 2006 in pursuit of a new challenge – to turn around a failing cash machine business owned by RBS.
Jenny launched a major operational restructure, turning it from a business that was making a huge loss in competitive markets to a thriving, profitable entity operating across Europe. She later went on to buyout the business from RBS and become the majority shareholder- later relaunching it as YourCash Europe Ltd. Jenny sold YourCash in October 2016 to a company listed on the New York stock exchange.
Previously awarded Business Woman of the Year, Jenny stays true to her favourite business motto- “live by corporate standards, but breathe like an entrepreneur”.
Women of the Year Board Director since 2006.