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The 2019 Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards reveals this year’s winners

The prestigious Women of the Year Luncheon and Awards, is delighted to announce the winners of this year’s highly esteemed Business Woman of the Year, Freeths Woman with Edge and Woman of Achievement accolades.

The glittering occasion, which took place on Friday, 25th October 2019 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, was an extraordinary celebration of female achievement, with over 550 guests uniting to promote the #ThisIsMe theme across the social and business community with 2018 X-Factor contestants, LMA performing to launch the Awards!!.

Shortlisted from over 500 applicantsacross the country, the winner of the 2019 Business Women of the Year Award is Jennie Johnson MBE, founder and CEO of Kids Allowed from Salford, Manchester, who was voted for unanimously for her incredible ambition and proven track record growing an award-winning chain of Nursery’s that have topped the Nursery Chains Ofsted League table for quality as the only UK childcare provider to have all inspected settings rated “Outstanding”. Passionate about making a difference in the sector, Jennie also opened her own training academy to underpin the knowledge and professional development of colleagues.

Jennie Johnson MBE commented, “I am delighted to have been awarded the 2019 Business Woman of the Year Award! I’ve always tried to run Kids Allowed as I would want my children to experience it, whether
that’s as an employee, child or parent, looking after the young people that work for us, the people who spend their time and day with us and looking after the mums and dads too. I think if I keep that focus, we won’t go far wrong.”

Following on from the Business Woman of the Year Award was the Freeths Woman with Edge Award; a new accolade which was introduced this year to recognise courageous, female business leaders who have demonstrated the courage to make significant changes in their industry.

Scooping this award for her dedication and work as a catalyst for change in the rail industry, is Debbie Francis, Managing Director of Direct Rail Services from Warrington. Debbie has demonstrated the courage to challenge and make a real difference in a male-dominated industry and has consistently strived to develop the skills and attitudes of others.

Debbie Francis commented, “I am absolutely thrilled to have received this year’s Freeths Woman with Edge Award! To be recognised for this award is an honour and I look forward to continuing to inspire other women in their work.

The prestigious Woman of Achievement award was dedicated to the Women of Grenfell for the work done to support the Grenfell community since the tragedy in 2017 which claimed 72 lives.  Representatives of the Hubb Community Kitchen and Justice for Grenfell accepted the Award. 

The Judges of the Business Women of the Year Award also gave a special commendation to Dr Nnenna Osuji, Deputy Chief Executive and Medical Director at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust for her outstanding work in the field of medicine.

The event was attended by keynote speaker and British television actress, Sally Lindsay, along with a host of digital, female empowerment influencers including Alexandra Cane and Iona Chira. 

Guests enjoyed a bespoke, three course menu of culinary delights created by the exceptionally

talented trio of 2019 MasterChef finalists, Irini Tzortzoglou, Delia-Maria Asser and JillyMcCord.

Zalena Vandrewala, chair of Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards said, “I would like to congratulate all our
finalists and send our gratitude everyone who attended and supported this year’s fantastic event.

In the 37 years that we’ve celebrated the Women of the Year Luncheon & Awards, our honorees have redefined success on their own terms. This year we welcome three new women into the alumni who, like the honorees before them, are using their chosen profession and ambition to push our culture forward.”

The event was supported by a range of sponsors including; Natwest, Freeths LLP, Gordon’s Premium Pink Gin, Pertemps, Aston University, Strategi Solutions, Equistone, Boodles and Planet Zeus. Funds raised from the event will go towards Women of the Year’s two chosen charities – The Prince’s Trust: Women Supporting Women Initiative and Elle for Elle.

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