THE inspirational achievements of the region’s best business women were celebrated yesterday at the Women in Business Awards 2013.
The event, organised by networking organisation Forward Ladies, highlighted entrepreneurs who have defied the tough economic climate to create thriving enterprises as well as successful corporate women.
Jacqui Hall, managing director of Harrogate-based energy company CNG, took the top title, winning the outstanding business woman of the year award, sponsored by Barclays.
She was also awarded the title of corporate leader of the year, sponsored by TD Direct Investing.
Since being appointed managing director of CNG in 2006, Ms Hall has been instrumental in leading the company’s direction and subsequent growth.
She has strengthened the team by making strategic appointments and securing third party accreditations.
The company continues to be recognised as a real alternative to the Big Six energy companies, and has achieved recognition for excellence.
Presenting the top award, Caroline Pullich, head of relationship banking at Barclays, said: “Our winner has: created a culture across the company that has true values, and demonstrated this with an open door policy for staff; tripled employee numbers in the past five years as the company continues to grow; made a huge difference to bottom line profit, has increased turnover to £150m from £98m in the previous year and achieved a net promoter score (this is an industry measurement which measures customer satisfaction) which is 25 points higher than the industry average for her sector.”
The Yorkshire Post was a media partner at yesterday’s event and also sponsored the manufacturing category, won by Jane Robinson, co-founder of Cutting Technologies, and presented by Helen Oldham, managing director of Yorkshire Post Newspapers.
The Barnsley-based company is a leading UK laser cutting and engraving business.
Winners received a hand-blown lilac bowl at the lunchtime event held at the Queens Hotel in Leeds in front of an audience of senior business women, sponsors and their guests.
Other category winners included Catherine Shuttleworth, chief executive and founder of Savvy Marketing in Leeds, who received SME business woman of the year sponsored by Asda.
She received a special commendation at last year’s awards for services to Forward Ladies.
Ms Shuttleworth said: “It was fantastic to be nominated with so many other strong candidates in Yorkshire where women in business work really well together.”
She added: “It is inspiring that Etta Cohen and the Forward Ladies team can gather the best of Yorkshire business in one room and remind us how important female role models are.”
Grazyna (Grace) Bylinka, a Huddersfield-based regional manager at Swedish direct selling company Oriflame, which produces nature-inspired cosmetics, skincare and fragrances, won the home-based business woman, sponsored by Amplitude AV.
The international business woman award, sponsored by UKTI, went to Julia Gash, chief executive of eco-friendly bag firm BIDBI in Sheffield.
Joanne Wilkinson, chief executive of My Possible Self, a social enterprise offering professional counselling, personal development and coaching based in Harrogate, won the Not-for-Profit business woman award, sponsored by East Coast.
PA of the year, sponsored by Q Hotels, went to Ann Dunford, the PA to a senior partner at accountancy firm Garbutt & Elliott in York.
Justine Osmotherley, a partner and head of private client services at Clarion Solicitors, Leeds, won the professional/corporate business woman category, sponsored by Finance Yorkshire.
Teresa Galley, of Galley Properties, Doncaster, won the women in property award, sponsored by British Gas, for the second successive year.
The retail business woman of the year category, sponsored by The Co-operative Group, went to Liz Devine-Wright of hat and accessories firm Simply Devine, based in Tadcaster.
Melanie Oldham, managing director of cyber security firm Bob’s Business in Barnsley, was named Start Up business woman, sponsored by Oriflame.
The Young business woman award, sponsored by O2, went to Amy Wray, managing director of Applegate Lettings in Huddersfield.
The event raised nearly £5,500 for charities.