Inspiring women honoured at national awards

Susanna Lawson winner of the Business Women of the Year at the Forward Ladies National Awards. Picture by Simon Hulme
Susanna Lawson winner of the Business Women of the Year at the Forward Ladies National Awards. Picture by Simon Hulme
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The co-founder of a company which provides learning software for vocational training was crowned as the overall business woman of the year at a national awards ceremony today.

Susanna Lawson, director of Onefile, walked off with the top award at the Foward Ladies National Women in Business Awards after leaving the judges “stunned” with her “drive, passion and innovation”.

Jennifer Crawley, head of the judging panel and UK deputy director of small businesses for HSBC, said: “Her organisation has pioneered the ed-tech revolution over a decade and has had a significant impact on the sector so much so that she was the proud winner of the 2017 Queen’s Award for Innovation”.

Ms Lawson, who also picked up the digital business award, started her company after witnessing huge inefficiencies in the training delivery models used in the health and social care sector.

In five years the business has grown from 19 to 75 staff and revenue has increased by 300 per cent.

Griselda Togobo, managing director of Forward Ladies, said: “We’ve had another fantastic awards ceremony.

“We’ve had women and business leaders from all over the country descend on Yorkshire, which we are proud to do.

“We could not be more proud of the winners we’ve had today.”

The awards ceremony, which attracted hundreds of guests to the Royal Armouries in Leeds, heard from speakers including Ian Stuart, CEO of HSBC UK; Lady Barbara Judge CBE, chairman of the UK IoD; Inga Beale DBE, CEO of Lloyd’s of London; Fiona Rayment OBE, executive director of NIRO, a division of the UK National Nuclear Laboratory charged with providing strategic nuclear advice to the government; and Jan Flawn CBE, founder and chairman of PJ Care.

The not-for-profit and social enterprise award was presented by The Yorkshire Post to Kerryanne Wilde, CEO of CERT-UK.

Yorkshire winners included Leanne Silverwood, managing director of nursing, social & healthcare agency Local Care Force, based in Leeds, who was named inspiring leader; Nikki Dixon, senior manager of own brand strategy at Asda, who won the rising star category; Katie Mallinson, founder of Scriba PR in Huddersfield, who won the start up category; and Andrea Eli, director at Ventura Office Supplies in Bingley, who was the winner of the SME emerging award.

Lady Barbara Judge won a special lifetime achievement award.

The Yorkshire Post was the media partner for the event, and the main sponsor was HSBC.

There were 14 categories at this year’s Foward Ladies National Women in Business Awards.

Other winners included STEM rising star of the year Jessica Okoro, who set up BeScience STEM after struggling with conventional learning due to dyslexia.

STEM leader of the year was Suzanne Smith, founder of Soteria Asbestos, and corporate leader of the year was Deborah Steane, of Johnson & Johnson.

Christina Lawford-Potter, of Diamond Air International, won international business of the year, and Julianne Ponan was named young entrepreneur of the year.

Sally Fielding, founder of holiday cottage agency Sally’s Cottages, won the SME growth business of the year category.