Local winners among those celebrating business success

The 2024 Awards winners. Photos by Everybody Smile Photography.

INSPIRATIONAL achievers from Coventry and Warwickshire were among those celebrated at the sixth Ladies First Professional Development Network Business Awards.

Four hundred people assembled at Dallas Burston Polo Club, in Southam for the glittering ceremony on Thursday (June 13th), hosted by Kirsty Leahy, Karen Jones and ‘Roberto.’

The evening’s entertainment also included performances by Birmingham’s Elmhurst Ballet School and singer Ruth Kelly, from Coventry.

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024
Ladies First Directors Tracey McAtamney and Karen Massey

Warwickshire winners included BBC radio presenter Trish Adudu who was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Media, as well as Rugby’s Louise Adkins, founder of Share Haulage, who was named Business Woman of the Year and Jackie Allan, who runs Revolve in Leamington who received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Fashion & Retail. Journalist Sally Bee, from Stratford, was presented with a special Woman of Courage Award.

Trish, from Coventry, has enjoyed a career in TV and radio spanning more than 30 years, including as an original member of ITV’s Loose Women panel between 1999-2002. She is currently well known for presenting the Weekday Afternoon programme on BBC local radio.

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024
Trish Adudu welcomes her family up on the stage as she receives the award for Lifetime Achievement In Media from Colleen Fletcher OBE.

She said: “I am overjoyed and overwhelmed to receive this honour. I have watched Ladies First and their incredible rise in the community consciousness and been in awe of the stories that have been represented. With all those fantastic stories I’m proud to know that Tracey and her team have picked my story as one to honour.

“I just wish Mum and Dad could have seen this but it was great that my supportive and wonderful partner Ezzie and my sons Tyler and Kennedy could be there to witness this incredible achievement.”

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024
Jackie Allan of Revolve in Leamington receives a Lifetime Achievement Award. Pictured here with NickyTurnham

Meanwhile, Jackie Allan said: “Winning this award means so much and most of all I am proud that I have been in business for 35 years surviving recessions and Covid. We have adapted and our customers have always been loyal. This award shows how much the service we provide is appreciated by our customers and peers and it motivates me to continue working, always keeping positive.”

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024
Sally Bee receives a special Woman of Courage Award from Julie McGarrigle of Alsters Kelley

Sally Bee said: “Receiving this special award meant such a lot to me. Not least because it meant I was being recognised by other women who work hard to lift each other up and support one another. Surviving six heart attacks was tough, but it was the support of my women friends that had the strongest impact on me and I hope in turn, I can inspire other women to NEVER give up hope of a happy and successful life, no matter what traumas have been endured.

“Life is a journey, and any strength we have today is a result of our fears, traumas and vulnerabilities from the past. We, as women, just need to reframe our past story and believe that we are all women of courage.”

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024
Dr Tania Hebert is awarded Campaign of the Year by Richard George Tailoring.

Entrepreneurs celebrating from Coventry were Amanda Bourne of Tree-v Limited (Sustainable Business Leader); Ann and Andy Hawkins, of Franklin & Hawkins Funeral Directors (Family Business of the Year); Becky Patel, of Tech She Can (Excellence In Technology & Innovation); and Lily Cook, of LPC Sports Therapy & Yoga (Wellness Coach of the Year).

Winners recognised for their charitable and campaigning efforts were: Naomi Rees-Issit, from Rugby, founder of the OurJay Foundation; (Achieves For Charity); Amanda Burford, of Packmore Estates in Warwick (Volunteer of the Year); and Dr Tania Hebert, West Midlands Co-ordinator for Medical Ukraine, from Stratford (Campaign of the Year).

Tania’s work involves coordinating medical aid for Ukrainian hospitals, recently culminating in the formation of a registered charity, Ukrainian Medical Charity.

She said: “This has been a labour of love and has sustained my mental health in coping with the pain of the illegal invasion of Ukraine. It means so much for our hard work to be recognised and I’m so grateful to our amazing volunteer team and donors.”

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024
Naomi Rees-Issitt receives her award for OurJay, voted Charity of the Year, from Lisa Devine of Therapy & Fitness Centre Everybody Smile Photography

Following her son Jamie’s death aged just 18, Naomi Rees-Issit has dedicated the last four years of her life to the OurJay charity, installing over 100 defibrillators across Warwickshire and Coventry. She has achieved huge national awareness with her campaigning and it’s her ambition to have defibrillators installed on every street corner in the country.

She said: “This award was for Jamie and all of OurJay, not just for me. Jamie’s team are amazing and they work so hard for our precious boy. We now have 173 accessible defibrillators, plus 36 Snap Fitness gym defibs and a further 26 pitchside/mobile defibs. OurJays trustees, supporters, sparkies and friends and family are the people that deserve this amazing award.”

Naomi Rees-Issitt receives her award for Charity of the Year from Lisa Devine of Therapy & Fitness Centre Everybody Smile Photography
Safeena Mohamed receives Volunteer of the Year Award from Suzanne Draper and Tara Robinson of The Eden Hotel Collection.

Meanwhile, Coventry’s Safeena Mohammed AND Warwick’s Amanda Burford, were both named Volunteer of the Year. Safeena was recognised for her support of young people, from running school and youth and kickboxing clubs to helping young offenders. The 68-year-old mum of eight and grandmother of 18, is also a foster parent to four boys!

She said of the win: “What an unexpected result! It is so amazing to be chosen for such an important award I am completely honoured to receive it.”

Naomi Rees-Issitt receives her award for Charity of the Year from Lisa Devine of Therapy & Fitness Centre Everybody Smile Photography
Amanda Burford of Packmore Estates receives the Volunteer of the Year Award.

On finding her local community centre not to be fit for purpose, Amanda Burford campaigned with the county council for a new purpose-built centre. Plans are now under way for a new centre at Packmore’s Estate in Warwick.

On her win, she said: “I was totally shocked to have won as all the finalists were awesome! It’s always nice to be recognised for the work we do at Packmores Community so this award is for all of us.”

Naomi Rees-Issitt receives her award for Charity of the Year from Lisa Devine of Therapy & Fitness Centre Everybody Smile Photography
Louise Adkins is presented with Business Woman of the Year Award from Siobhan Rowland from Edwards Wealth.

As Managing Director, Business Woman of The Year Louise Adkins has developed Share Haulage, in Clifton Upon Dusnmore, for the past 22 years, in which time the business has been awarded the prestigious FORS Silver Operator status.

From Leamington – Bianca Rodrigues-Perry celebrated being named Entrepreneur of the Year for her Bia’s Kitchen Show, launched in January; Helen Morton, of Helen Morton Advocacy, claims the Awards’ first Trailblazer of the Year award; and Emma Sansom, of Flamingo Marketing Strategies won the Business Resilience Award.

Naomi Rees-Issitt receives her award for Charity of the Year from Lisa Devine of Therapy & Fitness Centre.
Business Resilience winner Emma Sansom pictured with Richard Bowater Eddy Parker-Bray, Chris Cooper and Oscar Dainty.

In a book she co-authored, You Can’t Break Me, Emma Sansom, from Leamington, shares her story of resilience as she doubled her turnover during the pandemic.

She said: “The past five years have challenged me in ways I never anticipated when I started my own business (and the pandemic was just part of it!). Therefore, the recognition of our success at Flamingo meant the world to my entire team as we all celebrated together at the ceremony.”

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024.
Bianca Rodrigues-Perry is awarded Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year Award by sponsor Amanda Chalmers of ChalmersNewsPR

Bianca Rodrigues-Perry said: “The most rewarding aspect of winning an award, in my opinion, is witnessing the genuine cheers and joy of others as you achieve success. It fills me with happiness and gratitude to be recognized by a prestigious organization like Ladies First, which I deeply respect. Always remember, don’t allow others to limit the scope of your dreams. This is just the start – there are no limits ahead!”

Elsewhere in Warwickshire, Anita Dinnes, of BCSL Consulting in Stratford, was awarded Business Consultant/Coach of the Year; Heather Ennes from Wellesbourne, was awardedRising Star & Future Leader for her role as a freelance seafarer in Southampton; Tessa Rhodes, of Phoenix Ladies in Nuneaton won Networker of The Year and Julia Senah, also from Nuneaton, won the Excellence In Health & Wellbeing Award for her work at Almond Care, nurse-led complex care for adults and children with neurological conditions.

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024.
Anita Dinnes is awarded the Business Consultant of the Year Award by Diffuse Retail.

Anita Dinnes, of BCSL Consulting, said: “It is extremely important to me to support small businesses on their journey to success, and to share the wisdom I’ve received from the generosity of others on my own journey, and that I have gained from first-hand experience building and selling my own businesses. For this reason, receiving the award is a huge honour.”

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024
Tessa Rhodes receives Networker of the Year Award.

Tessa Rhodes, who runs Phoenix Ladies Business Club, said: “Through my networking group I am able to offer a safe environment for females to network whilst watching them grow in confidence and blossom.  I am privileged to be able to share my own experiences with my network and offer the support they need to allow them to flourish. This award confirms to me that my hard work and dedication to this cause is so worthwhile and I am honoured to receive it.”

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024
Lily Cook of LPC Therapies receives her Wellness Coach of the Year Award from Jane McIntosh of Air Aesthetics

Lily Cook, of LPC Sports Therapy & Yoga, said of her Wellness Coach of the Year Award: “I’m so deeply humbled to accept this award and serve our beautiful community. This recognition has made me even more determined to continue my passion of empowering and supporting others to heal and love themselves back to wholeness.”

Ann and Andy Hawkins of Franklins Funeral Directors in Coventry receive the Family Business Award from Benussi Law

Ann Hawkins who won Family Business of the Year with her husband Andy for Franklin & Hawkins Funeral Directors, said: “To win Family Business of the Year is testimony to the care and attention shown by every single member of the team that makes Franklin & Hawkins Family Funeral Directors complete, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.”

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024
Rob Singleton and Gavin Leach of Tavola and Windmill Hill Brewery, Leamington, receive Business Man of the Year Resilience Award from Natasha Blacklock of Ladies First

Representing two of the men’s categories, Richard Gunton, of Richard George Tailoring, in Leamington, won Business Man of the Year while business partners Robert Singleton and Gavin Leach, of Windmill Hill Brewing Company & Tavola, both in Leamington, scooped Business Resilience Man of the Year.

Rob Singleton said: “We were so happy to be recognised by such an important network as Ladies First. It gives you encouragement to continue with the work we are doing and we took real inspiration from the other finalists at what was a really memorable evening.”

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024
Richard Gunton of Richard George Tailoring receives Business Man of the Year Award from Pertemps Network.

Richard Gunton said: “This award is not only a success on a personal level, of which I am truly honoured and delighted, it is also a recognition of – and only achievable with – the support and dedication of the team and that of our loved ones. Furthermore, it is testament to the wonderful clients that we enjoy the company of on a daily basis.”

This year also saw the introduction of new business categories including Sustainable Business Leader and Inclusivity Leadership as well as a special Inspirational Women Award going to The England Women’s football team, The Lionesses.

Ladies First Professional Development Business Awards 2024
Amanda Bourne is presented with the Sustainable Business Award by Hayley Matiya from Nomuda.

Amanda Bourne, who won Sustainable Business Leader, says at Tree-V over six million miles of vehicle emissions have been carbon balanced, helping businesses, conferences and events to operate more sustainably.

She said: I’m overjoyed and thrilled to have won. To have been nominated alongside such inspirational sustainability leaders gives me great hope for the future and that businesses in the area are working so hard to help the planet.” 

Ladies First Professional Development Business Awards 2024
Young Futures First Award winner Angus Baskerville, from Stratford, wows CWR’s Trish Adudu with one of his magic tricks

The first winners in the new Young Futures First Awards section included Angus Baskerville, from Stratford. As well as being a sought-after magician, the 28-year-old entrepreneur is now inspiring others across the nation as an advocate for autism and mental health through his workshops and motivational speaking engagements. He is also a neurodiversity ambassador for The Institute of Occupational Health.

Angus said: “I am beyond excited to have the opportunity over the next 12 months to benefit from the advice and mentorship of the Ladies First ambassadors to help me navigate the ups and downs of running my own business. Thank you Ladies First for believing in me.”

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024, Elmhurst Ballet School
Young dancers from Birmingham’s Elmhurst Ballet School entertain.

The Awards, which were unveiled at The House of Commons in January, are headed up by Ladies First directors Tracey McAtamney from Balsall Common and Karen Tracey and Karen said: “It was a phenomenal evening celebrating the achievements of women, men, and future young influencers in business. We couldn’t be more proud of this inspiring event. Huge congratulations to all of our 2024 winners. We also want to express our gratitude to all our sponsors, without whom this event wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you to the IXL Centre for creating a wonderful experience for our guests. We can’t wait to see what 2025 will bring.”

The evening, which included an auction and raffle and £5k ring prize drawer courtesy of Shipton & Co in Stratford, also raised £8,000 for The Giles Trust Brain Tumour Fund. The charity was stablished in 2015 by former England cricketer Ashley Giles MBE and his wife Stine, who was diagnosed with three brain tumours over 12 years. The charity raises funds for research, pioneering equipment and support for patients.

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024
A night of celebrations

Full list of winners can be found below. . .

Inspirational Woman Award (Sponsored by Ladies First)
The Lionesses Women’s England Football Team

Business Woman of the Year (Sponsored by Edwards Wealth)
Louise Adkins – Share Haulage, Rugby

Lifetime Achievement Award in Media (Sponsored by Ladies First)
Trish Adudu – Radio presenter, from Coventry

Lifetime Achievement Award in Fashion & Retail (Sponsored by Ladies First)
Jackie Allan – Revolve, Leamington

Trailblazer of the Year (Sponsored by Alsters Kelley Solicitors)
Helen Morton – Helen Morton Advocacy, Leamington

Business Resilience Award (Sponsored by Affiniti Search)
Emma Sansom – Flamingo Marketing Strategies, Leamington

Outstanding Entrepreneur Award (Sponsored by Chalmers News PR)
Bianca Rodrigues-Perry – Bia’s Kitchen Show, Leamington

Excellence In Health & Wellbeing (Sponsored by Air Aesthetics)
Julia Senah – Almond Care, Nuneaton
AND Becci Fox – Solihull Moors, Solihull

Business Consultant/Coach of the Year (Sponsored by Diffuse Retail)
Anita Dinnes – BCSL Consulting, Stratford

Woman of Courage (Sponsored by Ladies First)
Sally Bee – journalist, Stratford

Achieves For Charity (Sponsored by Therapy & Fitness Centre)
Naomi Rees-Issit – OurJay Foundation, Rugby

Campaign of the Year (Sponsored by Richard George Tailoring)
Dr Tania Hebert – West Midlands Co-ordinator for Medical Ukraine, Stratford

Volunteer of the Year (Sponsored by Mallory Court)
Safeena Mohamed, Coventry
AND Amanda Burford – Packmore Estates, Warwick

Networker of the Year (Sponsored by Findabiz)
Tessa Rhodes – Phoenix Ladies, Nuneaton

Business Man of the Year (Sponsored by Pertemps Network Group)
Richard Gunton – Richard George Tailoring, Leamington

Business Resilience Man of the Year (Sponsored by Ladies First)
Robert Singleton and Gavin Leach – Windmill Hill Brewing Company & Tavola, Leamington

Sustainable Business Leader (Sponsored by Nomuda)
Amanda Bourne – Tree-v Limited, Coventry

Family Business of the Year (Sponsored by Benussi Law)
Ann and Andy Hawkins – Franklin & Hawkins Funeral Directors, Coventry

Excellence in Technology & Innovation (Sponsored by Nomuda)
Becky Patel – Tech She Can, Coventry

Wellness Coach of the Year (Sponsored by Air Aesthetics)
Lily Cook – LPC Sports Therapy & Yoga, Coventry

Excellence In Professional Services (Sponsored by Pertemps Network Group)
Jas Thiara – Alsters Kelley Solicitors, Balsall Common

Achieves For The Community (Business) (Sponsored by Ladies First)
Jamieson Christie Wealth Management, HQ in Balsall Common

Inspirational Business Man of the Year (Sponsored by Pertemps Network Group)
Rob Butler – Tri Wellness Limited, Solihull

Community Champion (Sponsored by Therapy & Fitness Centre)
John Street – Free@last, Birmingham

Start-up of the Year (Sponsored by Audley Binswood)
Paola Spiga, Glam & Glow Beauty Lab, Hockley Heath

Inclusive Leadership (Sponsored by Ash Family Law)
Julia Von Klonowski – Digital Skills Consulting Limited, Reading

Rising Star & Future Leader Business & Inspirational (Sponsored by Bia’s Kitchen Show)
Heather Enness, Whitehorse Maritime Academy, Southampton

Ladies First Professional Development Awards 2024
The first Young Future First winners receive their awards from Arti Halai and Dave Sharpe – Aaron O’Brien, Angus Baskerville, Fatima Mohammed, Courtnee Gallagher and Leah Atkins.

Young Futures First Influencer Award (Sponsored by Ladies First)
Aaron O’Brien, Wolverhampton
Courtnee Gallagher, Bmet College
Angus Baskerville, Stratford
Leah Atkins, Bmet College
Fatima Mohammed, Bmet College

Read more about the Birmingham area winners here

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