Womenspire 2019 Finalists
Abi Carter, Cardiff
Abi is co-chair on the Welsh regional board of the charity Remembering Srebrenica. Having founded Forensic Resources Ltd, she worked on evidence relating to the genocide and has since participated in extensive voluntary work in Wales to raise awareness of the massacre as well as training for a three-tiered fitness challenge to raise funds for the charity.
Christine Edmondson, Pontypool
Credited with being instrumental in the growth of Melin Homes and creating a diverse and incredibly efficient organisation, Christine became a Board member in 2012 and Chair in 2016. She has made efforts to humanise and attract younger people to the Board and played no small part in ensuring that 98% of staff say they are proud to work for Melin.
Debra Williams, Port Talbort
Having transformed Confused.com and Tesco Compare with her extensive knowledge of leadership, digital and ecommerce platforms, Debra founded Motokiki, the UK’s first impartial tyre comparison site. She also manages to find time to chair Careers Wales, sit on the boards of Swansea University and the Port of Milford Haven, fundraise for Ty Hafan and mentor and support local business women.
Sharon Lovell, Caerphilly
Sharon is National Executive Director for the charity National Youth Advocacy Service and has long been an ambassador and advocate of human rights for children and young people. She also holds a number of other positions in public life and sits on the Board of Directors for Amnesty International UK and the Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services.
Christine Bolter, Cardiff
Experiencing first-hand the strain and isolation felt by the friends and family of someone heavily involved in substance misuse, Christine set up the group Tearing Your Hair Out to support them. Providing a safe space to share experiences its benefits have been recognised by many GP surgeries that socially prescribe its services.
Dawn Wilson, Hengoed
Dawn is a mother of two with terminal breast cancer working tirelessly to ensure others don’t experience her heartache. She has successfully brought the US based ‘Know Your Lemons’ campaign to Wales – who’s imagery shows twelve lemons in an egg box – each one displaying a different sign or symptom of breast cancer.
Saba Humayun, Swansea
An asylum seeker, Saba is an active member of Swansea Women’s Asylum and Refugee Support Group who has received the High Sheriff of West Glamorgan’s Award for her voluntary work. Through her mentoring, public speaking and engaging in the arts she is a true representative of intercultural, interethnic and interfaith collaboration.
Sahar Al-Faifi, Cardiff
A molecular geneticist, Sahar has taken a sabbatical to combat Islamophobia and dedicates her life to encouraging young people, particularly from BAME backgrounds to get engaged in public life. As a Muslim feminist she has endured much abuse but remained a prominent activist campaigning for tolerance, anti-racism and feminism, wanting to create a more welcoming and inclusive Wales. She also sky-dives in her spare time!
Creative and Media
Angela John, Newport
Angela’s highly disciplined and focussed efforts have seen her top her field in Biographies of Historic Women, particularly Welsh Women. Recognising her efforts in putting them on the map she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2014 by University of Wales Trinity Saint David, holds an Honorary Professorship at Swansea University and held the same at Aberystwyth University for 19 years.
Joann Randles, Swansea
A professional freelance film producer, director and photographer Joann is an up and coming star of the industry. She is an advocate of encouraging and inspiring women, ensuring a strong female representation in TV and Film. Formally as Executive Producer for the British Youth Film Academy Joann worked to secure a gender balance particularly encouraging female students to develop technical skills.
Melanie Wotton, Llandough
Melanie co-ordinates all exhibitions across the health board in Cardiff, providing local artists with opportunities to create thought provoking and sensitive displays. Instrumental in setting up a professional art gallery for Llandough Hospital, she has made Cardiff and Vale Health Board unique in the UK.
Tamara Harvey, Mold
As Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd, Tamara’s productions have been recognised nationally, and the venue a finalist in the UK award for the top regional theatre. In 2018 she also directed the world premiere of Home I’m Darling which has now transferred to the West End.
Hannah Saunders, Wrexham
With a Masters in Strategic HR and an illustrious RAF career in the RAF, Hannah went on to set up Toddle, a business creating natural skincare products for children. She feels strongly that the brand represents Mums as skiers, walkers, festival goers, surfers and more! She also employs an industry leading equality and diversity policy at Toddle, following years promoting gender equality at the RAF.
Jemima Letts, Bangor
A forestry student at Bangor University Jemima set up the Tree Sparks enterprise when she had to temporarily leave her studies due to ill health. Tree Sparks has increased the profile of females in forestry, highlighted the challenges young people and women face when trying to enter the profession and encouraged more young people to consider environmental and forestry careers.
Leanne Eustace, Barry
Finding that people were afraid to ask questions about their accounts, Leanne was inspired to set up Accounted For. The business operates a ‘no such thing as a stupid question’ policy and delivers bespoke packages so clients can understand how their company is performing. Leanne also has a strong commitment to staff, providing family friendly work plans and training.
Sian Goodson, Cardiff
Siân is the founder of fast-growing executive search business Goodson Thomas. The company is a market leader in terms of diversity and by focusing on this has achieved an unprecedented 50/50 gender split for its 76 senior executive and non-executive appointments. Siân has a long track record of building high-performing teams through nurturing female talent.
Ceri Harris, Porth
Ceri is an outstanding professional and dedicated Diversity and Equality Manager at Velindre University NHS Trust. Her passion for gender equality has been highly effective in instigating change in and outside of work. Ceri has developed innovative ways to provide inclusive services including an award winning cancer story book, a fundraising cookbook and even a short film.
Mandy St John Davey, Aberdare
Mandy is a successful property entrepreneur, international speaker and Princes Trust Mentor who recently became the first National Chairman of Women in Property. She supports women through her mentoring in the property sector and in starting their own businesses and regularly visits schools and colleges to promote the careers and diverse opportunities within the property and construction industry.
Shakila Ahmed, Swansea
In 2017 and in her 40s, Shakila became a Commercial Property Solicitor, quickly becoming Branch Manager. As a female Asian lawyer with mainly male clients she has overcome many challenges thanks to her effective communication and multilingual skills. At work she has mentored the majority female staff to achieve their aspirations and also supports women in the community by drawing on her own experiences, in addition to raising her three sons.
Tracy Myhill, Port Talbot
Working her way up from a dental receptionist to Chief Executive of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, Tracy has always had a passion for improving health services and connecting personally with people. She helps women to succeed by providing mentoring and coaching and as an active member of the LGBT+ community was awarded the Stonewall Role Model of the Year in 2015.
Andrea Garvey, Neath Port Talbot
When Andrea completed an Agile Nation course it gave her the confidence to go on and fulfil her dream of graduating in law. During her studies she was awarded for her outstanding contribution and will soon complete an Applied Law and Criminology MA. Throughout she has also found time to run the Friendship Club for women with disabilities.
Joanne Tracey Yeo, Carmarthen
Joanne is dyslexic and dyspraxic, facing many challenges, but returned to education after 20 years to complete a BA in Social Studies and is now on course for an Equity and Diversity MA. As a community volunteer she has raised over £30,000, won numerous awards, is a Brown Owl and regularly speaks to inspire other women to return to education.
Jodi-Ann Hicks, Bridgend
Jodi-Ann works for Zimmer Biomet, and recently graduated from an Institute of Leadership and Management programme, which has seen her promoted to Operations Manager. She is the youngest person and first female to take on the role, and her team has now hit levels of output the factory has never seen before.
Emma Williams, Wrexham
After years of work and family life Emma returned to study, graduating in forensic science from Glyndwr University. With a passion for her subject she is now completing her PGCE to become science teacher. Through personal stresses she still dedicates time as a drugs support worker and has been integral to a number of Women and Girls in Science events.
Nia Davies, Tredegar
When her older brother Steffan was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer Nia witness the crucial care provided by Velindre Cancer Centre. Despite her family’s trauma and studying for A ‘Levels she organised a sponsored walk, ensuring people of differing abilities could take part as well as bringing participants together from across the political divide, raising a staggering £24,000 for the centre.
Nia Edwards-Behi, Aberystwyth
Nia uses her platforms on twitter and as an Aberystwyth Town Councillor to make Wales a more inclusive and progressive nation. She is also involved in numerous projects including those which raise awareness of the importance of women’s rights and the rights of asylum seekers, and was a speaker at Westminster on International Women’s Day.
Carla Dwyer, Ynysybwl
Having overcome a broken back at 17, Carla refocussed her life and in February 2016 took her first steps into the male dominated B2B Telecoms and Cloud Services industries within Clearstream Technology. The company’s only female employee she has broken down barriers by educating others, completing a computer science HND and working towards industry qualifications which few women hold.
Rafia Jamil, Knighton
Rafia came to the UK as an overseas pharmacist and worked tirelessly to qualify as a pharmacist in UK. She has developed a close relationship with her local community, playing a huge role improving patient care and volunteering to support to her peers. Her dedication has led to much recognition including winning the Welsh pharmacy award.
Women in Sport
Julie Thomas, Bridgend
When Julie lost her sight ten years ago her life as a dedicated head teacher came to an end. However, her determination to form new interests led her to a bowls taster session. She now competes against sighted players and in 2018 she reached the National Welsh Elite fully sighted finals and was selected for the Commonwealth Games, coming back with a bronze medal.
Janine Osborne-Bowring, Penarth
Through her well-being centre Janine has helped hundreds of women overcome body image issues, improve their fitness and gain confidence. Despite battling serious illness and undergoing chemotherapy she has dedicated time to charity work and continued to bring women and girls of all backgrounds together, creating a fun, safe environment to prove equality, strength and passion are in everybody.
Emma Hopkins, Neath
Emma has had to overcome serious injury, which for a time led to her losing her passion for sport. However, by reflecting on her own experiences as someone who had become intimidated by even entering a gym, she opened up her own for women and now offers wider services such as life coaching to help women believe in themselves.
Tesni Evans, Rhyl
As the first Welsh women to win the British nationals, be ranked in the top 10 and win a Commonwealth medal, Tesni is an amazing role model at Squash Wales, in particular for the junior players. She is also actively encouraging more women to play by visiting schools to share her passion for the game.
Women in STEM
Sarah Morgan, Abertillery
Sarah has a passion for science and runs Eco-Explore Education, providing science sessions for schools in areas of economic deprivation in South Wales. Together with studying for her Ph.D. in Parasite Ecology she creates opportunities for girls to engage with science and highlights careers in STEM. She has also created the @EcoExploreEdu twitter campaign to connect schools with inspirational women in STEM.
Professor Yamni Nigam, Swansea
During a lectureship in Biomedical Science at Swansea University Yamni came across the use of living maggots to help clear up chronic wounds. She is now one of only three female professors whose career path is that of innovation and engagement at the university and has developed the “Love a maggot!” project. She is also a trained STEM ambassador.
Gemma Hallet, Llantwit Fardre
Gemma is on a mission to mobilise 100,000 young people into prosperity and employability! Following an international rugby career, a teaching role led Gemma to develop the miFuture App due to the lack of career guidance for young people. With many becoming unemployed or disengaged, miFuture links GenerationZ with employment opportunities, and will aim to showcase female role models to inspire future leaders.
Ellie-May Bettinson, Blackwood
In her final year as an engineering apprentice at General Dynamics Mission Systems–UK, Ellie has become a leading example for apprentices and particularly women in engineering.
She is the main spokesperson for the engineering apprenticeship scheme, a mentor and great female role model who visits schools to engage with students on the benefits of an engineering career.
Zimmer Biomet, Bridgend
The organisation has gone to great lengths to change its thinking and culture in relation to its demographics, gender equality and diversity. Thanks to positive action and wide ranging initiatives such as its Women’s Inspire Network, Zimmer Biomet is already reaping the rewards through increased output and lower sickness absence.
University of South Wales, Pontypridd
The University is led by Wales’ first female Vice Chancellor, Professor Julie Lydon OBE, and has been effective in maximising the benefits of a diverse and equal workforce. A number of proactive initiatives have been implemented including a group of ‘champions’ to interrogate data on gender, a Women in Academia Network and ‘Fairplay 30’ which ensures the values of equality, diversity and inclusion are culturally embedded across the institution.
Golden Manor Nursery, Pembroke
Although difficult to achieve, given the nature of work and cover required in a childcare setting, Golden Manor Nursery is creating a new benchmark for the sector. It has enhanced its recruitment procedures and reshaped induction and training programmes to embed equality and diversity awareness throughout. It has also implemented flexible and remote working practices and introduced more male staff to the business.
Enbarr Foundation CIC & Enbarr Enterprises Limited, Queensferry
Enbarr Enterprises has been established with a unique employment solution, offering sustainable income to disadvantaged people in Flintshire and beyond. In 2017, Enbarr Foundation was started, for those who need extra support, protection and guidance. Enbarr’s commitment to empowering the vulnerable has had a significant impact on key social issues affecting the local community.
Companies House, Cardiff
Torfaen Leisure Trust, Torfaen
Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum