National Business Women’s Awards

Our Judges

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Events & PR | Home of Prestigious Awards
Events & PR | Home of Prestigious Awards
Our Judges2022-05-23T15:04:40+01:00

Our Judges

We have developed our judging over 17 years and our judges, all top business people within their chosen arena, have cited our awards as both the most transparent and professionally executed. Each application is scored by up to 4 different judges from a panel of up to 30 judges, all applications are seen by different members of the judging panel. The judges spend over several hours and score not only their own sponsored category but several others too, this ensures transparency. The first page of questions is designed to give the judges a real feel for your business, followed by several questions that are scored from 1 to 5. It is worth noting that although all judging is computer based please ensure you upload images or screen shots of all important pages. There are no site visits or presentations involved. The finalists are chosen by adding all the scores and up to 16 entrants can make it through to the final, however if scoring is low, less entrants make it through. Should you wish to read our Top Tips, please click HERE

Nicki Dennis

International Sales Director | Escentric Molecules

Nicki is the International Sales Director for the fragrance brand Escentric Molecules.

Escentric Molecules owes its existence to an aroma-molecule that does not exist in nature. Iso E Super was created in a laboratory at IFF in 1973. It remained unknown outside the world of perfumery until the launch of Escentric Molecules, though its elusive presence hovers at relatively low concentrations in the background of many fragrances for both men and women. Among perfumers, it is prized for its velvety, cocooning effect.

When perfumer Geza Schoen first smelt Iso E Super in isolation, something clicked. “I realised that the common denominator in all the fragrances I liked was that they contained a large dose of it. Iso E Super is highly unusual. You can never get enough of it. One sniff and you want the whole bottle. It’s like a drug.”

Schoen began to experiment, creating fragrances that contained Iso E Super in unheard-of proportions. One night he went further. Heading out for a drink with a friend, he suggested they spritz on nothing but the aroma-molecule itself.

The effect was immediate. No sooner had they sat down at a bar, than a woman came up to ask about their fragrance. As Schoen talked with her, it became clear that the connection between the fragrances she liked was also a large dose of Iso E Super. Schoen realised he was on to something. His proposal was bold. He would create two fragrances in homage to this enigmatic attractant.

One fragrance would contain an unprecedented 65% of the molecule. The rest of the formula would consist of ingredients designed to underscore its low-lit mood.

If this was a radical move, the second fragrance was totally non-conformist. It would contain only the molecule Iso E Super. “I thought, this one will appeal only to the artists, the freaks, the outsiders.”

He was wrong. From its launch in 2006, Escentric Molecules was a phenomenon. Schoen followed the first pair of fragrances, 01, with 02, 03, 04, and in 2020, a fifth pair, Escentric Molecules 05. Each pair focuses on those rare aroma-molecules that have the radiance and depth of character to stand alone.

Nicki enjoys meeting new people and listening to stories of how they met their partners through fragrance. She loves new concepts and taking new products to market for all to enjoy!

Debbie Lewis

Founder and Managing Director | Salon Angels Ltd

With 25 years of salon experience; fifteen of those as an award winning salon owner, Debbie Lewis is now a successful business coach and industry speaker. Founder and Managing Director of Salon Angels Ltd; a recruitment, training and events agency for the hair and beauty industry. Debbie is also an Entrepreneur Acceleration Manager for NatWest, based in Milton Keynes supporting hundreds of business owners with growth and scale challenges each year.

Alice Ryan

Senior Editor| Velvet Magazine

Alice Ryan has been a journalist for more than 20 years and a magazine editor for a decade. She helmed a series of successful regional lifestyle titles before taking up her senior role at Velvet in 2017, helping turn the magazine from a loss-maker into an award-winning success story. For the last five years, she has freelanced for nationals alongside her regional role.

Alice’s work has given her both personal experience of running a venture and professional insight into the workings of endless other companies. A long-term champion of women in business, she believes people and personalities make a brand stand out from the commercial crowd.

Rebecca Wall

COO | Alliance Intelligent Scaffolding Ltd

Rebecca is COO of multi award winning Alliance Intelligent Scaffolding in St Albans, Hertfordshire. A former Hertfordshire Business Person of the Year, Rebecca is a national and international business awards judge and has a wealth of experience in both starts up and established SME’s within a diverse range of sectors, from Professional Beauty and Spa to Construction.

Jeanette Barrowcliffe

Finance Director | Meridian Business Support

Jeanette Barrowcliffe, a qualified accountant who trained with EY, joined Meridian Business Support, one of the largest independent multi-sector recruitment agencies in the UK, in June 1997.  She was appointed as FD in 2003 and was part of the MBO team in 2005.  Working closely with the CEO, executive team, operations, and support services she aids the strategic direction and organisation of Meridian and has been integral in its growth over the years.  In addition, Jeanette directly leads all of the Support Service teams which have continued to improve the financial controls and management information for the business.  Her teams are motivated, proactive and award winning.

A natural leader with an incredible skill in recognising the opportunities and drivers that shape recruitment in the UK, she understands what success looks like and more importantly knows what’s needed to be done to achieve it.

In addition to being the FD for Meridian, Jeanette is on the Board of the REC, the largest trade body for the recruitment sector & is a Trustee for Walsingham Support, a charity which supports people with learning disabilities.  Previously, Jeanette was a Parent Governor of a Primary School for eight years.

Dianne Teo

CEO | T30 Fitness Training

Dianne is founder of T30 Fitness Training.  She has successfully scaled a fast growing, multi endorsed, global fitness training brand,  that operates across 19 countries. She has worked in the fitness industry, both in Scotland and internationally, for 30+ years, including 11 years for the Malaysian Sports Board and 18 years as a senior lecturer in Exercise and Sports Science, before going on to start her T30 business.

Dianne started T30 Fitness following a research into hormone balance and weight loss. She had no intentions of starting a business, however within two years she’d designed two fitness brands: Fatburn Extreme fitness and GameFit  sports performance fitness. Both are 20 minute, scientifically devised workouts based around hormone balance and sports science. With customers achieving phenomenal results within 30 days, the programmes gathered momentum and 5 years on the company has 100+ master trainers, 5000+ instructors delivering both concepts, to 2.7m participants, globally.

T30 has won awards including Export Business of the Year, Most Innovative Business, International Businesswomen of the Year and Scottish EDGE. Dianne is an experienced judge  having been invited on the Scottish EDGE panel for two consecutive years both at preliminary stages and at the pitching semi-finals.

Sue Keogh

Director | Sookio

Sue Keogh is a recognised specialist in digital content and founder of award-winning digital marketing agency Sookio.
After starting her career with the BBC, Yahoo, AOL and ITV, she founded Sookio in 2008 and the agency has earned a solid reputation in content creation, strategy and training. A Best Business Women Awards finalist and host of radio show The Business of Cambridge, Sue also hosts the Sookio School series of online courses in digital marketing.

Claire Bolton van Weert

Founder | Apex Ability Limited

Claire Bolton van Weert is the Founder of multi award-winning Apex Ability Limited. After training in Australia as a Speech Pathologist treating both adults and children, Claire worked in the NHS for many years before establishing her own highly regarded Speech & Language Therapy and Life Coaching practice, based on Harley Street. She prides herself on leading an exceptional team who work across London and Buckinghamshire. Claire is a Churchill Fellow, travelling to North America to learn about the collaboration of Neurologic Music Therapy and Speech & Language Therapy. She now works globally, providing training to others. Claire volunteers as a local group coordinator with the Association of Speech & Language Therapists in Independent Practice. This enables her to support colleagues to grow their own practices and achieve a work-life balance. Claire is passionate about helping others reach their potential.

Vierka Hiscock

Registered Manager | Care Horizons

I moved to England from Slovakia in 2005. Though I had a degree in accountancy and a background in business, I wanted a job with more interaction and therefore began working in care. I was working in the Wiltshire and Somerset area the year I arrived, and I haven’t wanted to leave since. Eventually, I began looking for a home to buy. I wanted to start my own company and run it my way. Surprisingly, when I began working here in the UK, I was struck by just how different the guiding values and ethics were compared to most social care companies I knew back in Slovakia.

I am proud to have committed to ensuring that our staff members are all trained to achieve their full potential. When I took over Care Horizons Ltd, I instigated an individualised training plan for each staff member, including QCF qualification training. I apply the same standards to myself – I have trained for, and have become, a coach and mentor for both business and life skills. I hold recognised qualifications, and I know how positive empathy should be put into coaching and mentoring. I am also offering all our staff one-to-one mentoring/coaching every month for these skills, as well as a business coaching and mentoring service to other companies.

I also completely restructured the business model of Care Horizons and implemented a new internal policy and procedures system. Many companies simply get there from the internet – some in the past have even forgotten to change the name of the company they copied. We hired a specialist company to design a bespoke system suited to our needs, including an annual external ISA 9001 auditing service to attest to adequate staff training and compliance.

After over a decade of experience working in the care industry in the UK, I believe that a worrying empathy deficit exists. We all understand the struggle that the health and social care sector is currently going through, driven largely by a lack of adequate funding from the government, but individuals in local councils and care organisation with budgeting responsibility must always keep in mind that we are working with human beings. At the moment I study a BA (Hons) Psychology and Sociology with Arden University to help not just clients but staff members as well.

Andrea McGeachin

CEO | Amack Consultants

Andrea is the CEO of Amack Consultants, an SME and FinTech Consultancy firm that helps businesses get off the ground and increase their sales. Andrea has over twenty five years experience with seventeen years at Board level, with a reputation for delivering profitable relationships with clients and partners. She’s passionate about working with new ideas, challenges and clients that succeed in generating growth. Andrea has broad successful experience in start-ups, change management and is also a specialist in FinTech, Digital Solutions and products.

June Cory

CEO | My Mustard

June Cory has a career spanning almost thirty-five years in media management, sales, and training. She fell into selling newspaper advertising space and not only did she love it, but she was also rather good at it. After thousands of deadlines, hundreds of targets, and a few awards she moved into management & training for industry names including Newsquest & Yell.com.

After managing a specialist digital project team in 2006, June understood that the ability to target an audience, measure results & truly control spend would redefine advertising for local businesses & swapped the ink in her veins for zeros and ones and launched My Mustard, an online advertising agency in 2007.

A highly enthusiastic on and offline networker June is a Google Premier Partner and talks about Google to anyone who will listen at various forums. She drinks a lot of coffee…..

Sarah Ainslie

Owner | Network Engineering Services

Sarah has been a passionate supporter of small business and enterprise matters for over 20 years. As a former North East Policy Manager, her professional career has included representing the interests of SMEs at regional and national level, managing SME policy campaigns and successfully building key partnerships with political decision makers, business and community stakeholders. She previously founded a public affairs consultancy company, setting a new agenda within the industry as a social enterprise to help organisations better understand the impacts of complex political and policy environments. Most recently Sarah has been responsible for managing an extensive portfolio of leadership and workforce development training, creating bespoke skills solutions for public, private and voluntary sector organisations. She holds a Master of Arts in Regional Development, formerly co-founded a women’s business network, is an active member of the business community and Trustee of Epilepsy Outlook.

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