The Awards are headed up by Ladies First directors Tracey McAtamney from Balsall Common and Karen Massey from Leamington.
A host of new categories are among the 20 being contested this year, including Sustainable Business Leader, Trailblazer of the Year and Inclusivity Leadership Award.
The gongs also honour, among others, Start-up of the Year, Excellence In Technology and Innovation, Excellence In Health and Wellbeing, Charity/Community Champion, Campaign of the Year, Family Business of the Year, Business Resilience Award and Business Woman of the Year, as well as seeing the return of the popular men’s category, Man of the Year.
Guests at the launch event, on January 23rd heard from host and speaker Colleen Fletcher, Coventry’s first female MP for 36 years – and last year’s recipient of The Ladies First Lifetime Achievement Award.
Colleen served on Coventry City Council for 13 years from 1992 and as an MP for nine years. She is also Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Blood Cancer; Cancer; Homelessness; Mental Health; and Pancreatic Cancer, causes close to her heart.
Recently announcing her intention to step down from Westminster at the next general election, she said: “I think awards are very important. They make people feel valued and it’s important that as many people as possible hear these women’s stories.
“Whenever I give talks in schools, I tell children that you can’t be what you can't see, and if lots of people see women achieving then they’re inspired to do it themselves. It gives them more confidence.”
This year’s awards are also supporting The Giles Trust Brain Tumour Fund, funded 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.
Stine said: “These Awards are a fitting and fabulous platform to celebrate the achievements of women in our community. We’re so proud to be the chosen charity for the Ladies First Awards 2024 and look forward to working with the organisers and members over the next few months.”
The awards are sponsored by Janine Edwards Wealth Management in Berkswell and Midlands-based recruitment agency Pertemps and headed up by Ladies First’s Tracey McAtamney and her newly-appointed co-director, Karen Massey.
And as Ladies First celebrated 10 years, Julie McGarrigle one of the founders, together with Alsters Kelley Solicitors, continues to support as headline sponsor for the monthly events. Julie was delighted to be amongst the 45 guests attending the House of Commons launch of the Ladies First Business & Inspirational Women Awards 2024.
Julie said: “As well as our long-term commitment to sponsoring the Ladies First group which many of our staff have benefitted from, we are very proud to also be supporting and sponsoring their annual awards and would really encourage all businesswomen whether employed or self-employed to enter.
“Ladies First under the Directorship of Tracey McAtamney and now Karen Massey is going from strength to strength – we are delighted to be involved.”
Tracey has herself been recognised nationally for her work with the networking group as well as her charity The Surviving Bereavement Foundation, which provides practical and emotional support for those coping with loss.
Tracey said: “Every year we look forward to championing women who deserve recognition but who don’t go looking for the spotlight, so we want to shine it on them. This year’s awards are going to be the Ladies First’s biggest and brightest celebration of these women yet and we’re incredibly excited to be partnering with such amazing individuals such as Colleen and Stine, who set the tone perfectly at the launch day, along with the incredible setting of The House of Commons.”
Finalists will be invited to an independent judging day at Mallory Court in Leamington on April 8th before the glittering awards night at IXL Dallas Burston Polo Club on June 13th.
Closing date for nominations is March 12th. For further information about how to nominate, visit: https://ladiesfirstnetwork.co.uk/ladies-first-awards/
To enquire about sponsorship opportunities contact Tracey McAtamney at: [email protected]