Inspiring Merseyside women praised at awards

JUBEDA Khatun, artistic director of grassroots combined arts festival, Blackfest, has been named Merseyside Woman of the Year 2022.

The accolade was presented by headline sponsor, Hill Dickinson, at the Merseyside Women of the Year Awards (MWOTY) ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Liverpool.

Blackfest was established in 2018 to answer a need in Liverpool to celebrate black artists and bridge the gap between institutions and marginalised communities, and aimed to empower and platform local Black artists across both community spaces and established venues.

Speaking of her win, Jubeda said: “It’s so amazing to be named Merseyside Women of the Year. I am really happy to get this recognition, this is not just for me but it’s for all the Muslim women and women of colour who dream of being leaders, who dream of leading organisations and making a positive impact in society at the same time.

“I hope that seeing me, here, winning this award will inspire more women who look like me to believe that they can do the same. I want to thank everyone who nominated me, the MWOTY organisers and sponsors and all the incredible finalists. Women are amazing and together we can make change.”

MWOTY 2022, which was hosted by Liverpool comedienne, singer and actor, Pauline Daniels, enjoyed a return for its first in-person awards ceremony since 2019, celebrating a host of courageous and inspirational women making a difference in Merseyside.

Jubeda was also named the winner of the Arts & Culture category.

Arts & Culture runner-up: Ithalia Forel.

The Business Leader award, sponsored by Financial Planning Corporation, was awarded to Jennifer Greenan, for her work as Co-founder and Director of E-Verve Energy Ltd, one of the UK’s leading independent providers of electric-vehicle charging-infrastructure, and as founder and trustee of the Electric Futures Charity Trust, which aims to raise awareness of issues our planet faces today with tomorrow’s generation.

Business Leader runner-up: Natalie Kenny

The Social Impact award, sponsored by Everton FC, was won by Natalie Denny, for her work raising awareness and helping some of the most vulnerable people in the community through her involvement in organisations and projects including Skywriters Ltd, The Goddess Projects, Scouse Solidarity Sisters, Anthony Walker Foundation and The Period Project Merseyside.

Social Impact runner-up: Collette Goulding

The Entrepreneur award, sponsored by IOD Liverpool, went to Karina Molby, for her inclusive fashion label ‘Molby the Label’, which aims to cater for all customers and make them feel beautiful and empowered. As well as rapidly growing her business, Karina also remains active in her community, undertaking charity work and making positive change wherever she can.

Entrepreneur runner-up: Rebecca Taylor

Merseyside Woman of the year Jubeda Khatun

The Inspirational Women award, sponsored by the Community Foundation for Merseyside, was won by Debbie Rogers, founder of men’s mental health charity, Sean’s Place, which she established in remembrance of her brother Sean who tragically took his own life. The charity provides free and immediate access to 1 to 1 and group support for men who are struggling and has saved the lives of many.

Inspirational Women runner-up: Deborah Stephens

Olivia Hanlon was named winner of the Women’s Group category, sponsored by Equality And Employment Law Centre, for her community platform, Girls in Marketing. The group was established in 2019 to educate and empower aspiring and professional marketers by encouraging a collaborative community spirit and has quickly grown to over 80 thousand followers across social media.

Women’s Group runner-up: Ashton Tansey

The Women of Courage award, sponsored by Courage & Sparkle, went to Savera UK CEO and founder, Afrah Qassim. A former winner of the ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ category at the 2012 MWOTY awards, Afrah has continued to drive the charity’s work tackling harmful practices such as forced marriage, ‘honour’ based-abuse and FGM. Over the past 10 years the charity has extended its original services to also include one-to-one services for survivors and those at risk in Merseyside and Cheshire and a national helpline allowing people across the UK to access support.

Women of Courage runner-up: Amanda O’Keefe

The Community Change award, sponsored by Neo Community and ADDvanced Solutions, was awarded to Barbara Rouse – better known as the “Duchess of Bootle” -for her tireless work over 45 years, helping to bring change to the community she loves through her volunteer work as CEO of Bootle YMCA, Chair of Derby Park and Director of SAFE Community Homes CIC.

Community Change runner-up: Lynsay Armbruster

The Women Making A Difference award, sponsored by Harrogate International Advisory, was won by Dawn Coker, CEO of Access2Funding. Dawn strives to transform the culture of the finance sector, seeking gender equality, aiming to ensure female talent retention and sharing her personal menopause journey to raise awareness regionally and nationally.

Women Making A Difference runner-up: Rachel Daly

A special lifetime achievement award was also presented by Hill Dickinson to Maggie O’Carroll, Co-founder and CEO of The Women’s Organisation, which over the last 25 years has supported more than 70,000 women in the North West to assess their skills, test the viability of an idea, grow in confidence and become economically empowered.

MWOTY Founding Director, Ellie Kerr, said: “It’s been absolutely glorious to be back and celebrating the amazing women in our region – the emotion and excitement in the room was just incredible! I would like to congratulate our Woman of the Year 2022, Jubeda, not just on her win at the awards, but for all the work she has done since establishing Blackfest in 2018.

“I would also like to congratulate all of our category winners and finalists – each and every one of them epitomises the spirit of MWOTY and make our home region the incredibly special place that it is. We welcome them into the MWOTY family and look forward to supporting their future ventures.”