Businesses come together to recognise and celebrate women leaders

Full list of winners

Friday 11th October saw hundreds of leaders from businesses, charities and the MK community gather at the Hilton, MK Stadium for the 2019 Women Leaders Awards. Celebrating the achievements and success of women living or working in Milton Keynes, the awards honoured 14 women for their contribution in their respective fields, both employed and volunteers. Hosted by Ruby Parmar, Trustee of WLUK and Chair of the MK Awards and Dr Julie Mills OBE, Group Principal and CEO, MK College, the awards are the pinnacle event for Women Leaders UK as part of its purpose of promoting gender equality and diversity for public benefit. Throughout the year, the organisation works with groups in Milton Keynes to encourage and support young women to study STEM subjects, provide role models and inspire and support women to succeed and reach their potential. This year, the event saw Cindy Rose, CEO of Microsoft UK deliver an inspiring keynote speech encouraging us all to support young women to pursue careers in what have been male dominated industries. She commented “despite obvious challenges, I feel optimistic about the future and empowered to make a difference, and I hope I’ve managed to share some of that optimism with all of you this evening. 

As women leaders, we all have a responsibility to make it easier for the next generation to fulfil their full potential. just as we stood on the shoulders of our mothers and grandmothers, we all have the opportunity to do the same for our daughters and granddaughters.” The winner of the Oustanding Contribution and Engineering, Science and Maths awards, Professor Jane Rickson said, “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to be given these awards. I would like to recognise the amazing achievements of all the nominated and short-listed women. It was fantastic to hear how women leaders are making such a difference in so many different walks of life! In particular, I hope I can use these awards to encourage and even inspire other women (and girls!) to take up exciting and diverse careers in engineering, science and maths….and of course, become the Women Leaders of the future!” Alongside awards for women achieving success in industries from Leisure and Retail to Professional Services, community volunteers and entrepreneurs were also recognised for the inspirational work they are carrying out every day in our region.

Art, Culture and The Creative Industries

Rebecca Carrington, Arts 1

Community Impact, Employed

Vanessa Holmes, MK Hospital Charity

Community Impact, Volunteer

Kurshida Mirza, MK Community Foundation

Digital and Technology

Helen Wylde, Connected Places Catapult

Emerging Leader

Lakechia Jeanne, Girls in Science

Engineering, Science and Maths

Professor Jane Rickson


Susan Thirakornratch, One Earth Organics


Jane Lambert, ECG Training

Leisure and Retail

Mica Whyte, Woughton House

Manufacturing and Construction

Cheryl Brimson, Aero Tec Laboratories Ltd

Professional Services

Zoe Mills, NHBC

Public Services

Sally Alexander, Milton Keynes College


Kelly Haynes, Enigma Fitness

Women Leaders Award

Claire Harris, Pet 2 Places

Outstanding Contribution

Professor Jane Rickson

The awards are also an opportunity for WLUK to raise valuable funds to support the work they do throughout the year with young women in Milton Keynes and although donations are still coming in, the event has been a resounding success which will help towards mentoring and events supporting even more women to reach their potential.

To find out more about Women Leaders UK and the work they do, please visit