Businesswomen Awards more important than ever, says PD Ports leader

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

PD Ports CEO Frans Calje says the Tees Businesswomen Awards can create new role models that he believes are more important than ever in these uncertain times.

The Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020 will be held virtually on January 14, 2021, and Frans – pictured above with Tees Business executive editor and one of the event organisers Martin Walker – says he is one of its biggest advocates.

“This world has become such a challenged, complicated and daunting place and to have role models and people that can inspire is more important than ever right now,” he said.

Owners of Teesport – one of the UK’s fastest-growing ports, PD Ports is sponsoring the Most Inspiring category in the 2020 Businesswomen Awards, which will be held virtually due to Covid – and Frans is fully supportive of the decision to move the event online.

“What’s important is for us not to stand still,” he said. “As is life, we will always be presented with challenges we didn’t see coming, but we mustn’t let those challenges define us.

“While it would be fantastic to see everyone together and be part of the incredible atmosphere that these awards bring, it is of greater importance to find a way to come together to promote hope, celebrate success and remind ourselves of the reasons to remain positive about the future.”

Choosing to sponsor the awards is a decision Frans made from a personal as well as a business stance.

He explained: “I believe in equal and fair chances for all and I want my children, my son and my daughters, to grow up to know and to feel that they too can aspire to become whatever they want to be.

“It’s important in all aspects of business to have the right balance – the dynamics in a team are incredibly important. Passion, vision and hard work are key strengths we recognise in all of our people at PD Ports, regardless of their gender.

“In regards to the awards, it’s important to recognise and celebrate those who go the extra mile to make a difference in our region.

“Hope, encouragement and positive role models are needed now more than ever.

“At PD Ports, we pride ourselves on a culture based on inclusion, encouragement and empowerment and so it was fitting to support a category which seeks to recognise those who inspire others to drive positive change in the Tees Valley.”

As for the attributes needed to win the Most Inspiring category, Frans believes it’s all about being genuine.

“It’s about who you are and how you stand for a fair and compassionate world in which you make a difference to people around you,” he said.

“A simple act of kindness or consideration can make such a difference and especially for people in leadership roles, the impact can be so positively profound.”

With this in mind, Frans is keen that the women of our region stand up and be counted.

“It’s always so easy to criticise and it’s more difficult to praise and encourage, but that’s just where you and everyone else can make the difference.

“So I would encourage anyone to either put yourself or someone else forward. Let’s talk ourselves up! Celebrate success, celebrate life and genuinely celebrate those people who make a difference in our community!”

For further information on sponsoring one of the one remaining award category, Charity/Voluntary, in the Tees Businesswomen Awards, contact Chris Garbutt on 01642 450255 or email

To find out more about how to enter the awards or to nominate someone else, click here.