Jane Armitage was crowned Businesswoman of the Year, there was a posthumous Outstanding Contribution Award for Julie Donaldson and Annalice Argyle completed her comeback from drug addiction and homelessness as she won the Inspiring Others category in the third annual Tees Businesswomen Awards.
The Tees Businesswomen Awards were organised as a virtual event by Tees Business in association with Northern Skills Group, the apprenticeships and training arm of Middlesbrough College.
Despite the loss of the usual glamorous event at Wynyard Hall’s Grand Marquee, ladies (and gents) across the region showed solidarity to cheer on remotely as 10 winners were revealed.
A pre-event Zoom reception served to get everyone in the party mood, while host Caroline Theobald CBE and keynote speaker Sara Davies of Dragons’ Den fame kept the spirit of celebration going as the winners were revealed.
In what one of the judging panel called ‘the hardest day of my working life’, 85 incredible entries had been scrutinised and whittled down to 30 outstanding ladies across ten categories – all waiting with baited breath to hear whether they had won a coveted trophy.
Taking the prized Businesswoman of the Year Award, sponsored by Cornerstone Business Solutions, was Jane Armitage of Jacksons Law Firm, who beat off stiff competition from The Ethical Housing Company’s Carla Keegans and Jo Davies from HR Alchemy. Jane impressed judges with her leadership, positivity in the face of the pandemic and passion and commitment to her work.
In a night full of excitement, the Lifelong Inspiration Award sponsored by Faithful+Gould was bittersweet, with winner Professor Jane Turner OBE universally praised, particularly by finalists Katrina Morley and Katy Parkinson, but unable to collect the award herself due to her ongoing treatment for very late stage ovarian cancer. Jane’s Teesside University colleague Sharon Paterson was thrilled to collect the award on Jane’s behalf.
Perhaps the most emotional reaction of the evening came from Annalice Argyle of TRAC UK, winner of the PD Ports-sponsored Inspiring Others category. Annalice’s fellow finalists Paula McMahon and Professor Jane Turner made up a power-packed shortlist, and Annalice’s disbelieving reaction when she won was a picture!
John Proudler collected an Outstanding Contribution Award, presented by Northern Skills Group’s Zoe Lewis, to mark the fantastic work of his much-missed wife Julie Donaldson. The Zetland FM presenter Julie sadly passed away last year after a short battle with Covid.
The Business of the Year award, sponsored by Teesside University, went to Middlesbrough’s Wander Films, triumphing over Intasite and The Ethical Housing Company.
It was the second win of the night for Wander, with director Chloe Clover following up her Rising Star accolade in the Tees Tech Awards by taking home the Durata-sponsored Best Newcomer gong, pipping Laura Hepburn of Greenology (Teesside) and Tracey Jukes of Tracey Jukes Beauty.
It had also been the company’s third appearance of the night, Wander having also been shortlisted in the Best New Business category, sponsored by the Tees Valley Combined Authority. This time, however, it was Hartlepool-based Hogg Global Logistics’ time to shine, with Wander and Bentleys Coffee Shop runners-up.
Other worthy winners were My Sisters Place who won the Charity/Voluntary category, sponsored by Thirteen Group, beating off Rubies and TRAC UK, and Laura Hepburn of Greenology, who claimed the Breaking The Mould award, sponsored by ITS, over Durham Lifting’s Amanda Gardiner and CSI Training and Events’ Angela Davies.
A thrilled Paula McMahon claimed the px Group-sponsored Training and Apprenticeships award on behalf of Sir Robert McAlpine, despite strong entries from Paul J Watson Solicitor and Middlesbrough College, while a smiling Bev Goodall of AbacusBean triumphed in the SME of the Year category, sponsored by Punch Robson Solicitors. It was a second successive win for AbacusBean, who won the Best New Business award in 2019.
Check back here over the next few days for reaction.