Few people can have accepted an award from their sick bed – but that’s exactly what Laura Hepburn did when she won the Breaking the Mould category at the Tees Businesswomen Awards while suffering from Covid-19.
Laura, MD of Greenology (Teesside), was wearing a fetching pair of leopard-print pyjamas when she heard the good news at the virtual event and announced that she and John Lennon had made being in bed “cool”!
Laura had little choice when it came to her location, as she had been struck down with Covid and was isolating. Not that her illness was going to stop her joining in the fun!
“I’ve always done things differently and there was no way I was not going to be part of such an amazing awards ceremony,” laughed Laura.
“I was so honoured to be a finalist and I was determined to cheer on all the amazing people involved.”
It fell to Joanne Rout from category sponsors ITS to open the golden envelope and proclaim Laura the winner from what she admitted was an impressive line-up of ladies which also comprised Amanda Gardiner from Durham Lifting and Angela Davies from Crime Scene Assist.
“When the shortlists were announced I was so proud,” said Laura. “I recognised Amanda’s and Jane’s names but didn’t know them personally, so I really enjoyed hearing their stories and journeys. I could see their passion and emotion – it was so heartfelt.
“Being a director in business can be lonely sometimes, and that’s why these awards are so wonderful for bringing people together.”
Laura runs Middlesbrough-based Greenology, who promise to turn problem materials into power and value, with a world-leading depolymerisation plant, processing end-of-life tyres into bi-products.
While Laura was thrilled to have been nominated and over the moon to win, for her it’s not just the glitz and glamour of the event that matters – it’s the storytelling and the way people have overcome adversity.
“Everyone has had a tough year,” reflected Laura. “With Greenology, myself and the team have worked so hard to come back from floods and an arson attack.
“We’ve had so many unnecessary barriers put in our way and this fantastic award is recognition for our achievements, right on our doorstep and voted by people in the Tees Valley.”
The Northern Skills Group-sponsored awards are certainly becoming a much-anticipated event in the region, not only as a way to celebrate the magnificent businesswomen here, but as a way of building and strengthening the female network.
“For many years the Tees Valley has had clubs, groups, same old faces, and if your face did not fit or you did not give the right nod, it was hard to be accepted,” said Laura.
“I’m so glad to see that there are people changing the way business is being done. Levelling up has to be delivered in so many ways, and that means being inclusive.
“The biggest winner from the Tees Businesswomen Awards is a voice for the Tees Valley. Let’s keep championing these amazing journeys and businesses and make sure that we keep shouting about this wonderful place and people.”