Inspirational women across Hull and East Yorkshire recognised at long-awaited Women of Achievement Awards

The winners of the Women in Business (WIB) Women of Achievement Awards (WOAA) were recently announced at a ceremony held at the Mercure Hotel, Willerby.

One of the region’s longest running awards, the WOAA celebrates the achievements of businesswomen across Hull and East Yorkshire who either run their own business or hold a leading role in their profession, industry, organisation or charity. The winners, nominees and guests were joined by one of Britain’s best-known television and radio personalities, Gloria Hunniford OBE, as this year’s guest speaker.

Carol Ideson, who runs the company Carol Ideson Funding and Advice, was announced as the winner of the Overall Women of Achievement Award, which was sponsored by Smailes Goldie Group.

This was a unanimous decision by the judges, who said they felt privileged to give this honour to Carol, agreeing that her impressive contribution to the city has made a huge difference to so many people’s lives – bringing in over £12m in total to the city for local charities and SMEs.

Natalie Houfe, chair of Women in Business Hull, said: “This is the first WOAA since 2018 due to COVID. We’ve worked incredibly hard over the past few years and I’m so proud of and grateful to the WIB committee, the nominees and the sponsors for making this a reality again, as none of this would be possible without them.

“The room looked and felt amazing and buzzed with excited energy from almost 400 guests. We had some incredible finalists, and the winners received the most beautiful bespoke glass blown trophies. We also had some fun goodie bags to make the guests smile.”

Winners also included Harriet Dunn, of Title Split, who was awarded the New Business Award, particularly recognising her drive and commitment. Meanwhile, Maria Gillum from Ideal Heating was awarded the Women in STEM Award – a new award this year – for her work as a senior design engineer as well as her role as a STEM ambassador.  And Jo Leigh-Thompson from Foxglove Care Limited secured the Female Entrepreneur Award, as the judges were impressed by her willingness to take risks to grow her business.

Natalie continued: “Our guest speaker Gloria Hunniford was, of course, full of charisma and entertaining with her cheeky stories. She was inspirational, and spoke personally about the loss of her daughter through breast cancer. Almost the entire room stood to their feet when she asked those to stand who had been affected by or knew someone affected by cancer.

“We also raised just over £6,000 for our chosen charity, HER Breast friends, which is incredible.

“The Women of Achievement Awards is such a celebration and acknowledgement of success and achievement. They inject massive inspiration, encouragement and confidence into our local businesses and the business sector.

“I’d like to give a massive congratulations to this year’s winners and nominees – the next WOAA will be 2024 so watch this space!”

Women in Business Women of Achievement Award winners: 

New Business Award, sponsored by Harrison Solway

Harriet Dunn, founder and director at Title Split

Established Business Award, sponsored by Victory Leisure Homes

Katie Taylor MBE, proprietor at Drewtons Farm Shop and The Manor Rooms

Voluntary Award, sponsored by Jadan Press

Sian Broughton, CEO at East Riding Voluntary Action Services Ltd

Apprentice/Trainee Award, sponsored by Bishop Burton College

Nina Weldrick, apprentice technician at Ideal Heating

Women in STEM Award, sponsored by Ansell

Maria Gillum, senior design engineer at Ideal Heating

Female Entrepreneur Award, sponsored by Lexus Hull

Jo Leigh-Thompson, director at Foxglove Care Limited

Women Breaking Boundaries Award, sponsored by MKM Building Supplies

Helen Villameura, engineering director at Ideal Heating

Employee of the Year Award, sponsored by Pace Communications

Tracey Watson, director of Global Product Portfolio Management at Ansell

Judges Award, awarded at the judges’ discretion

Sue Sedgewick, lead solicitor and director at Affordable Justice

Lifetime of Achievement Award, sponsored by The One Point

Carol Ideson, charity bid writer and advisor at Carol Ideson Funding and Advice

To find out more information about WIB WOAA, visit: