Women of the Year award winners inspire audience


Freeths are proud to have once again sponsored the Women of the Year awards, which celebrated its 37th year of recognising successful and inspiring women at a celebratory lunch at Birmingham Hilton Metropole on Friday 25th October.

More than 600 women attended to see Jennie Johnson MBE, CEO of Kids Allowed Ltd gain the accolade of Business Woman of the Year.  Jennie created Kids Allowed, a childcare company, when looking for childcare for her second child.  Jennie realised her dream of creating a company where childcare ticked all the boxes and has since gone on to win many accolades including an MBE for her services to Apprenticeships. In line with its strong diversity and equality agenda, Freeths set up their NEW (networking events for women) programme and over the past few years have seen this gain momentum across the country with over a 1000 members.  What fitting way therefore to celebrate this business community than to sponsor the Woman with Edge award.

The Freeths Woman with Edge award recognises business women who challenge the status quo and understand the road to success is not always straight.   We are delighted that Debbie Francis, Managing Director of Direct Rail Services won this award.  Debbie has experience in a wide range of industries including IT and infrastructure and has spent 30 years building on her business career before joining Direct Rail Services in 2016. Freeths look forward to working with Debbie during her 12 month reign as a Woman with Edge.


Woman with Edge Award Winner

L-R - Lisa Gilligan, Freeths; Fiona Allan, winner of Woman with Edge award 2018; Debbie Francis, this year's Woman with Edge winner; Philippa Dempster, Freeths.

National lead for Freeths


NEW programme and Managing Partner of Freeths London office, Philippa Dempster, commented: “There is still a shortage of women in British boardrooms.  At Freeths we are keen to support women to achieve their goals. This is why we have been sponsoring these Awards for that last 10 years and have developed our own female network called NEW (Networking Events for Women).   We think it very important to encourage our best businesswomen to come forward and be recognised, to inspire us all.”

The coveted Woman of Achievement award was presented to the ladies of Grenfell and the Lifetime Achievement award to Pauline Edden, founder of the Women of the Year awards.


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