FDM everywoman in Technology Awards winners announced

The 11th annual FDM everywoman in Technology Awards celebrated the diversity of female talent in the tech sector at a crucial time for women’s career progression.


The winners of the 11th annual FDM everywoman in Technology Awards were announced at an online ceremony last night.

They collectively represent financial services, blue chip brands, academia and enterprise. The aim of the awards is to highlight the achievement of women in tech and to showcase positive role models for the future at a time when countless studies show the benefits of diverse teams for innovation, but amid concerns about the impact of the pandemic on women’s career progression.

The Woman of the Year Award was presented to Dr Asel Sartbaeva [pictured above] of the University of Bath, a world-leading, interdisciplinary chemist who combines cutting edge expertise in mineral physics, crystallography, biology and chemistry to develop emerging and disruptive technologies to address problems in fields as diverse as green energy and global health. Her work on vaccine ensilication (stabilising vaccines without the need for refrigeration) is helping to prevent two million infants worldwide dying from preventable diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis and is at the centre of efforts to ensure low-income countries can access Covid-19 vaccines.

The awards are an annual fixture, but this year three new categories were added to acknowledge C-suite talent and social enterprise:

The Tech for Good Award, sponsored by RS Components, went to Amanda Obidike, Executive Director of STEMi Makers Africa who is upskilling thousands of young Africans with the tech skills to counter youth unemployment.

The CTO/CIO of the Year Award went to Wendy Redshaw, Chief Digital Information Officer, Retail Banking at NatWest Group whose achievements include the implementation of innovative solutions at the height of the pandemic making it possible for two million vulnerable and shielding customers to receive cash safely and securely.

The Digital Transformation Leader Award went to Dionne Haynes, Chief Architect B2B, BP who has been central to BP’s Castrol business achieving $1bn of revenue growth by 2025 and who is described as being integral to the company’s #bpNetZero ambitions.

There were other awards for social impact.  The International Inspiration Award went to Sofie Blakstad, Co-founder and CEO of Hiveonline, a self-taught tech entrepreneur whose business helps women build wealth in rural communities without the need for a bank.

Other Awards include:

  • The Academic Award, sponsored by VMWare, which went to Dr Heidi Christensen, University of Sheffield, a passionate advocate of eradicating the old image of engineering and of women in tech becoming role models for school children.
  • The Team Leader Award which went to Louise Richardson, Engineering Director at American Express for her mentoring and coaching skills.
  • The Leader Award, sponsored by BP, which went to Jessica Colvin, Global Head of Vulnerability Management & Assessments at JPMorgan Chase who is responsible for the business-critical cybersecurity function and who oversaw a reduction of seven million vulnerabilities whilst delivering $2.5m in annual efficiencies.

Young and emerging talent was also recognised by the judges:

The Apprentice Award went to Prisha Bathia, Digital Marketing Apprentice at EMEA Google Store who used Tiktok to reach over 12,500 followers with whom she shared her experiences of embarking on an apprenticeship whilst outside work, she inspires those living with chronic illness to live more successful lives, based on her own personal

The Rising Star Award, sponsored by SUSE, went to Frida Nzaba, a manufacturing engineer at Rolls Royce Plc who began her career as an apprentice, subsequently achieving a first-class degree in mechanical engineering and who spearheads business-critical projects alongside her participation in the company’s Next Generation Women Leaders

The One to Watch Award, sponsored by Computacenter, went to Jana Jhaveri, founder and CEO of World Can Code who, aged just 19, is running workshops to help her fellow students learn to code and web design.

Other Awards presented were:

  • The Innovator Award, sponsored by American Express, which went to Melissa Snover, founder of Nourished which in the past year has launched the world’s first customisable and personalised 3D printed nutritional product, investing over 100,000 lab hours and 18,000+ testing cycles in the process.
  • The Entrepreneur Award, sponsored by Howden Group, which went to Hannah Dawson, Founder and CEO of Futrli, who after nearly losing her pub business from an unexpected £40k vat bill, has created technology solutions that help over 63,000 small businesses avoid similar pitfalls.
  • The Digital Star Award, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group, which went to Dr Larissa Suzuki, Data/AI Practice Lead at Google whose PhD thesis was used to design smart city platforms for over 40 EU cities and who has strived to change the gender balance in tech and engineering throughout her career.
  • The Software Engineer Award, sponsored by NatWest Group, which went to Nelly Kiboi of American Express for her efforts to encourage, train, mentor and develop new engineers.

The role of male allies for female career progression was also recognised. The Male Agent of Change Award went to Hasani Jess, CTO of Simply Business who has driven a cultural shift to embrace diversity and in the process created a higher performing organisation.

Maxine Benson MBE, Co-founder of everywoman, said: “Each of our winners demonstrates the critical role that technology has played over the past year and how continuing advancements are transforming, improving and saving lives. Their achievements are remarkable, and we welcome them into the everywoman family where they will inspire the talent that will follow in their footsteps.”

Sheila Flavell CBE, Chief Operating Officer of FDM Group, added: “These awards provide a crucial platform to showcase the hard work, ingenuity, grit and determination of a new generation of female tech leaders. At a time when the whole country can clearly see the role that science and technology is playing in fighting the pandemic, powering public services, and supporting our NHS, we are rightly celebrating the incredible achievements and future potential of these remarkable women entrepreneurs.”

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