Now in its 14th year, the Novi Leadership Summit and Awards honours the impact of female leadership, innovation and entrepreneurism in business.

We continue to use our platform to showcase the achievements of women breaking barriers across the public and private sectors, giving them the recognition and visibility, they need to inspire the next generation of leaders. These women are changing lives and transforming the UK’s businesses, communities, and industries.

They are the audacious ones, the innovative transformational female leaders – the game changers – the unstoppable ones.

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Lights, Camera, Action!


10:30Registration and Networking 
11:20Call into the venue
11:30Host’s welcome 
11:40Keynote address – TBC
11:55Panel 1 – TBC
12:50Category winners announced
14:05Dessert and coffee
14:25Panel 2: TBC
14:50Business Woman of the Year 2023 
Emma Wright – Partner, Harbottle & Lewis, Head of Tech, Data & Digital
15:05Winner announced – Business Woman of the Year 2024
15:15Closing remarks – Griselda Togobo, CEO, Novi
15:25Charity raffle prizes & photographs of winners
15:30 onwardsNetworking and post awards drinks


Joanna Jensen

Founder & Executive Chairman

Childs Farm

Joanna Jensen is the Founder & Executive Chairman of the UK’s number one baby and children’s toiletry brand, Childs Farm. In July 2020, she also launched an adult brand Farmologie following huge demand from women and parents.

As well as being an entrepreneur, Joanna is a mother of two, Mimi and Bella.  They were the inspiration behind the launch of Childs Farm and the products she created, as they both had sensitive skin and nothing on the market worked

Professor Nigel Lockett

BSc, MSc, PhD

University of Strathclyde

Professor Nigel Lockett is a senior academic, experienced mentor, serial entrepreneur and community leader. Currently an Emeritus Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde, mentor to founders of innovative startups in the TwinklHive business accelerator and contributor to the Qualitas GP Pathway to Partnership programme. Nigel is also a Fellow and past President of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and to raise awareness he blogs as The Dyslexic Professor. He also has more than 30 years experience as a company director, with a track record in managing start-up, joint venture and social enterprises.

Debra White

Rt. Customer Experience Director

Small Business Banking, HSBC

Recently retired Customer Experience Director, Small Business Banking, HSBC UK Debra White has been a Retail and Commercial Banker with HSBC Group for the last 40 years and in September 2016 took on the national role of Customer Experience Director for Business Banking Small Business. Previously Debra was the Regional Director for Small Business in the North region.

Debra spent three years as a Retail Area Manager developing a team of twenty Branch Managers in West Yorkshire and leading the Premier and Wealth proposition. Following this Debra was a Retail Branch Manager at key flagship branches in Huddersfield, York and then became a Branch Director in Leeds City delivering strategy and leading a customer service ethos. In her retirement Debra is now the secretary and volunteer at a local foodbank and NHS Responder.  

Lisa Kelly

Head of BTC UK & Ireland

BTC UK & Ireland

Lisa assumed the role of Head of BTC UK & Ireland in January 2016. She is also a member of the BASF Plc Leadership team. Having a strong passion for diversity & inclusion, Lisa represents BASF with WISE (Women in Science and Engineering). She also currently Chairs the Executive Committee for BACS (British Association for Chemical Specialities)

Her working career started as a Laboratory Technician at Magnesium Elektron (part of British Alcan) and then as a Sales Correspondent at Degussa Ltd.

Having joined the Fine Chemical Sales business at BASF plc in 1989, Lisa was delegated to Switzerland between 2001-2004 where she was North Europe Aroma Chemicals Manager. On her return to the UK she became Head of Sales Detergents & Formulators for BTC UK, BASF’s in-house chemical distribution company.

Ajaz Ahmed



Ajaz Ahmed is best known for being the founder of Freeserve, which was once the UK’s largest ISP and is now known as Orange broadband. He came up with the idea when he bought a computer and nobody in the store could tell him how to get into the internet, the rest, as they say, is history. He persuaded Dixons to launch Freeserve and it was eventually sold by Dixons to France Telecom for £1.6bn.

Julianne Antrobus

Nuclear Energy Specialist

Julianne is a nuclear energy specialist with over 20 years experience of working in the sector in strategic, commercial and operational roles. She describes herself as “a passionate leader who works with an exceptional team and delivers success by building high performing teams and creating an environment of empowerment, inclusivity, respect, trust and most importantly fun”.

She encourages the next generation through being an active Mentor on the 30% Club Mentoring Programme, Partner sponsor of PA Women’s Network and Senior Advisor to Women in Nuclear Executive. She is a passionate and award winning STEM ambassador who proactively seeks out opportunities to give as many young people access to a career in STEM.

In 2019, Julianne won the Forward Ladies STEM Leader of the Year award, and is now sitting on the other side of the table as a judge.

Hannah Duraid

CEO & Founder

Gameshow All-Stars

Hannah Duraid is a Multi-Award-Winning young entrepreneur behind the escape room attraction, The Great Escape Game. A fully immersive experience where customers enter into a themed, Crystal-maze style adventure and must solve a series of puzzles to escape before their time runs out.

Launched in 2015, today the business has developed across three sites, boasting bars and kitchens, 17 escape room experiences, as well as being proud to be home to Yorkshire’s only 18+ escape game, that was featured on channel 4’s “Don’t Tell the Bride”.

As well as this Hannah consults for a femtech company, Hyivy Health.

Gillian Hosier

Head of Philanthropy

The Open University

Gillian is Head of Philanthropy for The Open University and brings over 11 years’ experience in fundraising for the higher education sector, working with a diverse range of trusts and foundations, corporate organisations and private indivdiuals. Gillian grew up near Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire and is passionate about supporting the local area, having served as trustee to a local youth mental health charity, as a school governor and editor of her villages parish magazine. She lives in a small village near the city, with her partner and Kira the dog.

Erica King

Director, Financial Accounting Advisory Services

Grant Thornton

Erica is a fellow of the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) with over twenty years’ professional services experience, working with Accenture, PricewaterhouseCoopers, RSM and now Grant Thornton. Erica is the Director of the Business Process Solutions practice and has significant expertise in business process improvement and change management. She has led several outsourcing implementation projects for mid-sized businesses and specialises in advising clients with implementing digitally enabled onshore and offshore outsourcing solutions that help them to optimise operations and manage cost and risk mitigation.

She is also a busy mum of 2 boys and is passionate about supporting women to excel in the workplace.






Griselda Togobo



Griselda began her career as an electrical engineer, she then veered into business having been influenced by the challenges and successes that her parents experienced as entrepreneurs. She trained and qualified as a chartered accountant with one of the BIG 4 professional services firms but now runs her own businesses, Novi included. Griselda is a mother of two beautiful children. She is extremely passionate about positively impacting the future of women and girls in the workforce. Griselda joined Novi as a member and was hooked.

Emma Wright

Partner, Co-founder

Harbottle & Lewis, Playfinder

Emma Wright leads the Technology, Data, and Digital team at Harbottle and Lewis. She excels in bridging law and business, specializing in AI, cyber, digital infrastructure, and Ofcom regulation. Her expertise extends to advising on emerging tech, online safety, cyber security, and legal tech, with notable speaking engagements and advisory roles, including with UNESCO. She is also a co-founder of the Inter-parliamentary Forum on Emerging Technology and has received numerous awards for her contributions to the tech industry, including Transformational Leader Of The Year and Business Woman Of The Year for the Novi Awards 2023 and recognition in Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Women in Tech list.



Awards Categories

Entrepreneur Categories

These categories celebrate entrepreneurs. They are the women who founded or run businesses and maintain control and interest in their business.

Start Up of the Year

This award is for women who have started a new business and is within the first 5 years of trading.

Female Entrepreneur of the Year

This award is for women who own or run a business. The must been trading for more than 5 years with demonstrable growth.

Disruptor / Innovator of the Year

Recognises an individual who demonstrates creative, innovative, or unique approaches to solving problems or product innovation.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

This award is for women under 30 who own or run their own business. The applicant should ideally be able to demonstrate their current involvement in the successful business venture.

Corporate Categories

These categories celebrate female leaders and rising stars

Transformational Leader of the Year

This award is for women who are working in a leadership role. These women will have had 15+ years of experience of leadership and evidence they have driven the business forward with exceptional results. They will also have evidence of mentoring people along with examples of community engagement.

Emerging Leader of the Year

This category is for women working less than 15 years within an organisation large or small. They should demonstrate personal and business progression, demonstrating leadership potential.

Rising Star of the Year

The Rising Star Award is about celebrating and recognising the achievements of those at the beginning of their career or new in an industry.

STEM Leader of the Year

This award is for women in a senior position working within the male dominated sectors such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. They should be able to demonstrate the positive impact of their role to the industry in which they work and show examples of how they have encouraged other women to join the sector.

Women on Boards

This category is dedicated to women in Non-Executive and trustee roles on boards. The Award will provide much-needed visibility to women across industries in both private and public sectors. This award will recognise and celebrate women on boards to inspire the next generation of women aspiring to board roles

Joint Categories

These categories are open to both entrepreneurs and established career women

Inspiring Mentor of the Year

This award is for women who have a track record in mentoring and developing future leaders.

Education / Academic Leader of the Year

This award celebrates women working within academia or the education sector.

Social Impact of the Year

This award is open to any woman who is creating or delivering digital products, programmes, or services for positive social impact.

Public / Third Sector Leader of the Year

This award is for women who either run or who are employed to work or who volunteer a significant amount of their time working within public sector or charity organisations.

Special Awards

Business Woman of The Year

This award will be presented to the woman who scored most highly across the judging criteria and will be announced at the National Grand Final.

One to Watch

Ones to Watch is a special status awarded to an individual showing promise and potential for the future who the judges want to acknowledge.