Women of the Future Awards: Full shortlist

They’re young, female, and at the top of their fields

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The Independent Online

The Women of the Future Awards is the largest national search for exceptionally talented women. The hunt unearths the next generation of high-flying women across nine industries, including technology, media, business, arts and science. View full shortlist below.

Arts & Culture Woman of the Future

Alexandra Dariescu, concert pianist

Alexandra Dariescu this year became Romania's first ever female solo pianist to perform at the Royal Albert Hall, with the Royal Philharmonic. The performance was front-page news in her native country. A natural communicator, she talks audiences through her music with, in the words of the Royal Philharmonic's executive director Rosemary Johnson, “endearing wit and enthusiasm”.

Jessica Elliott, managing director, J’s Dance Factory and Dancing After School

Twenty five-year-old Jessica Elliott is a high-profile young entrepreneur who, at the age of 20 and armed with £200 and a dream, founded the Dance Factory.  Today, her business provides Dancing after School classes in more than 24 schools across London.

Anna Higgs, head of Film4.0, Film4

Award-winning producer Anna joined Film4 in 2011 as Head of Film4.0. Her first feature for Film4 was Ben Wheatley’s ground-breaking film, A Field In England, with a documentary about Nick Cave currently in development. Anna was named one of Time Out's Culture 100 in 2013, alongside Danny Boyle and Michael Fassbender.

Tamara Ralph, creative director, Ralph & Russo

Creative director Tamara Ralph founded Ralph & Russo in 2007, with CEO Michael Russo, after identifying a gap in the fashion market. Their luxury couture house has, unusually, grown purely by word of mouth. Built without any external investment, Ralph & Russo specialises in couture evening, red carpet, bridal, cocktail, tailoring & daywear, and is worn by superstars such as Beyoncé and Angelina Jolie.

Charlotte Wakefield, musical theatre artist

Charlotte Wakefield is one of Britain's most promising young musical theatre artists. Her performance as Maria in the 2013 Regent's Park Theatre production of The Sound of Music won huge praise. She has also built a huge fan base through her own You Tube channel where she inspires aspiring performers with clips, interviews and advice.

Businesswoman of the Future

Kate Cawley, creative director, WasteSolve

In 2006, Kate Cawley was invited to join her 250-employee family waste management business, F&R Cawley. Using marketing skills honed at Reuters, she spotted the significance of the emerging anaerobic digestion technology. She's gone on to triple turnover at the WasteSolve division, winning clients such as Red Bull and Westfield Shopping Centres.

Zoe Cunningham, managing director, Softwire

Having joined as a graduate programmer in 2000, in 2012 Zoe Cunningham was made managing director of the 80-employee software agency Softwire. She's the founder of technology networking company Tech Talkfest. She presents two radio shows on London community stations, is a keen technology blogger (with articles on Computer Weekly and The Guardian websites) and is the Ladies' World Backgammon Champion 2010.

Kerry-Anne Lawlor, director, field dynamics, Openreach

Electrical engineer Kerry-Anne Lawlor joined BT on graduation and, in 2013, was appointed a director of Openreach, with a brief to improve service levels. This she's done in spades, reducing service lead times and delivering big savings. Kerry-Anne, 33, also promotes engineering to young people through her work for the WISE (Women into Science and Engineering) network.

Emily Makinson, associate director, RBS

Emily Makinson joined RBS’s Corporate Banking graduate scheme in 2008, rapidly progressing to associate director managing a portfolio of healthcare companies. Having been a national trampolinist, Emily is now captain of a netball team in addition to competitive baking in her spare time. She has recently passed her ACA exams.

Beth Stannard, head of mortgage finance, TSB

As head of mortgage finance for TSB, Beth has built a finance business from scratch, overseen the movement of £18.4bn of customer mortgages to the newly established TSB, while creating best-in-class colleague and cultural development programmes, helping colleagues to succeed across the organisation.

Women of the Future – Entrepreneur of the Year

Jess Butcher, CMO & co-founder, Blippar

As co-founder and chief marketing officer of visual discovery/augmented reality business, Blippar, Jessica Butcher is a pioneer in UK technology. In essence, Blippar has the power to convert any physical image in the real world into an instantaneous, interactive content experience, simply by “looking at it” through the camera of the device.  With significant venture capital backing, Blippar has been used by more than three million consumers and by many of the world's major media businesses.

Sara Davies, founder and sales director, Crafter’s Companion

Sara Davies is founder of Crafter’s Companion, an international business that designs/manufactures craft-related products. She is head of the board of directors at the Craft Hobby Association UK, an investor with Gabriel Investors, a director at sports brand Natural Hero and a mentor with Entrepreneurs Forum and the UKTI’s Catalyst group.

Jenny Griffiths, founder and CEO, Snap Fashion

Jenny Griffiths is the founder and CEO of Snap Fashion, a digital platform whose pioneering technology is changing the way we shop. Jenny is a computer science graduate who invented the visual search algorithms that power Snap Fashion, and has grown Snap from a bright idea into a business with more than 160,000 users.

Melissa Morris, CEO, Network Locum

Having learned first-hand that flexible staffing could improve the services that GP practices provide to patients whilst reducing the cost, Melissa Morris, an ex-McKinsey & Co management consultant, left her high-flying job  to launch Network Locum, an online platform that connects locum doctors and GP practices. Already almost 900 GP practices have signed up and monthly revenues are soaring.

Natasha Rufus Isaacs & Lavinia Brennan, founders & directors, Beulah London

Beulah London was created in 2009 after founders Natasha Rufus Isaacs and Lavinia Brennan worked at the Atulya-an aftercare home in the Delhi slums. Having witnessed the harrowing effects of human trafficking and the sex trade, they started their luxury English womenswear brand that uses fashion to raise awareness of these issues. This is fashion with a heart.

MBA Star Award

Tahreem Arshad, MBA student, London Business School

Tahreem Arshad is reading for an MBA at London Business School, and is the producer of Food4Thought, a community engagement show. She is an LBS scholar, a class teaching assistant, a chartered accountant and graduated cum laude from McGill University.

Ritika Dave, student, Cambridge Judge Business School

A doctor by training, a culinary enthusiast at heart and an MBA by choice, Ritika Dave has tasted medicine as a clinician, a researcher and a business woman. She envisions a world without cancer and has worked to develop its cure. She strives to provide accessible affordable care for all.

Beth Hepworth, director and co-founder, Frontier Middle East and Africa

Beth Hepworth is director and founder of Frontier Middle East and Africa, a research, publishing and advisory firm focusing on economically exciting frontier markets, and which recently received venture capital investment to support its expansion across sub-Sahara Africa and Asia. Beth speaks Arabic and French and has a previous degree in Arabic and Middle East Politics and Economics from the University of Durham. 

Izindi Visagie, founder, Ivy Legal

Having completed her MBA at Cass Business School, and subsequently monitoring venture capital deals as part of Cass's Entrepreneurship Fund, Izindi Visagie created Ivy Legal, which carries out planning enforcement for local authorities. The law firm provides the full planning enforcement service, from investigations to prosecutions and direct action.

Women of the Future – Media Award

Emma Barnett, women’s editor, Daily Telegraph

Emma Barnett is women's editor of the Daily Telegraph, heading up Telegraph Wonder Women. She presents an award-winning weekly radio show on LBC 97.3 and makes documentaries for BBC Radio 4. She's also a guest presenter for Radio 4 – currently the youngest ever guest presenter of Woman's Hour!

Garazi Goia, head of commercial management, BBC

Garazi Goia is head of commercial management at the BBC, responsible for managing multi-million pound contracts and driving the recently approved HD (high-definition) strategy. A telecoms engineer by training, she is a published author of two fiction novels.

Naomi Kerbel, multi-platform producer, Sky News

Actress-turned-banker Naomi Kerbel re-trained as a broadcast journalist after the financial crisis hit. She now produces and presents content on business, science and technology on Sky News, and is a strong advocate of getting more women into and onto all media platforms.

Heidi Lindvall, CEO and co-founder, CODOC and Storygami

Inspired by visiting war-torn Sri Lanka, Heidi is the co-founder and CEO of two companies: CODOC, an award-winning documentary platform, and Storygami, an interactive online video start-up. Heidi is also a member of Virgin Media Pioneers young entrepreneurship program and her company Storygami received backing from Sir Richard Branson.

Cat McShane, senior development producer, Maverick Television

Cat McShane is a filmmaker, broadcaster and writer with a gift for accessing hitherto hidden worlds, such as the Orthodox Jewish community for a BBC2 film. Her first film for Channel 4, about the world of adult doll's house collectors, was received to much professional acclaim.

Neev Spencer, lunchtime radio presenter, KISS FM 100 London

KISS FM’s DJ Neev (British Asian) is now one of the UK's most listened-to commercial radio presenters, with more than 1.7 million listeners weekly. Neev's passions are: presenting, charity work, her mum, brother and cars. She's Nike's one and only female DJ for their female outdoor events.

Women of the Future – the professionals

Diana Foxlee, financial analyst, British Sky Broadcasting

An alumnus of Birmingham University and ICI’s graduate training programme, Diana Foxlee is now making a huge impression at British Sky Broadcasting. Recently qualified as a CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) accountant, mother-of-two Diana has been at the forefront of managing Sky’s investments in broadband, entertainment programming and, most recently, its West London campus.

Hayley Gryc, associate, Arup

Structural engineer Hayley Gryc leads the health and education sector for engineering business Arup’s international development group. She was a lead engineer on the Copper Box – the handball arena for the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games, and manages a pro bono kindergarten project in Ghana.

Vicki Heard, director, international tax and treasury, KPMG

Vicki Heard is a corporate tax director in Manchester, leading KPMG's northern treasury team. She advises a number of financial sector clients, including Aldermore Bank, Shawbrook Bank and the Co-operative Banking Group.

Natalie Jackson, mechanical rotating equipment field engineer – St Fergus Gas Terminal, Shell UK

Natalie Jackson is the first woman in Shell to hold the role of mechanical rotating equipment field engineer at the St Fergus Gas Terminal, which supplies ten per cent of the UK's gas. She is responsible for the integrity and maintenance of high reliability of all rotating machinery on site and is the acting team lead of 13 technicians.

Dr Sarah Perkins, programme director: research and head of research strategy, Imperial College London

Dr Sarah Perkins is programme director: research and head of research strategy at Imperial College. She is in charge of the Academic Health Science Centre £160m annual research budget. Sarah is responsible for implementating the faculty’s research strategy. “Her great skill lies in her wide knowledge base, quick mind and ability to see linkages that are not readily apparent,” says vice-dean Professor Jonathan Weber.

Sarah Pierce, director, RBS

Described as an “intrapreneur” and “deal-doer”, Sarah Pierce made director aged 25 in RBS’s structure finance business. That's just part of what makes her special. She founded RBS’s Community Leaders initiative and Fresh Joiners mentoring network, and runs a football club on her home council estate in east London! She operates with the upmost of integrity and compassion in all she does.

Women of the Future – Community Spirits

To recognize the extraordinary and varied contributions of this year's candidates, in 2013 we have created a wider "Community Spirits" award (replacing the Public Service category)

Molly Case, student nurse and writer, University of Greenwich

Molly Case has forged an unusual career path, combining creative writing and nursing. She leapt to public attention when she performed her “Nursing the Nation” poem at the Royal College of Nursing annual congress, where she received a standing ovation. It's been viewed 300,000 times since, and Molly has become an exemplar for nursing in the UK.

Alexandra Chalat, executive director, Beyond Sport

Alexandra is executive director of Beyond Sport, the global organisation that supports initiatives triggering positive social change through sport. A keen journalist, she's writing a book about how sport can trigger socio-economic change in disadvantaged communities.

Julie Chappell, head, emerging powers department and GREAT campaign, prosperity directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Julie Chappell is head of the emerging powers department and “Great” campaign in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Her role is to strengthen relationships between the UK and emerging world powers through, among other things, the £30m flagship “Great” campaign that showcases the best of British in growth economies where the UK may be less well known. Her previous role, as HM ambassador to Guatemala, made her the youngest ever UK ambassador.

Anne-Marie Imafidon, collaboration community manager, Deutsche Bank

Anne-Marie Imafidon was the youngest girl ever to pass A-level Computing (at 11!) and one of the youngest to be awarded a Masters degree in Mathematics and Computer Science by Oxford University, at just 20. Today, she runs the Communities of Practice programme at Deutsche Bank, and has founded the Stemettes project to inspire the next generation of females into science, technology, engineering and maths.

Women of the Future – Technology & Digital

Due to the strength of this year's candidates, we have created this new category to recognise talented, ground-breaking young women from the worlds of digital and technology.

Saritha Arunkumar, senior security architect, IBM UK

Saritha Arunkumar is IBM's leading security and subject matter expert, working out of the world-renowned Hursley Laboratory.  Her work is in the critical fields of identity, access, federation-management and enterprise security solutions – in other words, ensuring the privacy of services and devices in a mobile world. A mother, wife and a part-time PHD Student in mobile security, Saritha combines deep technical and great communication skills.

Sophia Pretoria George, chair, designer, Swallowtail Games

Sophia George is co-founder of Swallowtail Games, an independent games studio that released the “BAFTA Ones to Watch”-winning Tick Tock Toys in 2013. Sophia is the Victoria & Albert Museum's first game-designer-in-residence, enabling her to research and design a game based on the British 1500–1900 galleries and running public events.

Thea Hamren, associate creative director, DigitasLBi

Thea Hamren is an associate creative director at global marketing and technology agency DigitasLBi. She is a conceptual creative who is focused on storytelling, whether through pictures, words or moving images. Thea has worked on award-winning campaigns for brands including Sony Mobile, the Guardian and the world's first online knitting machine.

Kathryn Parsons, founder, Decoded

Kathryn Parsons founded Decoded in January 2011, with a vision to teach people “Code in a Day” and to pioneer a global zeitgeist around code education. She's overseeing the international expansion of the business, including Decoded New York and Singapore, and the development of new products such as “Data in a Day.”

Women of the Future – Science

In 2013, the Women of the Future awards organisers have decided to create a dedicated new “Science” category, recognising a group of truly remarkable young female scientists, forging new ground in research and scientific achievement.

Eleni Antoniadou, chief of science, Transplants Without Donors

Eleni Antoniadou is one of the world's most innovative researchers, working in the field of artificial organ development as a therapeutic pathway for transplantations. Her interest in space exploration has led her to conducting research for NASA. She volunteers in medical missions helping children who have been victims of the illegal organ trading.

Dr Ling Ge, manager, EPSRC UK National Service for Computational Chemistry Software (NSCCS), Imperial College

Dr Ling Ge is manager of the EPSRC UK National Service for Computational Chemistry Software at Imperial College London. She is a columnist for the Financial Times and Wired magazine, giving her a platform to promote science, innovation and public health across the globe. She is a quantum physicist and winner of BSA Media Fellowship.

Rebecca Hill, staff scientist analytic development, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies UK

Rebecca Hill was awarded a BSc Chemistry (2.1) and a PhD in tissue engineering from the University of Sheffield. Rebecca’s research in stem cells at Durham University provided the basis to establish Clarinnisbio Ltd. She is now based at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies where she oversees analysis of biopharmaceuticals for customers worldwide.

Dr Angelica Ronald, senior lecturer in psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London

Angelica received a first in experimental psychology at Oxford; a PhD from the Institute of Psychiatry; an Autism Speaks-funded postdoctoral fellowship; and then became lecturer in psychological science at Birkbeck College London. She researches the genetic and environmental causes of developmental mental health conditions.

Lara Small, team leader, next generation nuclear propulsion programme, Rolls-Royce

After an outstanding academic career in aerospace, Lara Small moved into the fast track at Rolls-Royce, specialising in metallic surface treatment technology for the aerospace industry. She currently serves with the Royal Engineers in Nottingham, is a council member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and an avid campaigner promoting careers in engineering.

Dr Janice Turner, technical project manager, Roke Manor Research

Janice Turner recently completed her doctorate at University College London while working full-time at Roke Manor Research. She is the inventor of gekko, a new technology that has the potential to revolutionise wireless communication. She has four patent applications, authored numerous technical publications and actively promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics to the next generation.

The Young Star Award

Hannah Coltart, higher finance apprentice, Visa Europe

A pioneering Visa Europe higher finance apprentice, Hannah Coltart has yet to work a full year for the company but has already impressed three departments, led projects, volunteered for multiple good causes, fast-tracked her further education and stepped forward at every opportunity. She’s a dynamo, inspiration and future business leader.

Helena Eccles, project manager – dare to be different diversity program, IBM

Helena is a mature, motivated and innovative individual. She has an inspirational presence and drive that stands her appart from her peers. She has led through innovation and is an inspiration to those around her.

Robyn Lydia May, operations executive, MediaCom

Robyn competed against 500+ others for a place on the MediaCom apprenticeship. She swapped jobs with the CEO of the UK’s largest media agency. She now works on the 5th most valuable brand of 2013 and is possibly one of the youngest people to have ever worked on the brand.

Chloe McCorriston, George colleague, Asda

At just 19, Chloe is one of the youngest candidates on the Asda “Step On” management programme. She joined Asda in August 2010, working part-time while studying A’Levels. In May, she chose to follow a management career path with Asda, and is already demonstrating huge promise and a determination to succeed.

Eliza Rebeiro, founder, Lives not Knives

At the age of 13, Eliza Rebeiro was excluded from mainstream school. She concentrated on building a sustainable cause that gave young people a voice. With a strong family to support her, encouraging her that if she wanted something done, she should do it herself, she has created a powerful campaigning group.

Beth Reeks, student/author

Beth Reeks is an undergraduate of Physics at Exeter University having just achieved four A grades at A-Levels in physics, maths, Spanish and French. In the past year she has had two novels published by Random House. She is an avid reader and also enjoys art and music.

Mentor of the Year

Mark Antipof, managing director, growth & emerging markets, Visa Europe

MD of growth & emerging markets, Mark Antipof is a Visa Europe statesman of some 10 years standing, who launched his stellar payments career in the mid-80s. Mark combines a high profile position with a pioneering mentoring practice whose open, positive ethos attracts mentees from diverse areas of the business.

Paul Cleal, government and public sector leader, PwC

Paul joined PwC in 1996 and been a partner since 2001, during which time he has served clients in infrastructure finance and international development while also taking on a number of senior leadership and management roles within PwC UK. He has mentored a significant amount of women through these roles.

Michael Kay, CFO, technology and services, HSBC

Michael Kay moved to HSBC in 2007 where he is CFO of HSBC Technology and Services. With a strong interest in people development Michael has led various successful people initiatives and has been a mentor to several individuals, including the founder of the charity RISE of which he is the chair of the Board of Trustees.

Helen Milford, south regional director, Asda

Having worked in retail for 25 years, Helen is without doubt a great leader, having mentored some 20 colleagues. Today, as well as being a mum to two sons, her decisions at Asda influence buying habits of 11.4m customers per week, 191 stores, 75,000 colleagues and a £10.5billion turnover.

Annalisa Sarasini, global head of sales, smarTrade Technologies

Annalisa is global head of sales at smartTrade Technologies in London. Before joining smartTrade, she was VP of global sales for the Messaging Business Unit of Informatica Corporation. She has been a mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, mentoring women entrepreneurs from developing countries, since June 2012.

David Sheehan, property projects director, Sainsbury’s

David has worked for Sainsbury’s for 35 years and passionately believes that motivated teams and individuals are the cornerstone to a great organization. He became a master coach in 2007 and is heavily involved in the mentoring and development of senior colleagues, whilst also contributing to Sainsbury’s staff Development Days.

Corporate Award

Enterprise Rent-A-Car