woman&home Amazing Women Awards 2022— Meet the winners and learn about their inspirational work

The results are in! Here's everything to know about this year's change-making winners of the woman&home Amazing Women Awards, in partnership with No7

Amazing Women Awards 2022 winners
(Image credit: woman&home/Future)

Prepare to be dazzled by the 13 inspirational winners of this year's Amazing Women Awards, in partnership with No7.

Each year, woman&home pays tribute to the incredible women over 50 whose actions are helping to make the world a better place. The winners this year include household names, businesswomen, community champions, and those whose efforts work towards a more environmentally sustainable future. 

The purpose of these awards, which began back in 2018, is to celebrate the, "utterly brilliant midlife women aged 50 and above making a difference in all walks of life." 

Annie Murphy, Global Chief Commercial Officer, No7 Beauty Company said, “We are delighted to have partnered with woman&home for the Amazing Women Awards 2022 to celebrate and recognize the achievements of such an incredible group of women."

She continues, "As a brand, No7 has a rich heritage in supporting and empowering women to break down barriers and live life on their own terms. No7 was founded in 1935 building on the legacy of Florence Boot who was one of the most successful businesswomen of her generation. Hearing the stories and accomplishments of these amazing women is truly inspiring. I hope by celebrating their achievements we can help to lay the foundations for the next generation of trailblazing women."

Dr Eleanor Bradley, No7 Scientist added, “I’ve been inspired by each of the stories of the 13 amazing women recognized in these awards. It’s so important to make space and time to celebrate achievements and to celebrate these stories to inspire more women to pursue their passions and goals." 

The scientist continued, "Every winner this year has an inspiring story to tell and as a scientist, my personal standout is Professor Sharon Peacock MBE, Executive Director of the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium. The work Sharon and her team have done since the start of the pandemic deserves a tremendous amount of respect as they helped guide and shape our understanding of the virus as well as tracking new variants. I applaud each of the women for being game-changers in their field and look forward to seeing them continue to rise.”

THE 2022 W&H AMAZING WOMEN AWARD WINNERS

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

Shola Asante, 47 and Agnes Cushnie, 50

Shola and Agnes founded their body-positive footwear company Sante + Wade (opens in new tab) in 2019.

What does winning this award mean to you? Agnes: Amazing recognition for our work and our business proposition. 

What’s been the highlight of your career? Shola: When we received our first unsolicited feedback from a customer.

Which women inspire you? Agnes: Any woman who had to fight for a seat at the table and made it easier for us to follow in their footsteps.

What would you most like to achieve? Shola: We would love to connect with more women and become a household name in women’s fashion. 

What’s your shout-out to midlife women? Shola: This is just the beginning! 

What’s your guilty pleasure? Shola: Lindt chocolates.

Agnes: Dancing to the same old-school songs on repeat!

What couldn’t you live without? Shola: A bottle of water and a good book.

Agnes: My family, sunshine, and the opportunity to be creative.

TECH TRAILBLAZER

Amali de Alwis, MBE, 41

Regularly named one of the UK’s Most Influential Women in IT, Amali is CEO of Subak (opens in new tab) and Code First: Girls (opens in new tab). In 2018 she was awarded an MBE for her services to diversity and training in technology. 

What does winning this award mean to you? It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the work being done by women in the tech sector.

What has been the highlight of your career / professional life so far? I’m always excited by building new things and then getting to see the impact that has on others. 

Which women inspire you? Women who build things and go on adventures!

What would you most like to achieve? Solving climate change, but alas that’s more than a one-person job, so I’d say to simply leave the world in a better state than I found it.

What’s your shout-out to midlife women? You’re never too old or too young to start a new venture.

What’s your guilty pleasure? Books, computer games, shoes, food. Although I don’t often feel guilty about enjoyable things!

What couldn’t you live without? Sunshine.

ANIMAL WELFARE SUPPORTER

Jilly Halliday, 56

Bee conservationist Jilly founded The Broomley Bee Project (opens in new tab) and is also part of the Scillonian Bee Project (opens in new tab).

What does winning this award mean to you? It means that messages are getting through and that passion wins the day. 

What’s been the highlight of your career? Taking a group of excited children and beekeepers to Kew Gardens to accept the coveted Bees Needs Award we’d won.

Which women inspire you? The conservationists and researchers who support me and push me forward. Also the many women who juggle family life while doing good in the community.

What would you most like to achieve? To ring-fence the Isles of Scilly from the import of bees to protect their biodiversity.

What’s your shout-out to midlife women? Embrace aging naturally and gracefully. Own the skin you’re in!

What’s your guilty pleasure? Hot buttered toast with fresh honey from my bees.

What couldn’t you live without? Bees, my wonderful family and girlfriends, and my trusted HRT!

HERITAGE HERO

Esme Ward, 51

Director of the Manchester Museum (opens in new tab), Esme also sits on the National Museum’s Director’s Executive Council.   

What does winning this award mean to you?  Recognition for the hard work of myself and the brilliant team at the museum. 

What’s been the highlight of your career/professional life? Becoming the first-ever woman to be appointed Director was pretty special. Also, leading our ground-breaking work on repatriation. 

Which women inspire you? So many, past and present including Lydia Becker, natural scientist and early leader of the British suffrage movement.

What’s your shout-out to midlife women? Work out what makes your heart beat faster, personally and professionally, and commit to doing it.

What would you most like to achieve? I hope when we reopen next February that the museum becomes more widely, deeply loved and shifts our understanding and expectations of what museums and heritage can do to build empathy, care and understanding for our world and each other.

What’s your guilty pleasure? A disproportionate love of jelly babies maybe, but I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. 

What couldn’t you live without? Beyond my nearest and dearest, the hills of The Peak District.

CHILDREN’S CHAMPION

Dr Rachel O’Connell, 52

Founder and CEO of age verification platform, TrustElevate (opens in new tab), Rachel’s lifelong commitment is to keep children safe online.

What does winning this award mean to you? Wonderful recognition of two and a half decades of hard work! 

What’s been the highlight of your career? Juggling being a university lecturer and completing my PhD with setting up and running a research center and raising my child alone—at the same time!

Which women inspire you? Baroness Beeban Kidron, who spearheaded the ICO's age-appropriate design code and Baroness Joanna Shields, with whom I worked at Bebo. 

What’s your shout out to midlife women? It’s the best time of life because we are more confident in our ability to deal with whatever life throws at us.

What would you most like to achieve? The roll-out of age verification and parental consent online to help create a safer internet. To see lawmakers and regulators ensure that companies behave responsibly toward children.

What’s your guilty pleasure? Sunday morning Twitter scrolling! 

What couldn’t you live without? The internet.

CELEBRITY AMBASSADOR

Sally Lindsay, 48 

Actor, writer and presenter Sally is ambassador for Demelza Hospice for Children (opens in new tab).

What does this award mean to you? I’m deeply honored, but it’s all about raising the profile of this charity and its magical hospices. 

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

Producing, writing, and starring in my own hit show The Madame Blanc Mysteries. In my personal life, being in love with my husband for 18 years and giving birth to my twins.

Which women inspire you? My mum and my gran; amazing, strong, northern women. Of my contemporaries, I’m in awe of Dawn French, Julie Walters, Victoria Wood, and Emma Thompson. Also, Emmeline Pankhurst.

What would you most like to achieve? I would like to keep making programs that have women at their heart and display natural diversity to reflect the society we live in today. 

What’s your shout-out to midlife women? When you are in a room full of men telling you what to do, remember your experience, voice and opinion is vital and needs to be heard. 

What’s your guilty pleasure? Watching Columbo on a Sunday whilst cooking a roast.

What couldn’t you live without? My dog.


ENVIRONMENTALIST OF THE YEAR

Rebecca Wrigley, 52

CEO and Co-founder of Rewilding Britain (opens in new tab) Rebecca has worked in the voluntary and public sectors for 23 years, with roles at the World Wildlife Fund and Oxfam. 

What does winning this award mean to you? It was lovely to feel recognized for all the work that goes on behind the scenes at Rewilding Britain.

What’s been the highlight of your career? The success of our network established for people who need support in their rewilding projects. 

Which women inspire you? My Dutch grandma. She helped establish an influential radio station and hid a Jewish boy in her house during the war at huge personal risk.

What would you most like to achieve? To see rewilding become part of the way we view and manage our land and seas. 

What’s your shoutout to midlife women? Acceptance of who you are is liberating. Enjoy no longer having to try to impress.

What’s your guilty pleasure? Strictly Come Dancing!

What couldn’t you live without? Beyond family and friends, experiences in nature that are regenerating, rejuvenating and awe-inspiring. 


CHARITY HEAD

Melanie Waters OBE, 54

CEO of Help for Heroes (opens in new tab) since 2016, Melanie ensures that life-changing support is available to wounded veterans and their families, for as long as they need it. 

What does winning this award mean to you? It was humbling and makes some of the challenges I have faced in my career feel worth it. 

What's been the highlight of your career? Being awarded an OBE.

Which women inspire you? The women I work with supporting veterans and their families and women in the Armed Forces. Also, women who give up their dreams to enhance the lives of others. 

What would you most like to achieve? Right now, that every person who leaves the Armed Forces lives well and feels valued.

What's your shout-out to midlife women? Be kind to yourself. 

What's your guilty pleasure? Tony’s Chocolonely milk caramel sea salt flavor chocolate!

What couldn't you live without? Purpose. On a more practical level, Formula One and my driving license.


SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR

Lucy Shuker, 41

Wheelchair tennis athlete Lucy (opens in new tab)is a triple Paralympic medallist and former Wimbledon finalist.

What does winning this award mean to you? To be recognized for my sporting achievements is always humbling. 

What's been the highlight of your career? The London 2012 Paralympics. 

Which women inspire you? Esther Vegeer was at the top of Wheelchair Tennis when I first started playing.  

Which would you most like to achieve? Having reached the finals many times, I continue to try to work towards a Paralympic Gold Medal and a Grand Slam title.

What’s your shout-out to midlife women? If you have a dream, keep working towards it.

What’s your guilty pleasure? Loading a homemade meringue with whipped cream. 

What couldn’t you live without? A good cup of tea!


BUSINESS INNOVATOR

Vanessa Jacobs, 45

Vanessa is founder and CEO of The Restory (opens in new tab), which is the world's first aftercare platform for fashion which has technology and sustainability at its core.

What does winning this award mean to you? Validation. 

What's been the highlight of your career?Founding The Restory and seeing it grow.

Which women inspire you? My mother, aunt, and cousin. Beyond the women in my life, I would say Christine Lagarde, Angelina Jolie and Condoleezza Rice.

What would you most like to achieve? Financial independence for myself and my co-founders, a healthy return for my shareholders, and a nice savings pot for my teammates. I’d like to set a great example for my sons. And I wouldn’t mind an MBE!

What's your shout-out to midlife women? Choose the age you want to be and stick to it.

What's your guilty pleasure? Manicures, luxury shoes, and tweakments.

What couldn't you live without? Wine and coffee.


ARTS AND CULTURE CHAMPION

Errollyn Wallen CBE, MBE, 64

Composer Errollyn (opens in new tab) has created music for leading institutions like the Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet. 

What does winning this award mean to you? It’s a lovely surprise to win this award and I am chuffed.

What’s been the highlight of your career? There have been so many, including being the first Black woman to have a work performed at the Proms. Composing for the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics 2012, and composing my opera Dido’s Ghost.

Which women inspire you? Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald; American abolitionist and women’s rights activist, Sojourner Truth; and Baroness Helena Kennedy.

What’s your shout-out to midlife women? Keep your flame alive.

What’s your guilty pleasure? Chocolate!

What couldn’t you live without? Love.


SCIENCE AND MEDICINE INNOVATOR

Professor Sharon Peacock, CBE, 63

Professor of Public Health and Microbiology at the University of Cambridge, Sharon (opens in new tab) is a leading micro-biologist and Executive Director of the COVID-19 Genomics Consortium (COG-UK).

What does winning this award mean to you? It means a great deal to be recognized as a woman working in Science and Medicine.

What’s been the highlight of your career? Being the founding director of the COG-UK, which formed rapidly at the start of the pandemic.

Which women inspire you? I am inspired by women who give back to others, and who create opportunities that enable and include others.

What would you most like to achieve?

I want to live and work in an environment where my values are shared by others, and that support fairness, kindness, and integrity in STEM disciplines and more widely.  

What’s your shout-out to midlife women? Women can do anything, don’t be afraid to set your sights high.

What’s your guilty pleasure? Buying small, seasonal decorations for our coffee table brings me joy. 

What couldn’t you live without? Being with family, friends, colleagues, and my community. 

The woman&home Amazing Women Awards are brought to you in partnership with No7.

Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.

She's an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, hot yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.

With contributions from