The panel of Judges 2023

7 July 2023

We are proud to present this year’s Panel of Judges for the Women’s Awards 2023. Huge thanks to each of our amazing judges for their commitment and time.

Professor Rachel Thomson

Pro Vice-Chancellor, (Education and Student, Experience), Loughborough University

“As the proud headline sponsor of this year’s East Midlands Women’s Awards, we are delighted to be part of an initiative that recognises and celebrates the many remarkable achievements of women across our region.

I was delighted, humbled and a little surprised to win two awards at the East Midlands Women’s Awards back in 2018, especially given the amazing contributions of many award recipients across the region. The awards dinner was a lovely evening and I was fortunate to be able to celebrate with family and friends.

I think, especially post pandemic, it has become even clearer to me how important it is to celebrate our successes and of those around us. At Loughborough University, we share a deep commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and the East Midlands Women’s Awards serve as a powerful platform to uplift and honour the diverse voices and talents of women who are shaping our community.”

Headline Sponsor – East Midlands.

Mehmooda Duke MBE DL

Mehmooda Duke MBE DL is an outstanding Female Entrepreneur in her own right. She is the Founder and Chair of, her own niche legal practice, Moosa-Duke Solicitors, specialising in Medical Negligence, started 20 years ago in a climate where there were and still are mostly large firms doing this specialist area of law, appreciates first-hand the challenges that female entrepreneurs face.

Moosa – Duke Solicitors Category Sponsor Outstanding Female Entrepreneur – East and West Midlands 2023.

Glynis Wright MBE

She is also Chair of the Advisory Board for Business and Law at De Montfort University and is a Board Director for the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership. Glynis was President of the Leicestershire Law Society from July 2019 to September 2020 and served on its Executive Committee for 7 years.

Glynis Wright MBE is sole Director of GW Growth Consultancy Ltd specialising in business development for the professional sectors.

Glynis set up her law firm in 2010, retained 100% of the shareholding, and then sold her shares to Nelsons LLP on 2 December 2020. On the same day, Glynis was notified that she had been awarded an MBE for her Services to

Female Entrepreneurship in the Queens New Year’s Honours List.

Glynis is to receive an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of Leicester on 20 July 2023 after which she will be Dr Glynis Wright MBE.

Glynis is to receive an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of Leicester on 20 July 2023 after which she will be Dr Glynis Wright MBE.

Sue Grogan

Founding Director of Joined-Up Working Associates.

Sue has turned her business, Joined-Up Working from concept to reality in a very short time, but her skills, knowledge, and experience go back many years.

Supporting businesses and the people they employ through some of their life challenges gives her great satisfaction and spurs her on to help others.

Sue is also the Winner of the Outstanding Woman in Care Services Award in 2020.

Sue is an expert in Business Health & Employee Wellbeing. She believes that by looking after our people, our businesses will be healthier and more productive. Using data and measuring tools to set benchmarks we’ll see the results of changes and actions in our business growth, productivity and financial turnover.

Sonia Thompson

Sonia Thompson is an international Organisational Development Consultant. She began her company after a successful career in higher education. Sonia sits on the Board of several organisations and has been active in the community helping to establish a number of charities, social enterprises, and two women’s refuges.

She is the National Chair of WIMUK one of the supporting organisers of this year’s Women’s Awards.

Sonia is passionate about women and their personal and professional development. She believes woman’s power if only allowed to reach its potential could change the world.

Ron Simpson BEM

A former Regional Director of the Local Government Management Board, Ron Simpson is known by many in the East Midlands as Mr. Uppingham.

A long-time champion of women in the workplace and community governance, he serves in numerous roles in local government and the voluntary and business sectors. See his profile at

Kelly McCormack

Kelly is an Event Manager for the University of Leicester, Film Producer for GM Finney Productions, Performer for Skytribe Studios, Director of Social Enterprise Iconic Music Dance Drama Ltd, and Trustee for Voluntary Action Leicester.

After realising the opportunities available in the East Midlands she moved here permanently in 2014 and hasn’t looked back.

Kelly won the EMWA Outstanding Women in Arts, Media & Music 2019 Award.

Beverley Sankey

Entrepreneur /Lifestyle Mentor specialising in Health and Wellness Industry with Pure Safe and Beneficial products for ordinary people at affordable cost.

Teaching people how to redirect their existing spend on everyday consumable personal care products and nutritional supplements and by doing so create a residual income.

21st business model simple and uncapped a secure method of building a growing uncapped and will able pot for retirement.

David Hayes

David Hayes has many years experience in export controls and sanctions, both from an industry and regulator’s perspective.

In addition to his own consultancy, David is the Director of UK Affairs for the Washington DC based trade consultancy The Trade Compliance Group (formerly MK Technology LLC).

Karen Cureton

Karen is the Founding, Director of Cureton Consulting.

Karen has over 20 years’ worth of experience in sales and marketing and when social media arrived on the scene she embraced it with open arms as a wonderful, cost-effective way to reach a new audience, build a brand, and turn potential customers into paying customers.

Karen has worked with scores of clients over the years as a social media trainer and manager in Leicestershire, throughout the East Midlands, nationally and now, internationally! She is a self-confessed social media nut (known affectionately as the social media ninja!), has developed an online course, and loves getting results for her clients.

Karen won The Women’s Awards East Midlands – Outstanding Women in Professional Services 2018

Rupinder Sandhu

Rupinder Sandhu is a Multi Award Winning Educator, and Female Leader. Rupinder has been awarded a number of awards such as International BTEC Tutor of the Year 2021 and was the Winner of The Women’s Award for Outstanding BAME Female Leader 2022 along with West Midlands Inspirational Female Leader 2022.

Rupinder is the Curriculum Manager for the creative industries department at Sandwell College for Visual Arts. Rupinder has extensive experience of supporting young people & adults within their education and prepare them for their future aspirations. Rupinder has a passion and drive to support her community, students and colleagues as well as making a wide contribution towards Mental health and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Sue Tilley

Sue Tilley is Head of Business, Innovation and Partnerships at the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) where she leads her team to deliver the economic growth strategy and a range of investment programmes and initiatives to support economic growth.

Sue has been working in economic development for 15 years. Initially as Head of Inward Investment for Leicester and Leicestershire before moving to deliver Economic Development at the LLEP leading on a range of programmes including the £21m Regional Growth Fund Programme and the LLEP Business Gateway (Growth Hub).

A recent project was leading a team of strategic partners to work with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to explore the LLEP ecosystem and develop the LLEP Innovation Strategy.  This has led to the formation to the LLEP Innovation Board and a commitment to driving productivity and to furthering the importance of the low carbon initiatives and Net Zero.

Sue understands the challenges and demands of running a business first-hand, having grown her own fashion and corporate clothing design and manufacturing company from start-up to a turnover of £2.5m and forty employees. Sue took the strategic decision to sell the business and gained further experience both at Board level for a division of Cadogan Group and as Business Development Director for a division of Alexandra plc.

Sue’s breadth of experience means she understands the diverse and complex challenges businesses are facing in an ever-changing world and the need to embrace innovative new ways of working is vital.

Why not meet our Judges at this years Awards Gala Dinner, Presentation, and Celebration on Friday 22nd September 2023 taking place at Heart of England,

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