Just look at who's backing our brand new Sunderland awards to find our greatest women in business

We’re right behind you! That’s the message from business bosses as we begin our search to find Wearside’s top females in industry.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 15 July, 2019, 23:45
JPI Media North East Editorial Director Joy Yates with the sponsors of the new Wearside Women in Business competition. Pictured left to right with Joy are Rhian Hayes (TCL At Home), Mark Burns Cassell (MBC Arts Wellbeing CIC), Jade Gilbertson and Lorraine Belford (Club Zest), Carol Long (Gentoo), Lynn Wild (Regional Events Manager, JPI Media North East), and Paul McEldon (Sunderland BIC).

We have a line-up of six great organisations who are all sponsoring the first ever Wearside Women In Business Awards.

They are Sunderland BIC, Gentoo, Club Zest, MBC Arts Wellbeing, TCL At Home and UK Fostering North East, and they have all joined the Sunderland Echo in the quest to find the Mentor of the Year, Rising Star, Business Woman of the Year and lots more besides.

JPI Media North East Editorial Director Joy Yates with the sponsors of the new Wearside Women in Business competition. Pictured left to right with Joy are Rhian Hayes (TCL At Home), Mark Burns Cassell (MBC Arts Wellbeing CIC), Jade Gilbertson and Lorraine Belford (Club Zest), Carol Long (Gentoo), Lynn Wild (Regional Events Manager, JPI Media North East), and Paul McEldon (Sunderland BIC).

Each is delighted to be involved and representatives of all the firms spoke to the Echo to explain why they are on board.

Paul McEldon, chief executive of Sunderland BIC, said it was ‘a massive opportunity to recognise and celebrate female entrepreneurship. Awards like these provide role models for the future.”

Carol Long, a board member for the Gentoo group, said: “These awards not only acknowledge success but inspire women to take the next step to run or grow their own business. We are thrilled to be part of a project that encourages women to reach their full potential in this way.”

Lorraine Belford, manager of the women-only Wearside gym Club Zest, said: “The awards are a brilliant idea. This is needed in the area and it will boost the confidence of people if they are nominated.”

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Mark Burns Cassell is director of Sunderland-based MBC Arts Wellbeing which specialises in arts education and wellbeing programmes. He said: “We are very privileged to be a part of the awards and a part of recognising the fantastic things that women in Wearside are achieving. It is something worth celebrating.”

Seaham-based TCL At Home specialises in luxury interiors and digital marketer Rhian Hayes said: “We really wanted to be a part of this and I love how it is about women and showcasing them. It is very exciting to be a part of the first awards.”

Nicky Hudson, the North East director of UK Fostering North East fostering agency, said: “We are looking to give something back to the community and that is why we are sponsoring the Rising Star of the Year under-16s category.”

Joy Yates, Editorial Director of JPI Media North East, said the region had some of the finest female entrepreneurs in the country and they deserved to be honoured.

She added: “These awards will shine a light on the excellent work that women do at all levels from rising stars to those who have a lifetime of achievement in business.

“This is a chance for the people of Wearside and County Durham to herald some amazing people whose tireless efforts deserve to be recognised.”