Inspirational women make list

The shortlist for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards has been announced.

By Fusion Lifestyle Reporter
March 28, 2013, 11:44 am
Inspirational women make list

The shortlist for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards has been announced.

Some of the outstanding candidates include boundary-pusher Farah Bhatti, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon for the NHS.

Farah is an inspirational figure who manages to combine a busy clinical job with a deep commitment to the education of tomorrow’s doctors. She was only the fourth female consultant cardio-thoracic surgeon appointed in the UK in 2007, and the first in Wales.

Farah is passionate about improving the opportunities for disadvantaged people and works at many levels through the Opportunities in Surgery Forum to empower young people at school to think about medicine, medical students to think about surgery and young surgeons to achieve their full potential.

Also shortlisted is Roma Agrawal, associate structural engineer at global design, engineering and management consultancy, WSP Group. At 29, Roma has already worked on the most iconic tower in the UK - the Shard at London Bridge, won awards for her work and is a leading light in the engineering world.

She is passionate about promoting science and engineering careers to students and graduates, and communicating the value of engineering in our society.

Founded and chaired by India-born author and entrepreneur Pinky Lilani OBE in 1999, and held in association with The Royal Bank of Scotland, the Asian Women of Achievement awards are the most important and established programme to recognise the varied contribution of Asian women to Britain’s economy and society.

The 2012 ceremony was attended by awards patron Cherie Blair, Home Secretary Theresa May and HRH Princess Badiya bint El Hassan of Jordan, where they saw awards presented to winners including BBC news presenter, Sangita Myska; international fashion and luxury goods entrepreneur, SungJoo Kim and the first and only Muslim woman to play for Worcestershire County Cricket Club, Salma Bi.

This year’s 55-strong list also includes:

·      Helen Dhaliwal, director, Red Hot World Buffet (Entrepreneur)

In 2004, Helen founded the Red Hot World Buffet restaurant brand, now the UK’s fastest-growing restaurant chain and has made a striking success of a unique business idea in the highly competitive chain restaurant sector.

·       Lolita Chakrabarti, actress & writer (Arts & Culture)

Lolita is an actress and writer, who represents a unique and insightful voice on the theatre scene in London. Her writing is simultaneously accessible and thought-provoking, and seamlessly weaves in complex societal issues with refreshing humour and wit.

·     Yonca Brunini, VP, Google (Business)

As vice president of marketing for Google in Europe, Middle East and Africa, Yonca is responsible for Google's growth through marketing in this region, as well as its growth in emerging markets globally.

·     Tab Ahmad, founder and managing director, EmployAbility (Public Service)

Tab set up EmployAbility in 2006 which works with disabled students and graduates to ease the transition from education to employment; and also works with top global employers, to help them become more disability inclusive.

The judging panel will meet over the coming weeks to decide winners for each of the 11 categories, with the winners announced at a ceremony on 15 May at the London Hilton Park Lane.

Pinky Lilani said: “Once again I am blown away with this year’s candidates. Just when I start to think our shortlists couldn’t get any stronger, I meet the likes of Yonca Brunini and Lolita Chakrabarti.

"All of the women really are outstanding and even after 14 years of running these awards, I still get a genuine sense of excitement when I look at the incredible list of talent we have brought together.

“What is so special about every single one of our nominees is that they are already influencing and inspiring people in their day to day lives and I hope that these awards will be the platform they need to expand their networks even further and allow their influence to reach many more aspiring young Asians.”

Chris Sullivan, Chief Executive, RBS Corporate Banking, said: "Britain's economy and society is changing fast, and you can see that exciting transformation in this year's shortlists for the Asian Women of Achievement awards.

"Who would have thought, 20 years ago, that a young, aspiring female engineer would play a pivotal role in the development of one of our countries most iconic buildings? Or that an ambitious female Asian entrepreneur would produce one of the fastest growing restaurant brands?

“Such stories show how important these awards are: they provide hope, inspiration and a magnificent platform for some of the UK's most dynamic individuals. At RBS, we believe it is vital to honour such women and their achievements, for they really will be the champions of building a better Britain."

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