Two south Warwickshire entrepreneurs are the winners of new categories in a national Awards celebrating female inspirational achievers.
Amanda Chalmers, from Warwick and Vicki Bravington, from Stratford, are among more than 20 women chosen from hundreds across the UK to be recognised in this year’s prestigious Woman Who Achieves Awards.
Amanda, who launched Chalmers News PR four years ago following a 30-year career in newspapers, became the first winner of the new Woman Who Achieves Media category.
Other ladies in that category included one of the event’s keynote speakers Kim Rowell, Executive Producer and News Editor at BBC Three and BBC News; as well as Lisa-Marie Tonelli, Founder and fellow Director of The North East International Film Festival ; Natalie Adele Edwards, Head of Careers at Screen and Film School in Birmingham and Emma Wheeler, a professional voice over artist from Hereford.
Vicki, who runs Atherstone-on-Stour-based media planning and buying company Shakespeare Media, was named joint winner in the new Woman Who Achieves in Marketing category along with Louise Welsby, MD of Buy-From Creative Agency in Shropshire.
The awards lunch, held at Coombe Abbey marked the 7th year of The Woman Who Achieves Awards, run by Sandra Garlick MBE, recognising and celebrating the achievements of women in business.
Both winners are mums of two who spent most of their careers in local media – Amanda as a journalist and Vicki in sales, formerly Sales Director for Quidem, which owned seven radio stations.
Amanda has worked her way up the career ladder as a journalist at newspapers in and around Warwickshire for three decades, including The Rugby Advertiser, Daventry Express and, between 2014 and 2018, as the first female editor of the160-year-old Stratford-upon-Avon Herald.
Through her PR and copywriting business, Amanda works with a busy portfolio of clients across a wide variety of sectors including hospitality, artisan food and drink brands, leisure and retail. Locally, these include Winchcombe Farm in Upper Tysoe, Napton Cidery in Napton-on-the-Hill, That Gin & Cocktail Bar in Warwick and St Maur elderflower liqueur in Alcester.
The judges said of Amanda: “Amanda is a determined and driven candidate who has overcome many obstacles to get where she is today.
“Many women in the media face challenges of gender, and yet her own self-confessed bloody mindedness led to her becoming the first female editor at a newspaper. Amanda is an advocate for the people behind small businesses, drawing out human interest as a priority in the story. Passion and purpose are priority for for.”
Amanda said: “As my business approaches its fourth anniversary, I’m definitely going to take a moment to reflect on my journey so far and celebrate the success. And, over the coming years, I’m looking forward to working with many more business owners who continue to inspire me with what they achieve every day.”
Vicki established media planning and independent buying agency Shakespeare Media in 2014 working with local and national brands such as the RSC, Warwickshire College Group, The Jockey Club including the Cheltenham Festival and Randox Grand National, Bell Court Shopping Centre and Michelin Star restaurants.
The success also coincides with the announcement that Chalmers News PR has become an official PR partner for Shakespeare Media.
The judges said of Vicki: “We were very impressed by Vicki’s growth and success over the last two years during a very difficult time not only because of COVID but because of personal challenges that completely overturned her business. She has shown great leadership and strength to build her business to win some impressive contracts. We see her continuing to build on this success.”
Vicki, who recently also won a Ladies First Professional Development Award for Excellence In Marketing, said: “The challenges of running – and growing – your own business can be relentless but the sense of accomplishment I feel every day on behalf of our clients, is extremely rewarding. This award means so much to me personally but is also testament to the hard work of the team I have around me.”
‘Media’ and ‘Marketing’ are two of the new categories introduced by Sandra Garlick MBE as part of her Woman Who Awards this year.
She said: “Each year I ask myself how I can surpass the previous year’s Awards. The calibre and number of entries increases each year. I love to create role models to inspire others. The room was filled with finalists, entrants and those who came along to support them. The winners became role models. Everyone left inspired. Congratulations to everyone who entered.”