The evening saw 14 awards being presented across 13 individual and team and corporate categories, with a further 10 Highly Commended awarded to exceptional shortlisted nominees.
Delivered by Nimble Media, the event was attended by over 760 individuals from across the rail industry, coming together to celebrate colleagues, teams and companies, who work hard to support others and to help create a more gender balanced, diverse and inclusive work culture in our industry.
Following the Champagne Reception, guests were serenaded to their seats by the Southeastern TRAXChoir. A welcome address from Huw Merriman, Minister for Rail and HS2, marked the opening of the ceremony, followed by Vice-Chair of Women in Rail, Shona Clive, then an inspirational address by Anit Chandarana, Lead Director, Great British Railways Transition Team. Returning host, Gemma Cairney – Broadcaster, Youth Rights Activist and Author – and self-declared rail enthusiast – added a witty commentary to the evening.
For 2023, a celebration of the allyship shown to Women in Rail over the past decade was rewarded, with the introduction of Male Rising Star and Apprentice of the Year categories. In addition, to add to the legacy left to the charity by its Founder, Adeline Ginn MBE, two categories were created to recognise an Unsung Hero and the dedication of a long-serving member of the industry with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 2023 Adeline Ginn Unsung Hero was named as Laura Warwick of Avanti West Coast – who the judges felt went ‘BEYOND above and beyond’ to support local charities, with a focus on mental health support, making a huge difference in the lives of her community’s most vulnerable people. Neil Pepper MBE of Transport for London was presented with the Adeline Ginn Lifetime Achievement Award, to honour his inspirational 36-year career in rail – during which he continues to be an avid STEM ambassador, inspiring thousands of children in London and the home counties, a passionate advocate for women within the industry – and a champion of equality, diversity and inclusion for all.
In a first for the event, the judges chose to celebrate the efforts of two exceptional women for The Equality Diversity and Inclusion Individual Award. Elizabeth O. Umoke of Arriva Rail London – London Overground – and Laura Phoenix of Alstom – both deserving winners and incredible EDI Champions, who, as part of their working and voluntary roles within their organisations, have spearheaded changes for EDI within their companies and the wider industry.
The judges specifically requested that all the nominees be commended for their hard work, selfless dedication, and commitment and that a huge thank you be directed to all those, and especially male allies, who nominated for this year’s Women in Rail Awards.
Shona Clive, Vice-Chair of Women in Rail and Project Lead for the Rail cluster project and the Forth and Tay Offshore project, Scottish Engineering said: “The calibre of this year’s nominations was truly exceptional. We received over 430 entries from – and in respect of – a wide range of individuals, teams and companies in the railway sector, many of them from male allies nominating their female co-workers. The judges admitted having a very difficult task selecting who should be shortlisted and ultimately win. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated – and of course to our winners – who continue to promote and improve EDI across the sector.”
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