Women in Public Life Awards

Pollyanna was one of three women commended for their achievements in the Business Woman of the Year award category at the The Dods & Scottish Widows Women in Public Life Awards on the 4th March. The award rewarded the most influential business woman that parliamentarians identifed as having made an outstanding contribution within the business sector during the past year.

The awards celebrate women leaders in society and seek to recognise and promote the work of women in politics, business, the civil service and community leadership. Now in their third year, they aim to highlight the achievements of outstanding women role models amongst us, as chosen by British parliamentarians.

Just three names made the shortlist for Businesswoman of the year - Camila Batmanghelidjh, Founder and Director of Kids Company, who was the overall winner, Bryony Pawinska, Chief Executive of the College of Optometrists and Pollyanna, who was commended for her artistic skills along with her drive, vision and talent as a pioneering businesswoman, and her commitment to worldwide conservation.

Pollyanna enjoyed attending the Awards Ceremony on the evening of Wednesday 4th March 2009 at the prestigeous venue of London's Commonwealth club. "It was a privilige to meet so many inspiring and influential women, many of whom have dedicated their lives to improving our world." Pollyanna commented.

The evening began with an inspirational speech from double gold medal winning paralympian Sarah Storey. Sarah, who was born with one hand after the bones failed to grow, began her Paralympic career as a swimmer - winning two golds, three silvers and a bronze in Barcelona in 1992 aged just 14. Sixteen years later she won a second gold as a cyclist at the Beijing games.

Pollyanna was delighted to have the opportunity to chat to Camila Batmanghelidjh, the overall winner of the Businesswoamn of the Year category. Camila is a psychotherapist and social entrepreneur whose work focuses on children marginalised by society .Born in Tehran to prosperous Iranian and Belgian parents, Batmanghelidjh was sent to an independent school in Dorset, England. The Iranian Revolution brought turmoil to the Batmanghelidjh family: her sister committed suicide, her father, a physician, was jailed, but Camila maintained her place at school despite a lack of funds. In the mid-1990s she then went on to found, and is still director of, Kids Company. This registered charity supports children with severe behavioural, emotional and social difficulties resulting from significant levels of trauma and neglect, which usually means the lack of even one functioning parent. "It is such an honour to have reached the shortlist of these awards alongside someone as inspirational as Camila" Pollyanna said "and I was thrilled that her incredilble work with some of the most vulnerable children in our society has been recognised".

Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes has given her backing to the awards saying "Women are under represented in business, the arts and politics. These awards help to highlight and reward the achievements of women and encourage others to pursue leadership roles and to strive for greater representation."

Photos from the evening...
Pollyanna admires Sarah Storey's olympic gold medals

Pollyanna congratulates Business woman of the year Camila Batmanghelidjh

Pollyanna meets MP of the year Dawn Butler. Dawn, who is the first black woman to become a minister, was recognised for her work in Youth Engagement, especially in encouraging young people to debate their issues in parliament.