Shortlist: Role Model of the Year – Digital Women Awards

The Digital Women Role Model of the Year recognises and celebrates women who are positive and confident in themselves. lifting others up. A person who is doing great work but continues to strive for bigger and better objectives. Positive role models are important as they influence our actions and motivate us to strive to uncover our true potential and overcome our weakness.

Here are your finalists:


Katrina Young – Katrina Young Consulting Digital

Katrina is a hard working mum who is always creating opportunities for those she works with.

Katrina deserves this award as a role model, she is bringing up children and creating a business that is making change in the world and helping others do the same.

I am an award winning Digital, Tech and Marketing Consultant and Specialist – Business Solutions Architect specialising in Digital Business Strategy – Automated Sales Marketing Funnels – Business Process ROI Solutions. A Prince 2 Qualified Digital Project Manager, with a Degree in Marketing & Advertising with a certificate in Teaching and Lecturing. A Digital and Innovation evangelist, conversant with a range of methodologies. Helping you to create a compelling messaging, monetise your skills and knowledge and create active and automated sales and client acquisition systems.  Helping to assist you to increase your revenue, productivity, passive income and profits.


Anita Wong – Bommiemedia

Anita is a role model for working hard and balancing a successful business, being a mum to four daughters and being a successful BMX rider. I am in awe of the productivity and the energy she applies to her work

Anita Wong is a Digital Strategist and Tech Queen of all things social! Anita is passionate about empowering you with the tools you need to achieve your marketing goals and feel more confident, competent and ready to tackle any changes within the digital arena. Anita can help the next generation of big businesses who are ready to start WINNING BIG accelerate their Learning and start LEADING with their online visibility whether that be Facebook, Instagram or their WordPress websites, Anita is the women to call.


Lea Rice – Heart and Soul Digital

She is honest about her own struggles and how her work can affect them and, through that, reminds others that it’s ok to struggle, it’s ok to ask for help and it’s ok to be successful while doing those things. She is selfless, determined, amazing at her job at the Royal British Legion, and an inspiration.

Lea Rice is the Digital Marketing Specialist transforming lives through the magic of social media, supporting the UK’s Digital Marketing Community to climb the career ladder without burning out.


Debbie Clarke – Debbiedooodah

She is hands down the most perceptive, creative, helpful and realistic business and marketing coaches I’ve ever met (and I’ve met many). Her insight and knowledge is incredible. Debbie is nothing short of a genius in her field. No wonder everyone wants to work with her! If you want become unstuck in your business, gain insight and grow, learn how to market your business clearly and authentically, discover what you’re really all about, Debbie is your person.

Debbie Clarke aka debbiedooodah started her business as a single mum after winning a fight with cancer. She works with female entrepreneurs who want to learn the tools to market their business online and get the confidence to create financial freedom. She’s founded the Indie Freedom Seekers, the Blue Stockings Society, the Women Who Create Podcast and co-authored ‘My Business My Way’ with Nottingham University. This year she was named one of UK’s top 100 female entrepreneurs, one of top 50 twitter influencers in the world for gender inclusion, a Nottingham legend and her podcast one of the top 5 podcasts in the UK for women in business.


Kim Rowell – BBC

“Kim has a great eye, whether it is for digital content or for potential in people. She builds people up and makes them believe they are capable of things they hadn’t considered, she is such an inspiring person and we need more people like her in the industry.” (Kathryn Parker, Producer, NetFlix).

Kim is a brilliant storyteller; currently Assistant Editor for BBC Stories, heading up a young team of talented journalists telling digital stories for the 16 – 34 demographic across themes of climate change, gender, identity and community issues. She was named as a Kindness & Leadership, Leading Light 2019, an accolade recognising the contribution of kind leaders to business the economy and society. After winning a ‘Women of the Future’ Award she launched their podcast in 2019, and now produces and publishes the ‘Women of the Future’ podcast voluntarily on a fortnightly basis featuring alumni from the Programme and Awards discussing their careers, big breaks, successes, failures and inspirations. After her experience working with Bryony Gordon on her mental health podcasts and following the birth of her daughter, she wrote and published the children’s book ‘Townie Spider’; aimed at introducing themes of friendship and kindness to children of a preschool age. It was named as in the ‘Top 7 Books for Children’s Mental Health’ by parental wellbeing magazine ‘Motherdom’.


Shelley Grierson – Space Between

Shelley is a fantastic role model for women, she is finalist in the inaugural Ms Great Britain competition, this new category of the competition recognises a new brand of role model. It focuses on being real, relatable, and successful in your field. It involves raising awareness of the overall competition and Ms Great Britain brand, and also focuses on supporting charity fundraising efforts, as well as social and community initiatives.

Shelley is an experienced marketer, with a passion for innovation and creative thinking. She has a broad experience across the marketing function, and has delivered on growth KPI’s for some of the worlds largest brands, as well as excelled in devising creative strategies in fast-paced tech environments. In her spare time, Shelley is heavily involved in helping women in business to upskill and knowledge-share. This includes mentoring young women in business through The Princes Trust, hosting Linkedin Ladies events in her local area, and supporting the University of the Gambia with developing their Digital Marketing curriculum.


Jennifer Gilmour – #AbuseTalk

Jennifer has campaigned tirelessly as an advocate for women in abusive relationships. She is a survivor and has turned her experience into a message. She gives a voice to their experiences and raises awareness of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse. As an author of two books and journalist for several publications her writing educates people on what domestic abuse can look like. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will suffer domestic abuse and/or coercive control … the problem is very real.

Jennifer Gilmour is an author and advocate for women in abusive relationships, using her own experiences of domestic abuse as a catalyst to bring awareness and to help others. Jennifer has published two publications, Isolation Junction and Clipped Wings which have both been Amazon Best Sellers and received awards. Jennifer speaks at events across the UK and continues to raise awareness through her blog posts, public speaking, radio interviews and social media. Jennifer has listened to her readers and has grown a digital community to support discussions around domestic abuse online. Starting with her Twitter Chat which opened late 2017 #AbuseTalk, this developed into an online forum in 2018. This year Jennifer launched a series of interviews with those in the sector and gives followers the opportunity to ask burning questions on her podcast.  Most Informative Blogger Award 2018 (Bloggers Bash Annual Awards) UK & European Award for using Social Media for Good 2019 (Social Day: Social Media Marketing Awards)  Jennifer says: “Together we are Louder”.


Tosca Lahari – Wicked Spider

I am so grateful for all the help support and encouragement Tosca has given me.

Tosca is authentic, honest and you can totally rely on her getting everything you need and far more.

She has helped me more than she could ever know. Thank you

Tosca Lahiri has a long standing pedigree of delivering successful websites and training courses over the last 24 years. Tosca uses her amazing range of technical skills to support businesses in their digital marketing. Often called “inspiring”, Tosca aims to build up everyone she comes in contact with, while maintaining impeccable levels of integrity. Tosca has many levels of creativity at her fingertips that she uses tirelessly to solve all sorts of digital problems for others. With the red flashes in her hair you get an insight into her wicked sense of humour – which can come in handy sometimes!


Laura Pearman – Laura Pearman Photography

Laura could have continued making a great living as a photographer – though she was already more than that, as she also helped coach sometimes-unconfident business owners in figuring out their branding and how they would SHINE the most in their sessions. But she’s gone further, expanding her own digital content creation out of her comfort zone to create a larger conversation around putting yourself forward into the world as a confident business owner, especially for women. She doesn’t care if you don’t hire her – she just wants you to LOVE YA SELFIE and present your image to the world with confidence!

Laura is very generous with her time and advice via her YouTube channel and also in Facebook Groups. She gives tonnes of advice and helps women in business to build their self-confidence AND presence on social and on camera.

International Photographer and Selfie Queen, Laura makes her mark on the Digital World by communicating entrepreneurial stories, capturing career-defining photography and educating how your unique brilliance can be documented.


Amy McManus – AM Marketing

Amy is a warrior. After managing daily chronic pain since a car crash she has undergone multiple back surgeries whilst continuing to lead a successful digital agency into its most profitable year to date. All this whilst publicly speaking about the importance of work life balance and mental health in the workplace. She is an unstoppable force for equality, fighting for what she believes in and making sure those around her follow the same mantra.

Amy McManus is the CEO and Founder of AM Marketing, a digital agency based in Kent. She is a UK Women of the Future finalist, freeman of the London Guild of Entrepreneurs, an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, finalist for National Businesswoman of the Year and winner of UK Female Business Speaker of the Year. AM Marketing is an award-winning Google Partner agency that was placed in the Top 30 UK Google Agencies and has a portfolio of clients all over the world. The team at AM Marketing are experts in their field and have worked on some of the largest marketing accounts in the world, including Disney, Marvel,, and Easy Jet, winning numerous accolades for their work.

Hollie Whittles –

Hollie has built an enviable network of business relationships predominantly through networking and working with business owners on a one-to-one basis and through group workshops. Hollie has established strong partnerships with local businesses and Councils and recently became recognised as a Growth Hub Guru by the Marches Growth Hub, was invited to join Telford Business Board as Digital Campion and more recently proud to become the FSB Area Lead for Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. As area lead, Hollie is using her expertise to influence and drive business growth across the region. She is working with a range of small businesses to deliver high-quality networking and events.

As Director of Purple Frog and FraggleWorks, Hollie not only knows what it takes to deliver results but is also a master at teaching business owners how to transform their businesses. Using her love of speaking to help build 2 successful businesses, Hollie has spent more than 5000 hours on stage, speaking to audiences across the UK. She has a particular specialism in supporting entrepreneurs with their online business strategy. Her ultimate goal is to empower business owners to feel confident and knowledgeable about growing their business through strategic planning and marketing. In 2018, Hollie was awarded a certificate of recognition from the British Computer Society for her work in the UK digital industry and was a Woman’s Who award winner. Hollie has previously been voted one of the Top 50 Women in Tech by PCR Online and was Woman of the Year finalist.


Tanja Sharpe – The Creative Counsellors Club Ltd

John Quincy Adams once said ‘if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader’, I couldn’t think of a better quote to represent the incredible work that Tanja does, not only throughout her communities but with each and every individual she works alongside. Tanja first started The Creative Counsellors Club as a way for local therapists to connect but her incredible commitment to supporting, empowering and inspiring therapists has created a movement that is changing the way we see creativity in Mental Health globally. Tanja’s vision and Inspiring Leadership has bought Creativity in Mental Health together and created a new platform for therapists in over 99 countries. In 2018 Tanja was awarded a Facebook Community Leadership Award as this community was recognised by Facebook as one of the 115 most Inspiring communities.

I’m a published author, Counsellor and online social entrepreneur. Im also the Founder, Director & Community Leader for The Creative Counsellors Club, a growing digital community of over 11500 counsellors and therapists from 99 different countries. We are on a mission to end the global mental health crisis through The Power of Community & Creativity. I founded our community in April 2017 from my kitchen table and in 2019 I was recognised by Facebook as “one of 115 most inspiring Community Leaders in the world” and invited to join their year long fellowship program. In 2019 we launched our Big Ripple Project and held 45 in person community gatherings, trained 1400 members through our online courses & membership platform, hosted self-care retreats, conferences and launched peer support circles in 21 cities run by our team of 21 Ambassadors. We are a self-sustaining community and aim to triple our impact in 2020 by reaching new members so we can continue to make waves in the mental health world.


Kirstie Smith – Social Circle

As well as her job leading the digital marketing at an agency and lecturing at a Birmingham university, she also co-founded a social media networking group in Birmingham called Social Circle. The group started as 4 friends gathering to talk about social and has grown into a monthly meeting attracting over 40 people, meeting to learn about innovations in social and general socialising with others in the industry. She loves what she does and her enthusiasm shows, she is driven, hard working, but also really fun to work with and a great mentor.

With 10 years’ experience working in Social Media and Digital Marketing as a practitioner, Kirstie’s work is focused on driving revenue through co-ordinated ecommerce, social media and digital strategy, consultancy, and training. She currently heads up the Marketing team at Digital Cake – an ecommerce agency based in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. Kirstie is also a lecturer at Birmingham City University for the BA(Hons) Digital Marketing and the Future Media: Pro MA / MSc courses, where she is encouraging the development of the next wave of passionate creatives by teaching them about the joys of digital marketing! She also runs a monthly meet-up for like-minded marketers called Social Circle. Social Circle was born out of curiosity and the pursuit of delivering great work for our businesses and clients. They meet monthly in Birmingham and Sydney to discuss innovations in the world of social media and host an industry guest speaker.


Berenice Smith – ‘Hello Lovely’ and ‘The Full Stop’ podcast

In her World Childless Week Champion biography, Berenice states: “When failed IVF cycles and recurrent miscarriages left me facing a future without the children I had longed for, I found silence when I needed conversation and support. I am passionate about giving a voice to the childless not by choice and building bridges between us and those who have children so we can create an equal and empathic society. Nobody should feel alone.” My own personal experience of Berenice, through connecting with her in CNBC support groups, participating in the Walking Forward Inspirational Network and as a contributor to World Childless Week, is that she truly lives and is committed to these values and, in doing so, goes above and beyond on an almost daily basis. For example, when the founder of World Childless Week was unwell shortly before the launch of the 2019 event, Berenice stepped in despite having many of her own commitments, to ensure this worldwide and very visible and important event ran smoothly, taking over the online submissions and publications process to ensure those who wanted to contribute had their voices heard. Berenice is an active and empathetic member of the groups and platforms she has founded, even when she is going through tough times herself. She doesn’t shy away from using her own very difficult experiences to help her provide supports to others. Berenice has also supported me personally, as I have recently launched my own website, webinars and social media platforms for writing for wellbeing for childless-not-by-choice people. Berenice has willingly provide advice and moral support, and has gone out of her way to support me in other ways, such as sharing details of my enterprise within her own networks, introducing me to relevant people in her network who can help me, inviting me to speak on the Full Stop Podcast and generally providing unfailing encouragement.

Berenice Smith MA, is a wearer of Dr Martens, typography obsessive, designer of practical and beautiful bespoke websites, branding, books and marketing material. She lives in Cambridge, where she can be found chatting to her dog or podcasting in her spare time.


Jane Kavanagh – Feedalpha

Jane deserves recognition for what she has achieved with feedalpha and She is constantly growing the business with her husband Gary. Over the last year she has juggled a business merger, travelling internationally to promote and showcase feedalpha, has been a speaker at events and managed to be an epic Mammy. She has also been a huge support to me on a professional and personal level. She is always there to offer advice and encourage me to keep going to be the best I can be. I have seen her do the same for many other women in business over the last few months and I find it very refreshing. She gives freely without asking for anything in return.

Jane Kavanagh is the CEO and Co- Founder of Feedalpha. Jane launched the company 18 months ago and since then has won numerous awards, showcased the platform at Web Summit and is currently in the middle of a funding round to take feedalpha to the next level. With a background is sales and marketing Jane wanted to help small businesses grow their online presence and increase revenue through Social Media.


Anne Scott – Girl Gone International

This nomination for Anne Scott comes from the current team of 234 Girl Gone International volunteer and geographically dispersed community managers who are inspired and supported by Anne every day and live the same mission she had on day one : to create a meaningful online and in real life community for one another to belong to wherever we are. We all share her belief that together we go farther. We are nominating the founder and leader of our community because our community turns 10 this year and therefore winning such an award would mark a massive milestone for all. Anne is a powerful example to so many women of strong, mission led, value driven community leadership which has created a strong healthy culture over 10 years. Anne makes online and offline worlds collide which is why we think this award would be perfect for her. The culture she has inspired has created an empowered community of both local community leaders like me and community members who together have a deep social impact globally and locally, online and offline.

Girl Gone International is a not for profit community started in 2010 in Hamburg when I moved to my 10th city in 10 years and felt alone in the world, trying to start a new life far from friends, family and the familiar all while navigating in a foreign language. 

I felt if I could just find a friend, another woman in the city who was living a similar experience, I wouldn’t feel so alone on this journey. 

I went online and I did find one, in fact over 300,000 to date! 

Girl Gone International is now a safe home away from home for women from every country and culture in the world. Our community represents the fast growing nation of digital generation, mobile women who live far from their place of birth through choice or circumstance. 

On a budget of zero, I have dedicated the last 10 years of my life to building the community so that women can connect online and face to face in 200 local communities (we use Facebook, Meetup, Whatsapp and Wechat) in 40 countries via 15000 free events to date. 
My mission is the same mission I had on day one : to create a meaningful online and in real life community for one another to belong to wherever we are. I am proud that my team of 260 community managers all share my belief that together we go farther.

Our community turns 10 this year.

I believe in leading from the centre, and am known for strong, mission led, value driven community leadership which has created a strong healthy culture over 10 years. 

My personal mission to to make online and offline worlds collide.

Girl Gone International is an empowered community of both local community leaders and community members who together have a deep social impact globally and locally, online and offline. 

I have over 10 years personally on-boarded and trained over 600 women has developed a unique digital training and support system for community building across the whole community lifecycle and across the globe so we can recruit and train our local volunteer teams (of 1000s). We share our strategies with other non profit organisations and communities to help them scale and deepen their reach and impact.

I have spoken across the world on how to create community to connect a disconnected digital world and I am a regular keynote speaker and panelist (for example at Facebook alongside Jay Shetty, headliner at MSessions and more)

I am also an advisor to large brands such as Facebook, Tui, Etsy, Emoov, Neighbour, Ella and more, working in the digital marketing and community space to create communities with meaningful social impact and ROI, taking communities and platform based business and multi-sided marketplaces from ignition to scale. 

I was awarded in 2018 and 2019 as one of Facebook’s 100 most meaningful community leaders online and offline for my work on reducing social isolation among womxn using digital platforms. 

I also have an interesting backstory as the daughter of the first lesbian couple to marry in Scotland. I attribute my love for community building to my mothers (Susan Douglas Scott was awarded a CBE in 2019) who spent their life fighting to reform oppressive structures and taught me that community is crucial for well-being and equality. I now harness the digital technology that was not available then to those women, to connect and empower women. 

This year marks 10 years that I have been using digital technology to build a global and local, online and in real life non profit volunteer run communities for women living far from the location of their birth which empowers women to go anywhere and belong everywhere. 




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