VC_BOLD_Anne Pitcher, Michelle Kennedy, Ella Goldner, Vania Leles, Anne Boden, Celia Pool

Ahead of International Women’s Day, the finalists for the 2020 Bold Woman Award have been revealed, recognising the achievements and contributions of women leaders and entrepreneurs to multiple business sectors across the UK.

The coveted award (formerly known as the Business Women Award) was founded in 1972 by Veuve Clicquot as the first and longest-running international accolade for female business figureheads. In 2020 it comprises two categories: The Bold Woman Award and the Bold Future Award.

The Bold Woman Award, which recognises those demonstrating strong leadership as well as business and personal successes in their respective fields, has three finalists in 2020, which were selected by an illustrious panel of judges.

2020 Bold Woman Award finalists


Anne Boden MBE, CEO & Founder of Starling Bank: selected for her achievement in becoming the first-ever British woman to start a bank and commitment to ethical banking practices

Anne Pitcher, Group MD of Selfridges: selected for her innovative approach to growing Selfridges in a challenging retail climate and her ongoing commitment to sustainability.

Vania Leles, Founder of Vanleles Diamonds: selected for her contribution to the diamond industry and taking an ethical approach to the sourcing of gemstones.

Sian Westerman, member of the judging panel and senior adviser in Rothschild & Co’s Global Advisory division commented: ‘This year’s nominees are some of the most determined and innovative women leading British business today. By boldly taking on challenges such as market turbulence and heavy industry competition, they are inspiring the next generation of female leaders to challenge convention and follow in their footsteps.’

The Bold Future Award, formerly known as the New Generation Award, was introduced in 2013 to elevate women demonstrating an innovative approach to entrepreneurship.

2020 Bold Future Award finalists


Michelle Kennedy, Co-founder & CEO of Peanut: selected for her work in tackling taboo topics such as infertility and loneliness in motherhood through continued innovation.

Celia Pool, Co-founder of DAME: chosen for her approach to disrupting the sanitary product market by focusing on reducing plastic pollution and encouraging better health for women.

Ella Goldner, Co-founder of Zinc VC: selected for her ability to mobilise the best talent to tackle societal problems.

Pip Jamieson, a member of the judging panel and founder of The Dots, commented: ‘Entrepreneurship is a challenging path to take, however, the availability of role models from all backgrounds like this year’s Bold Future Award nominees make a huge difference in inspiring women to take the leap. The shortlist demonstrates how the UK’s female entrepreneurs are not afraid to take on the big issues and can achieve strong growth whilst keeping these values at the heart of their proposition.’

The judging panel for the 2020 award features notable businesswomen spanning multiple sectors, including Kristina Blahnik, CEO of Manolo Blahnik, Vanessa Kingori, Publishing Director of British Vogue, Pip Jamieson, Founder of The Dots, Sian Westerman, Co-Chair at British Fashion Council Trust, and Moira Benigson, Founder of MBS Group.

The winners will be announced at an award ceremony on 14 May 2020 in London.

Above image: The 2020 Bold Woman Award finalists, L-R: Anne Pitcher, Michelle Kennedy, Ella Goldner, Vania Leles, Anne Boden, Celia Pool