The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards have been bubbling along for nearly half a century now, but rumour has it (MT's editor has been a long-standing judge for the awards) it's just as tricky to call the winners these days.
The finalists of the Business Woman of the Year award have just been unveiled as Sarah Wood, the CEO of Unruly, Trainline’s CEO Clare Gilmartin and celebrity make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury. The winner will be announced on 9 May.
Each of them (naturally) comes with their own set of hefty business credentials. Dublin-born Gilmartin joined the rail fare booking company two years ago and led it through the notoriously pesky task of a name rebrand (from TheTrainline.com). The firm was sold to American private equity company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts last year for a reported £450m.
'You don't have to stay at work till midnight' - Read the MT Interview with Trainline's Clare Gilmartin
Wood is the co-founder of video ad tech business Unruly, which went from tracking the most popular viral videos online to employing over 190 people across 14 offices internationally. Wood oversaw its sale to News Corporation for £58m in September last year.
Tilbury meanwhile has become well-known for her work as a celebrity make-up artist – with the likes of Kate Moss, Rihanna and Amal Clooney all fans (Tilbury did the latter's make-up for her wedding in 2014). Her entrepreneurial career kicked off in 2013, having spent years working behind the scenes and Tilbury's make-up line is now stocked at a selection of high-end department stores, as well as online, with her first standalone store opening in Covent Garden.
Some of the UK’s exciting start-up leaders are also up for the champagne maker’s New Generation award. The founder of healthy popcorn brand Propercorn Cassandra Stavrou, the creator of LGBT dating app HER Robyn Exton and Entrepreneur First’s Alice Bentinck are the contenders for that gong.
‘The two categories that make up the awards allow us to celebrate all facets of female business success in the UK – whether that’s from the titans of British business or the generation of new leaders that are defining a market,’ Julie Nollet, comms director at Veuve Clicquot’s parent company Moët Hennessy UK. We'll drink to that.