Champagne maison Veuve Clicquot raises a glass to female leaders at the 49th Bold Woman Awards
Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert and entrepreneur Sharmadean Reid won the 2021 Bold Woman and Bold Futures Awards by Veuve Clicquot
Every year since 1972, the Bold Woman Awards by Veuve Clicquot has spotlit and celebrated inspirational women with a trailblazing track record of success, innovation and entrepreneurism. So who else could possibly lead the winners list for the annual honours after this most extraordinary year than vaccine pioneer Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert?
Dame Sarah, who spearheaded the development of the University of Oxford’s breakthrough Covid-19 vaccine, prompting a major turning point in the global pandemic, led winners of the 49th annual awards, created by Veuve Cliquot and held at the London headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects on 9 September.
Dame Sarah was recognised not just for her recent work, but for her decade of experience developing cutting edge vaccines at Oxford with university spinout Vaccitech. In her acceptance speech, the professor acknowledged the dedication and professionalism of her groundbreaking teams of scientists and volunteers.
“What an honour to receive this award, among a shortlist of women who are all so exceptional in their fields. It is fantastic to get recognition from such a prestigious award and I am truly grateful,” she said. “For the last 18-months a dedicated team worked hard
to deliver the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. It illustrates what can be achieved when academic institutions and the private sector work together and this is something we must build on. We salute the success of the vaccine rollout by the NHS in the UK, but there is still much to be done globally.”
Also taking to the stage was entrepreneur Sharmadean Reid MBE (pictured opposite, with Dame Sarah), who was awarded the Bold Future Award. Her business and editorial platform The Stack was launched to supercharge the value of the female economy by offering women a platform to source professional services, funding and mentorship from other female entrepreneurs and professionals. Her network has built up more than 1,000 members since launching earlier this year, and has already raised more than £3m in funding, with Monzo founder Tom Blomfield among investors.
“These awards enjoy a decades-long legacy of championing women who have turned ambition into success and I’m proud to celebrate this win after founding The Stack with similar principles in mind,” said Reid. “Much of the language around businesswomen’s networks has traditionally focused on emotional support, whereas male networking groups often emphasise savvy connections and tangible opportunities. The Stack was launched to offer these practical
business benefits to a new intersectional generation of businesswomen, providing access to much-needed financing, valuable new customers and relevant advice that can be put into practice straight away to drive revenue growth.”
The Bold Women Awards was founded in 1972 to celebrate Veuve Clicquot’s 200th anniversary and recognise women who capture the enterprising spirit of grande dame of champagne Madame Clicquot, as well as her values of innovation, audacity, fearlessness and drive, aiming to identify the role models of today and tomorrow. Barbe-Nicole Clicquot was just 27 when she was widowed in 1805, but her indominable spirit saw her turn her husband’s company into the thriving champagne maison that still bears her name today.
“Madame Clicquot took risks and pushed boundaries at a time when women weren’t even able to open a bank account, and it is an honour to be able to celebrate women that very much reflect her trailblazing spirit,” said the brand’s president, Jean-Marc Gallot. “This year’s winners truly reflect the extraordinary circumstances that we have found ourselves in. They have demonstrated pioneering female leadership and innovation and contributed to much more than simply business growth.”