Veuve Clicquot president Jean-Marc Gallot on the importance of female role models in business
Inside the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards, attended by Natalie Dormer
On 23 May, the world’s longest-running business women awards returned to the UK, recognising three exceptional business women whose entrepreneurial spirit is well worth a toast. Hosted at London’s Design Museum the Verve Clicquot Business Woman Award, New Generation and Social Purpose Award saw a diverse range of women nominated for their business acumen, supported by big names of the business world including Melissa Obadash and former Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer.
Jean-Marc Gallot, president and CEO of Veuve Clicquot, said: “Since 1972, we’ve celebrated the incredible business women. It’s true that it can resonate more today because with the digital world and because also of the incredible successful woman. We believe it’s time, more than ever, to support and understand the social or cultural barriers facing women entrepreneurs.
The champagne brand's Business Woman Award went to Jo Whitfield, CEO of Co-op Food, who was noted for not just turning profit through online retail, delivery methods and new test stores, but also for her work increasing sustainability. Poppy Gustafsson, CEO of cyber security company Darktrace, was the recipient of the New Generation award, while Sherry Coutu CBE, founder and CEO of Founders4Schools, was awarded the Social Purpose Award for her work connecting young people with successful businesses.
“Women want to be inspired by female entrepreneurs, but they don’t know many names of female entrepreneurs, so there’s something missing here. We need some role models, so Veuve Clicquot is trying to push some names of role models to inspire more women to be entrepreneurs.” >>
Chrissie Rucker OBE was honoured with The Veuve Clicquot Tribute Award in recognition of how she has grown her company, The White Company, over the past 25 years. “I remember being so excited to be one of the youngest finalists many years ago, so it’s incredibly special to now be receiving this Tribute Award, in this our 25th anniversary year," she told guests. "I have always thought of the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards as being one of the most prestigious, almost the Oscars for women in business. It’s wonderful that it celebrates the breadth of our new up-and-coming stars as well as the more established businesses.”
"The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award has been held in 23 countries around the world for 47 years running. The awards are inspired by Madame Clicquot, known as the ‘Grande Dame of Champagne’, who took over the brand at age 27, when her husband passed away. Her work transformed the champagne house into what’s now arguably the most recognisable house in the world – it’s also the second largest."
As for why it’s so important for the brand to be supporting British business women, Jean-Marc Gallot said: “The UK is one of our top two or three markets. We have been in the UK for more than 200 years, so the UK is absolutely critical for us as an importer. This is the place in the world where people know champagne the best. The best connoisseurs in the world are in the UK.”