Rukasana Bhaijee

Rukasana Bhaijee | EY

Diversity Coordinator | EY | Consultancy


Rukasana has been working on the Diversity and Inclusion (“D&I”) agenda since March 2013 and is very passionate about making a change in this area. In this time she has become a subject matter expert for all D&I characteristics and has delivered organisational change programmes to effect positive long term change.

Her previous role was within the Diversity team at Queen Mary University London, focusing on Gender Diversity to increase the number of women progressing in academia, specifically in STEM subjects. Rukasana successfully supported the Barts and the London, School of Medicine at the University to achieve Silver Status in the Athena SWAN gender equality charter.

She joined the D&I Team at EY in March 2015, and currently has a specialist focus on the Disability and Social Mobility Strategy in the organisation. Rukasana is working to progress the Disability agenda at the organisation to build a disability confident organisation through socialising conversations around disability in order to remove any remaining stigmas associated.

Rukasana coordinated a working group for EY success to achieve ‘Social Mobility Business Champion’ status with the BIS led government initiative. She has also completed a 5 year review of D&I Activity at EY, in order to review progress and identify future strategy.

Linked to her work on Social Mobility and the EY value to ‘Build a Better Working World’ Rukasana has worked with the YesFutures charity this year to coach four girls aged 13 to improve confidence, focus on self-development and aspire to a better future. She is also a mentor at EY and is currently mentoring an individual in the EY Smart Futures work placement programme.

Her career in Diversity has seen a return to the city after an extended career break, her background up to 2002 was in Client Services in Finance.

Hayley Barnden

Hayley Barnden | Ministry of Defence

Safety Engineer | Ministry of Defence | Defense


My name is Hayley Barnden, I’m 28 years old and I currently work as a Submarine Safety Engineer for the Ministry of Defence.

I got this role through an Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering Management which I started in September 2010. During the course of my apprenticeship I won two awards, the first – the Elvy and Coast Charity Award – for my dedication to self-improvement and development over the year; the second the Sir David Cardwell Memorial Prize awarded to a final year apprentice that has successfully completed their scheme and overcome great difficulty during the course of their apprenticeship.

In the my apprenticeship I became a STEM Ambassador, a role that I thoroughly enjoy and still continue to regularly attend events four years later. After completing my apprenticeship I took up a role as a Submarine Safety engineer, achieving promotion after 16 months.

In addition to my day job I am passionate about diversity and inclusion, and am co-chair of both my employers LGBT network and InterEngineering South West a grass-roots initiative to help attract, support and retain LGBT engineers, along with their straight allies.

I am currently studying part-time towards my Electronics degree at the University of West England.

Rising Star Champion 2016 Shortlist

Jennifer Curtis

Jennifer Curtis | ZS Associates

Consultant | ZS Associates | Consultancy


Jennifer is a Business Consultant at ZS, focused on Marketing and Customer Insights (CI). Since starting in 2009, she has been promoted three times, taking on leadership roles in pushing innovation in the ZS European Marketing & CI practice area and managing this work for the largest client in Europe. Prior to ZS, Jennifer worked in marketing & communications strategy for healthcare and medical device firms.

Jennifer’s passion is in human behaviour and psychology, which naturally lead to her interest in marketing. She received an MSc in Organizational Behavior and Social Psychology from the London School of Economics, and a BA in Economics from the University of New Hampshire.

While at ZS, Jennifer has actively worked to support junior women, driving the London Women’s Leadership Initiative, aimed at attracting, retaining and promoting women to take on leadership roles. She has led the development of a programme geared at empowering women and raising organisational about the benefits, challenges and steps to achieving diversity.

Outside of working, Jennifer has a passion for travel, previously living in Dublin, Madrid and New Zealand before moving to London nine years ago. Jennifer is a certified yoga instructor, Pilates enthusiast and occasional marathon runner.

WeAreTheCity’s Top 100 Rising Star Awards | Nominations are now closed

WeAreTheCity are delighted to announce record nominations for the 2016 Rising Star Awards.

Now in their second year, the WATC Rising Star Awards are the first to focus on the UK’s female talent pipeline below management level. Through these awards we will celebrate 100 individual female contributors that represent the leaders and role models of ‪tomorrow.

For the past three months, WeAreTheCity and its sponsors, partners, supporters & media partners have been actively seeking nominations from across the UK and Northern Ireland for the 2016 Rising Star awards.   We are proud to announce this considerable effort resulted in over 800 nominations from over 300 companies, which is over double the amount of nominations received in 2015. Our Rising Star champion nominations also exceeded our expectations with over 100 individual nominations from 80 cross sector companies.

Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director of WeAreTheCity said “The response to this years awards has been truly amazing and I would like to extend my personal thanks to our sponsors, media partners, network partners and everyone who nominated and supported this years nomination process. Our aim this year was to not only encourage others to nominate their rising stars, but to encourage women to self nominate and for men to nominate their female colleagues.   I am pleased that we achieved all of our objectives with over 15% of nominations being self-nominations and over 30% of our nominations being cast for women from men”.

“The calibre of entries for this years awards is extremely high and a true testament of the amazing female talent pipeline that exists across so many different industries and professions in the UK and Northern Ireland. WeAreTheCity are extremely honoured to be able to shine a spotlight on the achievements of these women through the Rising Star Awards”.

Remaining Timeline

  • Shortlist judging period – 28 March – 15 April
  • Shortlist announced – 25 April
  • Public vote for shortlist nominees opens – 25 April
  • Finalist judging period – 25 April – 27 May
  • Shortlist celebration event at Bloomberg– 17 May
  • Public voting closes – 27 May
  • Finalists announced – 06 June
  • Winners event – 30 June

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Rising Stars -India-awards

NEWS: Coming Soon.. WeAreTheCity India Top 50 Rising Star Awards 2016

female talent in India08 March 2016: WeAreTheCity India, celebrated International Women’s Day and their 2nd Birthday by announcing their Rising Star Awards India Top 50 to celebrate and recognise the female talent in India.

Since 2014, WeAreTheCity India has helped thousands of women enhance their careers and businesses through dedicated events, networking groups and its own platform Now in its third year, WeAreTheCity India is more committed than ever to highlighting the achievements of the female talent pipeline across the country.  In 2015, WeAreTheCity set a strategic objective of promoting the achievements and supporting the careers of 500 women over the next five years, both in the UK and India. Through WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star awards, and with the support of a number of key organisations, WeAreTheCity plans to add to the list of 150 UK winners by recognising the efforts of an additional 50 women in India.

By highlighting the accolades of inspirational female talent, WeAreTheCity hopes to encourage organisations and business leaders to invest in and recognise women as leaders of tomorrow and individual contributors within their respective industries.

The Rising Star awards are the first to focus on India’s female talent pipeline below management level.

WeAreTheCity will use its extensive reach across India to find 50 high-achieving women across 10 key industries and professions.

Vanessa Vallely, Founder and CEO of WeAreTheCity, said: “I am so excited to bring our Rising Star awards to India. Over the past three years I have had the pleasure of watching WeAreTheCity India grow under the direction and guise of local women. Through our events and site interactions I have met some amazing and truly talented women. I sincerely hope that by raising the profile of our members and other women across India that we are able to highlight just how important the female pipeline is to Indian businesses and the Indian economy as a whole.”

Jo Gaglani, Chair of WeAreTheCity India said: “WeAreTheCity India has come a long way since its launch in 2013. We have had some unique events for our members supported by our sponsors and have grown organically. The Rising Star awards is a natural next step for WeAreTheCity India to highlight and celebrate upcoming female talent across India.

Recognising that careers for women may follow different timescales, the Top 50 India Rising Star awards will not have any age restrictions included within the criteria. WeAreTheCity feels it has a responsibility to ensure that female talent, regardless of age and background, receives the necessary support and skills to transition into key decision-making roles within our organisations.

“The need for more women in senior leadership roles is widely recognised. At Barclays, we want to go further – we believe in cultivating a pipeline of female talent across all levels of the organisation, from the executive assistant right through to the boardroom. These awards recognise the considerable achievements of talented women and our sponsorship reflects our commitment to support the women that come through our ranks to stay until leadership.” – Mark McLane, Managing Director, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Barclays PLC.

The WeAreTheCity awards, sponsored by Barclays, will be officially launched on 01 August 2016. Our supporting partners and sponsors will be announced in May.

The nominations process will open on 01 August for all 10 categories. Nominations will take place online via the WeAreTheCity.IN website.   A shortlist of 10 women from each industry category will be chosen in September by an esteemed panel of judges. The shortlist will then be open to a public vote.

Final judging will take place throughout October when our judges will choose the final five winners from each of the 10 categories. The results of the public vote will also be factored into the final scores. The top 50 rising stars will be announced in early November and all winners, sponsors and supporters will be invited to attend a prestigious evening reception towards the end of November to celebrate and collect their awards.

Categories, likely to be:
  • Banking
  • Consulting
  • Insurance
  • Technology
  • Hospitality
  • Arts & Culture
  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Retail
  • Others TBC

We will also have a category for Rising Star Champions. This category will support the efforts of senior male or female leaders who are actively supporting gender either within or outside their organisations.

Criteria for entries
  • Open to all women regardless of age
  • Nominees must be below senior/middle management
  • Nominees must be working within the industry of the category they are nominated for
  • Nominees must be working in India and be an Indian national
  • Individuals can nominate themselves
How we define a rising star
  • Someone who is a champion of women in their business or sector
  • Someone who strives to achieve success and results
  • Someone who gives back or inspires others
  • Someone who is recognised by others as having the potential to become a future leader in their industry
The Process
  • 01 Aug: Nominations open for all categories
  • 31 Aug: Nominations close for all categories
  • 26 Sep: Top 10 shortlist from each category announced/public voting opens for all shortlisted nominees
  • 14 Oct: Public voting closes for all shortlisted nominees
  • Mid Oct TBC: Shortlist celebration event
  • 08 Nov: Top 50 Rising Stars for each category announced
  • Nov TBC: Top 50 Rising Star reception and awards ceremony for winners, guests and sponsors

For more detail or if you are interested in sponsoring/partnering on the awards, please email

Phone: +919820758099


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Jaz Ampaw-Farr

Jaz Ampaw-Farr | Which Phonics

Resilience Ninja | Which Phonics Ltd | Education


Teachers saved my life. Being a poor, mixed race girl growing up in an abusive home then foster care I was destined to be a statistic. Teachers interrupted my trajectory by standing beside me in the fire of my chaotic life. They believed and invested in me, and encouraged me to look beyond 'I can't' to 'I can, and I damn well will!'
Today I'm teacher, Literacy Advisor and motivational speaker running my own business with a my vision of no child leaving school without the ability to read, write and spell. I share how teachers who exchange hope for expectation change lives can make a huge difference. See for more. Thank you!

Amanda Wilson

Amanda Wilson | West College Scotland

Lecturer in Computing | West College Scotland | Education


I am a part time Lecturer in Computing at West College Scotland teaching games development. I also organise events for school children to encourage them to be more constructive and creative in games design to let them see they can be creators and not just consumers of games. My Mini Game Jam event developed out of my PhD research which is almost complete and looks at ways of implementing games construction into primary schools and the event is now heading into it’s 4th year within schools in Glasgow. Through work I have become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and I share my own practices with other teachers to encourage them in their teaching. When not working I am a STEM ambassador and I help out in my local primary school supporting ICT lessons and running an after-school computing club.

Jeanette Pope

Jeanette Pope | BAE

Project management Professional Development Manager | BAE Systems | Defense


An advocate for women in business at BAE Systems, a blogger on female talent, a steering board member for female talent within the workplace and a committee member for the APM Women in Project Management and the Henley Women in Leadership Forum.

In her current role Jeanette’s responsibilities include all aspects of resource management including the promotion of skills, capability & knowledge development for 1200 Project Management employees. She is also responsible for creating and implementing ideas to enhance diversity and inclusion and for managing the impact of transformational change.

Jeanette has previously worked in a number of Project Management leadership roles, focusing on delivering business operations activities and managing large project control teams. Prior to that Jeanette’s career was within Finance, qualifying as a Chartered Management Accountant with BAE Systems in 2004, after starting on the graduate finance leadership development programme in 2000. She holds an APMQ, an MBA from Henley Business School (2009) and a BSc in Psychology & Health Psychology (1997). She is married and has two daughters aged nine and five.

Rising Star Champion 2016 Shortlist

Carolyn Pepper

Carolyn Pepper | Reed Smith

Partner | Reed Smith | Law


Carolyn is a partner at Reed Smith specializing in litigation, entertainment and media and intellectual property law. Carolyn sits on the firm's Executive Committee and is an advocate for diversity and equality in all its guises.

She chairs the firm's award winning Disability Task Force in London and has mentored two young women with disabilities seeking to enter the legal profession. She is a regular speaker at the firm’s Insight Days which enable young people to learn more about working in the legal profession and has offered work experience and work shadowing to many students over the years. Brummell Magazine named Carolyn as one of its Inspirational Women 2015: City Champions of Diversity last year and she was recently invited to speak at the Law Society’s City Firms Diversity Forum.

Rising Stars 2016 announcement

Rising Star Awards nominations | Deadline extended to 25 March 2016

We have received an amazing array of nominations for this years awards, however a few of you have asked for a little more time to submit your nominations. With this in mind, we are extending the award deadline to Friday 25 March 2016. Please note there will be no further extension passed this revised deadline.


About the Rising Star awards

The WeAreTheCity Top 100 Rising Star awards are the first to focus on the UK’s female talent pipeline below management level and will celebrate 100 female individual contributors that represent the leaders & role models of tomorrow. We hope that by raising the profile of our short list and winners, we will also encourage organisations to consider how they strengthen the development of their female pipeline in the future.

  • Rising Stars in Banking, sponsored by Societe Generale
  • Rising Stars in Charity, sponsored by Cancer Research UK, Women of Influence
  • Rising Stars in Consulting, sponsored by EY
  • Rising Stars in Defence, sponsored by PA Consulting
  • Rising Stars in Diversity, sponsored by AON
  • Rising Stars in EA/PA, sponsored by EPAA (Executive and Personal Assistant Association)
  • Rising Stars in Education & Academia, sponsored by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Rising Stars in Entrepreneurs, sponsored by Virgin Media Business
  • Rising Stars in Facilities Management, sponsored by ISS
  • Rising Stars in HR & Recruitment, sponsored by Twenty Recruitment
  • Rising Stars in Insurance, sponsored by Lloyd's
  • Rising Stars in Investment Management, sponsored by Newton Investment Management
  • Rising Stars in Law, The Lynne Freeman Award, sponsored by Reed Smith
  • Rising Stars in Media & Journalism, sponsored by Bloomberg
  • Rising Stars in Oil & Gas, sponsored by PwC
  • Rising Stars in Property Services, sponsored by Kier
  • Rising Stars in Public Sector, sponsored by Socitm Advisory
  • Rising Stars in Sales, sponsored by WorldPay
  • Rising Stars in Sports, sponsored by PedalSure
  • Rising Stars in Technology, sponsored by Morgan Stanley
  • Rising Star Champions, sponsored by Oliver Wyman in partnership with UN Women National Committee UK

Find out more about our sponsors here

Criteria for entries
  • Open to all women regardless of age
  • Nominees must be below senior/middle management
  • Nominees must be working within the industry of the category they are nominated for
  • Nominees must be working in the UK or Northern Ireland
  • Individuals can nominate themselves
How we define a rising star
  • Someone who is a champion of women in their business or sector
  • Someone who strives to achieve success and results
  • Someone who gives back or inspires others
  • Someone who is recognised by others as having the potential to become a future leader in their industry
The Process
  • 01 February: Nominations open for all categories
  • 25 March: Nominations close for all categories
  • 25 March: Additional information deadline
  • ‪25 April: Top 10 shortlist from each category announced/public voting opens for all shortlisted nominees
  • 17 May: Shortlist celebration event at Bloomberg
  • ‪27 May: Public voting closes for all shortlisted nominees
  • ‪06 June: Top 5 Rising Stars for each category announced
  • ‪30 June: Top 100 Rising Stars drinks reception and awards for winners, guests and sponsors at Barclays

Recognising that careers for women may follow different timescales, the Top 100 Rising Star awards will not have any age restrictions included within the criteria. We feel we have a responsibility to ensure that female talent regardless of age and background receives the necessary support and skills to transition into key decision-making roles within our organisations.

WeAreTheCity will use its extensive reach across the UK & Ireland to find 100 high-achieving women across 20 key industries and professions.

A shortlist of 10 for each category will be judged by our judging panel and published during April. Public voting will then open for all nominees. All shortlisted nominees will also be invited to celebrate their achievements at our shortlist celebration on the 17th May, kindly sponsored and hosted by Bloomberg.

Judging of the final five winners for each category will take place with the category sponsors & independent judges during May. The 100 winners will be announced in June where they will be invited to celebrate their awards at a champagne reception.


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