Recognising excellence: Our Women of Achievement 2021

Outstanding achievements of 28 colleagues have been recognised during a special online ceremony.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, provided a welcome and introduction at this year’s Women of Achievement Awards, which were co-hosted by Professor Louise Bryant, University Academic Lead for Gender Equality, and Gillian Neild, Co-Chair of the Women at Leeds Network.

Held for the sixth time, the awards aim to acknowledge and celebrate women who share a common commitment to excellence and have performed outstandingly in their fields, whether this be in research, student education or student experience, scholarship, international strategies, leadership of key University initiatives, or supporting administrative and technical activities.

The awards highlight the significant contributions and impact the recipients have made across the University and beyond.

Inclusive culture

Professor Buitendijk said: “The 2021 Women of Achievement Awards was a great opportunity to celebrate the talent and contribution made by women across the University and I am very proud to be working alongside our 28 celebrants.

“It is incredibly important that we remain committed to promoting a community of compassion and respect, where all of us can succeed. We need to work together to ensure that our University values and encourages equality and recognises and embraces the importance of diversity and inclusion.

“The past 12 months have been extremely challenging in many aspects, but as this year’s ceremony highlighted, we have a strong, dependable and committed team of individuals who strive to make their students’ and colleagues’ experiences better. 

“I look forward to celebrating more achievements and contributions in the year to come, and wish to extend a personal thanks to each of the celebrants for their dedication and hard work.”

The women receiving awards were all nominated by their peers, and are once again drawn from across the University, from a range of academic and professional colleagues, highlighting how excellence is being achieved throughout the institution.

This year’s Women of Achievement

Professor Anwesha Sarkar (School of Food Science and Nutrition)

Dr Catherine Davies (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies)

Catherine Lorigan (Student Education Service)

Dr Claire Savy (Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics at Leeds)

Farhat Yaqoob (Student Education Service)

Dr Fozia Bora (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies)

Fridey Cordingley (Communications)

Dr Gehan Selim (School of Civil Engineering)

Professor Helen Gleeson (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Honorary Clinical Associate Professor Helena Marzo-Ortega (School of Medicine)

Professor Iyiola Solanke (School of Law)

Jenny Brady (Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence, Student Education Service)

Jo Hynes (Estates and Facilities, Facilities Directorate)

Professor Kate Dossett (School of History)

Professor Lisa Collins (School of Biology)

Dr Lisa Marshall (School of Food Science and Nutrition)

Professor Louise Bryant (Faculty of Medicine and Health and Academic Lead for Gender Equality)

Louise Heery (Research and Innovation Service)

Dr Michelle Morris (Leeds Institute of Data Analytics)

Dr Rachael Spraggs (Institute of Applied Geoscience, School of Earth and Environment)

Dr Rasha Kadry Soliman (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies)

Dr Rebecca Thompson (Astbury Biostructure Laboratory Electron Microscopy Facility)

Ruth Buller (Professional Services, Human Resources)

Dr Sally Rose (Staff Counselling and Psychological Support Service)

Professor Sarah Waters (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies)

Stella Foster (School of Chemical and Process Engineering)

Sue Green (Deputy Director, Residential Services)

Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang (International Business Division)

Inspiring others

Profiles of each of the Women of Achievement Awards 2021 celebrants, including details about why they each received an award and their reaction to the announcement, will be published on For Staff during the coming weeks. Links to these articles will be added to the weekly eNews editions and the Equality Policy Unit website, so watch this space for further information!

Portrait photographs of all this year’s celebrants will eventually be installed as part of a permanent exhibition in Parkinson Court. The images will join those of the 65 colleagues recognised in previous Women of Achievement Awards, creating an enduring showcase celebrating the University’s talented and remarkable women, as well as helping to inspire other staff and students in their career development.

Success for all

Leeds has been commended for its work to support the career development of talented women in the form of a prestigious Bronze award under the Athena SWAN Charter. The Athena SWAN Charter is designed to recognise advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all. Faculties at Leeds celebrated a hat-trick of new awards across the University last year.

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