Equality, diversity and inclusion champions

The latest in a new series profiling our Women of Achievement Awards 2021 celebrants highlights outstanding accomplishments of colleagues in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion.

Dr Catherine Davies, Sally Rose, Fridey Cordingley and Farhat Yaqoob (not pictured) are among our Women of Achievement 2021 celebrants

Women of Achievement Awards profiles feature. May 2021

Amazing achievements of 28 colleagues were recognised during a special online ceremony last month.

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 vital administrative and technical activities.

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

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

Advancing women’s equality

Dr Catherine Davies, Associate Professor of Linguistics and Phonetics in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, is a remarkable researcher and activist, who has worked to advance women’s equality at an institutional and national level.

With colleagues at Leeds and other UK institutions, she recently secured Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding for two projects highlighting the effects of the UK lockdowns on early child development.

Dr Davies said: “I’m delighted to be nominated for a Women of Achievement Award and to take my place alongside colleagues doing such important work.

“I hope it highlights the feats of the many women like me who have taken on extraordinary challenges throughout 2020/21.”

Women of Achievement Awards profiles feature. May 2021

Dr Catherine Davies is a remarkable researcher and activist

Developing a sense of togetherness

As the Deputy Director of Communications, Fridey Cordingley has the outstanding ability to bring together complex messages from across the University.

She has developed a sense of togetherness across communication channels and has shown confident leadership in her team and the wider University. 

Fridey said: “I’m deeply proud and touched to be nominated for a Women of Achievement Award this year.

“One of the best things about my job is having the opportunity to work with so many inspirational women, who continuously make an impact on our local, national and global communities. Being nominated to have a seat among those in our community who inspire and motivate me is very special. Thank you.”

Women of Achievement Awards profiles feature. May 2021

Fridey Cordingley has the outstanding ability to bring together complex messages from across the University

Significant development in stress theory

Sally Rose has managed the Staff Counselling and Psychological Support Service (SCPSS) since 2010, and has been fundamental in its growth and increased presence across the University.

Her innovative Workable Ranges Model provides a way of mapping healthy balance and forms of stress and strain in relation to each other. The model has been recognised as a significant development in stress theory.

Sally said: “I’m delighted to receive this award and am deeply grateful for the fertile ground provided by the University and my role in enabling the practice-based and academic work behind this achievement.

“Reaching this point at a later stage of my career highlights how knowledge gained over many years may come to fruition in unexpected and creative ways, if the conditions are right.

“The development of the SCPSS and the notion of workable ranges as guiding principles have been interrelated. Widening the scope of staff counselling enabled me to bring key ideas about stress and emotional regulation from social work and psychotherapy into an organisational and workplace frame, and to combine them with techniques for cultivating embodied self-awareness from mindfulness training. The development and multiple applications of the Workable Ranges Model have arisen through many productive interactions with colleagues, clients and course participants and couldn’t have happened without them.”

Women of Achievement Awards profiles feature. May 2021

Sally Rose has been fundamental in the growth and increased presence of the Staff Counselling and Psychological Support Service across the University

Exceptional contribution to creating an inclusive culture

Student Muslim Advisor, Farhat Yaqoob, has made an exceptional contribution to creating an inclusive culture at the University.

She’s a leading role model, who has worked enthusiastically to make sure everyone at Leeds feels supported in their faiths and beliefs.

Farhat said: “This is an honour.

“I’m fortunate enough to work alongside some wonderful people (Team Unity), who are infinitely supportive and inspiring when it comes to creating and strengthening our vision of ‘unity’, no matter where we are or who we meet. As a campus community, the past 12 months have been some of the toughest I have seen over the years.

“For me, it’s so important that people from all walks of life feel connected and have a sense of belonging and purpose. I can only do what I do because of the amazing contributors on and off campus, who have made a lot of my goals a reality by helping to make Leeds a home for me and others. My words fall short, but I’m very grateful for this award and I will treasure it.”

* We would like to explain that Farhat doesn’t use photos of herself, for religious reasons, which is why we’re not displaying one as part of this article.

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.

Inspiring others

Further profiles of each of the Women of Achievement Awards 2021 celebrants 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 and Inclusion Unit website, so watch this space for further information.

For those unable to attend the online Women of Achievement Awards 2021, you can access a recording of the ceremony to watch in full.

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