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News ->Asian Women of Achievement Award Winners 2008

Asian Women of Achievement Award Winners 2008
(20 May 2008)

HRH Princess Badiya of JordanWasfi Kani, who founded Grange Park Opera in 1998 and created an opera festival that today rivals Glyndebourne, was last night named 'Asian Woman of the Year' 2008. She was among nine other winners at the annual Asian Women of Achievement Awards event where guests included Her Royal Highness Princess Badiya of Jordan, and actress Elizabeth Hurley.

Co-founded by Pinky Lilani OBE and organised by Real Business magazine, the Asian Women of Achievement Awards is an inspirational event to recognise all levels of achievement made by Asian women in the UK – whether professional or personal - within the commercial, professional, artistic and humanitarian sectors.

The AWA 2008 winners

Arts and Culture: Shobana Jeyasingh

Shobana JeyasinghJeyasingh is a world renowned choreographer and artistic director and has directed the Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company since 1988. Today, the company has established itself as the leading exponent of contemporary Indian dance.

Other nominees for the Arts and Culture category were:

Business Woman of the Year: Ruby McGregor-Smith

Ruby McGregor-SmithRuby McGregor-Smith is chief executive of £1.2bn business services group MITIE and, still, the first and only Asian women to run a FTSE 250 company. An accountant by training, she previously served as the group’s CFO.

Other nominees for the Business category were:

Professional of the Year: Afshan Ahmed (joint winner)

Afshan AhmedAfshan Ahmed, of the Foster Care Association, is a pioneer and author in the field of “life story work”, working with children in foster care. Her work has helped to give hundreds of children a sense of their own personal history.

Professional of the Year: Sue Ashtiany (joint winner)

Sue AshtianySue Ashtiany is the head of employment law at Nabarro LLP. Sue has served on the Equal Opportunities Commission and as UK refugee counsellor appointed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, making a huge contribution over several decades to the understanding of migrant and refugee issues.

Other nominees for the Professional of The Year category were:

Entrepreneur of the Year: Hasfa Abubacker

Hasfa AbubackerAfter working in home shopping for ten years, in October 2005 Hasfa Abubacker became the only woman and, aged 31, the youngest person in the UK to own and run a shopping channel. After growth, acquisitions and a move into retail, Pitchwell’s unique format of pitch demonstrations has earnt the company a turnover of £8.5m.

Other nominees for the Entrepreneur of The Year category were:

Media Professional of the Year: Arti Lukha

Arti LukhaArti Lukha’s determination to get to the heart of cutting-edge news stories as a hard-hitting journalist, has earned her the esteemed position of home news editor of ITN. In this role, Lukha strives to deliver the mix of opinions and backgrounds essential to achieve a balanced news programme that accurately reflects the diversity of British society today.

Other nominees for the Media Professional of The Year category were:

Public Sector Award: Asha Khemka

Asha KhemkaAs principal of West Nottinghamshire College (WNC), Asha Khemka is the guiding light at the head of one of the biggest colleges in Europe. Khemka is a respected Ofsted Inspector and nationally regarded as an important and inspirational figure in further education.

Other nominees for the Public Sector category were:

Social and Humanitarian Award: Bala Thakrar

Bala ThakrarBala Thakrar has championed the needs of vulnerable people for 20 years. She founded Apna Ghar (the UK’s first Asian Disabled housing association) and has held posts at the Confederation of Indian Organisations, Voluntary Service Overseas and the Charities Aid Foundation. Three years ago, she founded the Asian Foundation for Philanthropy.

Other nominees for the Social and Humanitarian category were:

Young Achiever of the Year: Snigdha Singh

Snigdha SinghSnigdha Singh completed an MBA at the Indian Institute of management at the age of 23, where she was awarded the JP Morgan Scholarship for Best Female Exchange Student. She joined the Lehman Brothers trading floor in 2002, was promoted to associate within a year, becoming director of fixed income rates at just 27.

Other nominees for the Young Achiever of The Year category were:

The Lloyds TSB Award: Wasfi Kani OBE

Wasfi Kani OBE is named Asian Woman of the Year 2008.At the age of 14, Wasfi Kani won a place in the National Youth Orchestra where she was the only non-white member. At 18, she auditioned for the Royal Academy of Music and was accepted but turned this down for an offer from Oxford University where she read music. By 1993 she had made conducting her full-time career.

In 1989, Kani founded the small-scale touring company Pimlico Opera. In 1992, while continuing to run Pimlico, Kani was made chief executive of Garsington Opera. During her five years’ tenure, she doubled their turnover.

In 1998 she created a new opera house at Grange Park, with a new company Grange Park Opera. In the ten years since its inception, she has created an opera festival of the highest artistic standards that rivals Glyndebourne and each summer turns over more than £2m. In recognition of her contribution, she received an OBE for services to music in the New Year’s Honour’s List 2002.


Click here to read about Pinky Lilani, founder of the AWA Awards.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2008 shortlist.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2007 winners.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2007 shortlist.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2007 picture gallery.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2006 winners.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2006 shortlist.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2005 winners.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2005 shortlist.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2005 picture gallery.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2004 winners
Click here for the AWA Awards 2004 picture gallery.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2004 shortlist
Click here for the AWA Awards 2003 winners.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2003 shortlist.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2002 winners.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2002 shortlist.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2001 winners.
Click here for the AWA Awards 2001 shortlist.


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