Two Burton WiRE women have won awards in hotly-contested categories of the annual Business Networking Awards.
Karen Kirby, owner of greenshoot HR, was named Networker of the Year while Elaine Pritchard, who runs Caittom Publishing, won highly commended in the Business to Business (Business of the Year) category.
In 2011, along with Joelle Harris, Karen Kirby founded the Burton-on-Trent WiRE group. It is currently run by a team of three: Elaine Pritchard, Alison Bradley and Lorraine Holden.
The Business Networking Awards, now in its fifth year, is fast becoming one of the most prestigious events in the Midlands’ networking calendar. The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of businesses who are members of networking groups in Lichfield, Tamworth and Sutton Coldfield.
Hundreds of business people attended the glittering awards night held at Drayton Manor. Competition was fierce with just one winner and one highly commended award given out in each of the 12 categories. There were 12 finalists for Business to Business (Business of the Year) and nine for Networker of the Year.
Karen said she was surprised and delighted to be named as Networker of the Year. She has run greenshoot HR for 17 years and provides human resources support, performance management advice and business coaching to small businesses.
Karen said: “I started networking in the recession to avoid having to get a job! And to build my business and stay self-employed. I would recommend it to anyone. People buy from people and what I really love about networking is connecting different people and seeing their businesses grow. I was very shocked to win this award, as I feel I am only doing what I love.”
Karen is also a founder of the Three Wise Women Community Interest Company, which organises regular events to help women develop and grow their businesses.
Former newspaper journalist Elaine Pritchard established Caittom Publishing in 2010 and works with a wide range of private and public sector companies around the UK providing consultancy, training and support in creating content for their websites and social media.
She said: “I was delighted to be shortlisted as a finalist but didn’t expect for a minute that I would be one of just two winners in such a hotly-contested category.”
Pictures by Philip Charles Photography
Left: Karen receives her award from Sally Wagstaff of Xodos Aesthetics, who sponsored the Networker of the Year category. Right: Elaine receives her award from Dave Turner of Gemport Jewellery who sponsored the Business to Business category.