The full list of winners for this year’s PCR Women of the Year 2015 event have been announced, and you can check out their full speeches from the day below:
Nova Smith, founder of IT Tablet UK, went home with the most prestigious gong of the day, PCR Woman of the Year.
She said: ”Now honestly, I did not expect to win this and I feel like I have got tears in my eyes, and I am emotional but I am a woman.
“I don’t know if any of you know about me? My name is Nova Smith and I run a company called IT Tablet PC. It all started in 2009, I was pregnant on holiday with twins, and went into labour at 18 weeks. We were abroad me and my husband, and we lost our first boy at 18 weeks and managed to save the other twin at 25 weeks. He was born at 700g but went down to 480g, that’s why I’m emotional.
“And it was a year in Cyprus for us, we couldn’t get home and we had our little girl with us and he was on a life support machine, and it was horrendous.
“About a year later we had a window of opportunity to fly him back to England, and we got him back to England it was then that I thought I need something to be able to communicate with home, because I was in hospital all the time. But we had no money left. We had been a year aboard my husband and me, we’re self-employed, and it was a time of the recession. So what I did was, I spent our last savings, stupidly or not stupidly, but at the time my husband thought it was stupid.
“Prior to that I needed a tablet. We couldn’t afford an iPad, that’s the basics of it. So I imported a generic Android tablet from China – I thought it was amazing.
"I thought right let’s spend all our savings that we had left – £3,000 – and our mortgage was £3,000. I said let’s buy some tablets, import them and sell them on Amazon. My husband said ‘you’re mad’. I said ‘I know’.
"We spent the £3,000 and we got fished by some scammers from China, and the goods never arrived. All this was while, Lucas our little boy, was still in intensive care in England. He was now 18 months old, but never got off a life support machine. And we borrowed £3,000 from my husband’s mum, found a reliable seller, imported them and sold them on Amazon.
“We were then able to bring our son home on a ventilator and he just got better. He got better and came off of the ventilator, came off of oxygen, came off all medicines, and he is now nearly six and at a mainstream school. So he’s just done amazing, and he has just more or less left me.
“We then thought well we can do belter than the tablets that we were selling so we went out to China, we specked out the tablet that we wanted to create and we got the design company behind GHD hair straighteners – we went big. We thought if we can go through all that, we thought let’s think big.
“So we got the design company that did the GHD hair straighteners to design the packaging for us. So from £3,000, we started selling this in 2014 and we now turn over three million pound. Big up the women!"
Rising Star winner Abigail Bowen, Technician from Overclockers UK, said: “I’m just really surprised. I just want to thank everyone on the judges who gave me this opportunity.
“Thank you to my manager as well, it was just a complete surprise. One day he just came up to me and said by the way… So I want to thank my mentor, obviously after the speech you heard about mentors. When I first started in tech he was the one who gave me all the advice I needed to just push myself further. Yeah I’m just in shock, thank you very much.”
Rachel Gordon, European Marketing Manager from Mad Catz, scooped the Marketing and PR award, and said on the day: “I don’t know what to say, I’m really humbled.
“I feel really undeserving so I would like to dedicate this to everyone in the category. Thank you very much.”
Lenovo’s Senior Sales Manager Michelle McGeoch bagged the Sales awardon the day, and said: “Thank you, I think like everyone else, I’m very surprised it was me. I’m delighted. I’m very surprised.
“And I listen to everything that’s being said about women in IT and I have worked in IT for 25 years. I have never felt disadvantaged as a woman, but I completely agree we need to do more for everybody, for all the women in our organisations, and it is certainly something I am very keen to do. So thank you everyone, I am really, really pleased."