WiS night

by Mark Rowe

As Shakespeare once put it, all’s well that ends well, and so it was last night for the 2022, annual Women in Security (WiS) awards night, by Professional Security Magazine. The night was due in mid-September at the Underglobe on London’s South Bank, but was postponed at short notice due to the mourning for Queen Elizabeth II.

The winners were, with their category in brackets: Hannah Booth of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh (security manager); Ellie Hurst of the information security awareness consultancy Advent IM (contribution to industry); Iona Blake of Boots (business manager), Demelza Staples, Professional Security (no relation to the magazine – technical); and Stephanie England, Liverpool Women’s Hospital (front line).

Before and during the ceremony, magazine MD Roy Cooper as master of ceremonies and the patron of the awards, Una Riley, stressed that all 15 finalists were winners for having made it through the judging by an industry panel out of some 350 entries, Roy reported. The other finalists and their categories were Jane Fairweather of G4S at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, and Ruth Ripley, of The Walt Disney Company (security manager); Satia Rai, the new CEO of the International Professional Security Association, IPSA and Arevika Stepanian of STM Group (contribution to industry); Debbie Lawmon of Ward Security, and Traci McCallister of MAN Commercial Protection (business manager); Arctic Jiang of Hikvision and Lauren Summers of Mitie (technical); and Helen Baglee of Mitie, and Sandra Perry of The Westgrove Group (front line).

Then something not advertised beforehand was a special recognition award. The former senior counter-terror policeman Nick Aldworth took to the stage to pay tribute to the winner: Figen Murray. In appreciation for her campaigning for a Martyn’s Law, a proposed legal responsibility on venues to protect against terrorism, and for her work to support survivors of acts of terror and the bereaved, the audience stood and applauded her to the stage.

See also the interview with Figen in the November print edition of Professional Security Magazine.

After the business of the night, dancing to a band followed until the venue closed at 1am. Earlier, after the attenders gathered and enjoyed conversation and the decor and light show on a theme of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and after a word of introduction from Roy, the chair of ASIS UK Letitia Emeana gave a welcome speech on behalf of this year’s industry association that was host. Recalling the postponement due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, she recalled how that had showed the resilience and duty of the security industry. She thanked the judges, drawn from industry associations; and the sponsors (asking them to stand up for the audience to give a round of applause). Describing WiS as a must-attend, sell-out event, she added that it’s also one of the most glamorous and fun to attend events in the security calendar.

Addressing herself to the finalists she said: “You are all shining examples within your work, and this has been recognised and appreciated; and to you winners, the shining beacons and leading lights, congratulations and well done. You are all amazing.”

Una Riley described the WiS Awards Academy, something outlined in the September print edition of the magazine; all past finalists and winners of the 11 years so far will be welcomed into the networking Academy. A first gathering is planned at the London offices of Informa, who run exhibitions including IFSEC and FIREX; on February 7.

More in the December print edition of the magazine.

Picture by Mark Rowe; Iona Blake on stage to receive her award, between Roy Cooper and Una Riley.

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