Media Release: Suzie Norton, CEO of Screen WM, wins 2010 Businesswoman of the Year Award

HILTON Birmingham Metropole Hotel, (15.00) Friday 15 October 2010: The prestigious Businesswoman of the Year Award has been exclusively announced at the Vitalise Women of the Year Luncheon and Awards Ceremony, attended by hundreds of high-profile guests, in support of national disability charity Vitalise.

The winner of the 2010 title is Suzie Norton, age 34, chief executive Officer of Screen WM.

Now in its 28th year of fundraising success, the awards aim to create role models for the future.

The Businesswoman Award was one of three announced at the ceremony.

The Vitalise Award for Woman of Courage was made to Katie Piper and the Vitalise Award for Woman of Achievement was made to Karen Darke. Ruby Wax and Emma Bridgewater were guest speakers.

The event was hosted by TV’s Suzanne Virdee.

Businesswoman of the Year 2010, Suzie Norton, met judges a week ago, along with six other exceptionally strong candidates. Each had reached the final stages of the award’s selection process in recognition of their significant contribution to the financial success and performance of an organisation, either as a senior executive or as an entrepreneur setting up on her own.

In winning the 2010 Businesswoman of the Year title, Suzie’s considerable personal contribution in raising the profile of Birmingham and the region as a dynamic and growing centre for the digital and creative industries is recognised.

This combines with her tenacity and success at continuing to attract investment into the region, through unprecedented economic times, representing its creative industries at a national and local Government level.

Suzie Norton has been CEO of Screen WM since 2007 with a remit to develop the economic, social and cultural wealth of the region. Since her appointment, she has been instrumental in restructuring the company and forming a new partnership with leading UK broadcaster Channel 4, to deliver the channel’s new 4iP fund. She is also in advanced negotiations with the Government on the new model for out of London support for the creative industries.

Prior to joining Screen WM, Suzie was the inaugural director of Film Birmingham, the City’s first film office, and helped establish its first online film location service, increasing regional filming activity by 40 per cent and generating a further £14 million for Birmingham’s economy.

She began her career as a researcher at Westminster for GMTV’s Sunday Programme, having graduated with a degree in British Politics. Suzie was promoted to the position of political producer at the age of 23 and went on to become the youngest member of the Parliamentary Press Lobby in its 200-year history.

Businesswoman Awards chair, Judy Groves, said: “Huge congratulations to Suzie because year on year the calibre of entrants goes from strength to strength and the 2010 finalists are no exception.

“Not only are these women leaders within their own organisation and sector, but they can reckon with the UK’s most successful female talent in business today. Each is an inspiration to women from every walk of life who seek to achieve their maximum potential in their chosen field of work.

“Time and again, the Businesswoman of the year title has shown its value as a sign post to future success. Suzie follows in the footsteps of previous year’s winners of calibre and renown. These include Hilary Devey, the entrepreneur who has starred in Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire; and Karren Brady, MD of Birmingham City FC, who now stars in BBC TV’s The Apprentice.”

Geoff Cousins, managing director of Jaguar UK, said: “Each of our seven finalists for the Businesswoman Award has made a significant contribution to their organisation’s performance and profitability.

“Each is a role model for the future in her own right, be that though having demonstrated indomitable entrepreneurial spirit or great leadership and management skills in challenging economic times. I am really proud to have had the opportunity to be part of this year’s Awards and congratulate all of our finalists and winners.”

Vitalise chief executive, Neil McConachie, added: “I would like to congratulate Suzie Norton on her fully deserved Award. It recognises the contribution women are making to the economy and Suzie perfectly exemplifies the incredible progress women have made in the business arena.

“Vitalise is very proud to be associated with the Woman of the Year Awards and on behalf of the charity I would like to thank everyone who has supported this inspirational event over so many years.”


The 2010 Businesswoman of the Year finalists

Year on year, the prestigious title attracts an outstanding field of candidates and 2010 is no exception. The seven finalists drawn from every walk of life has each made a significant contribution to the financial success and performance of their organisation:

* Louise Bennett, chief executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

* Julie Moore, chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

* Suzie Norton, chief executive of Birmingham based Screen West Midlands.

* Alison Wetton, founder and chief executive of All About Weight, headquartered in Crewe.

* Kavita Jnagal and Rani Upelle, co-founders of Simply Recruitment, based in Birmingham.

* Fiona Toye, chief executive of Toye, Kenning and Spencer, headquartered in Birmingham.

The judges were Ben Gulliford, Regional Centre Head for Barclays Wealth , Silla Maizey, management board director, British Airways, Gavin Tyzack, director of sales Southern Division, Hilton Hotels UK, Geoff Cousins, managing director of Jaguar UK, Tracy Westall, UK Public Sector sales director in the UK, SCC.

About the event

Now in its 28th year of fundraising success, the Women of the Year Luncheon and Awards is the best kept secret outside of London and a sell out year on year, the event is attended by hundreds of high profile and talented female guests. The 2010 event sponsors were Barclays Wealth, British Airways, Harvey Nichols, Hilton Birmingham Metropole, Jaguar, SCC and The Challenge Factor.

The event raises vital funds for the national charity, Vitalise, which provides essential respite breaks and other services for disabled people, visually impaired people, and carers. Proceeds from the awards are donated directly to Vitalise. Over the years, the awards have raised over £500,000 for the charity.

Follow Woman of the Year on LinkedIn and Twitter @2010WOTY

About Vitalise

Vitalise is a national charity providing essential services for disabled people, visually impaired people and carers. Vitalise provides short breaks for disabled people and carers, with 24-hour nursing care on-call and personal support, at three accessible UK centres. A fourth Centre in Cornwall provides accessible activity and adventure breaks for children and adults with disabilities. All of Vitalise’s Centres offer a wide range of activities and excursions. Vitalise also organises group holidays for blind and visually-impaired people, accompanied by sighted guides.

Media contacts and images

Beatrice Mocci Tel 0141 339 4175 / Email

Louise Acton Tel 07595 355 938 / Email

Colin Brook Vitalise – Mobile 07960 464 728.

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