Southwold: Adnams honoured for helping women to fulfil their potential at work

Fiona Cannon, left, group director for diversity and inclusion at Lloyds Banking Group, presents the

Fiona Cannon, left, group director for diversity and inclusion at Lloyds Banking Group, presents the 2013 First Women Business of the Year award to Karen Hester, operations director at Adnams. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk-based Adnams has scooped a national accolade for helping enable women to reach their potential at work.

The 2013 First Women Business of the Year title, which recognises an organisation that goes beyond the ordinary to help women succeed, was presented to Adnams and its operations director, Karen Hester, at the 2013 First Women Awards in London.

The judges were impressed by the Southwold company’s investment in its people and particularly in the career development of Karen, who his risen from the role of office cleaner to head all day-to-day operations at the 300-employee business.

She arrived at the business after an early career in the army and having overcome traumatic personal experiences. Today, she looks after 16 senior managers, 10 of whom are women, demonstrating how she also champions other women in the workforce.

Karen said: “Winning this award is a terrific honour. I’m extremely proud to be part of the team at Adnams, and thank everyone for the opportunities and support I’ve been shown. I hope this award inspires others to be the best they can be.”

Adnams chief executive Andy Wood said: “I am extremely proud of Karen, who is an inspiration to us all. We have a very unique culture here at Adnams and this award is a clear indication of what can be achieved when employees are supported, and have the opportunity to learn and grow.”

Karen Hester also received individual recognition at the awards, being highly commended in the Tourism and Leisure category, which was won by Dawn Elson from Bury St Edmunds, who is the first female head of engineering at Gatwick Airport.

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The awards, created by Real Business magazine and the CBI and held in association with Lloyds Banking Group, were hosted by TV presenter Clare Balding.