Simply the best: Leading MK women awarded

Host Jan Flawn CBE with entertainer Steve Walls, Julia Upton winner of Outstanding Contribution award, judge Maria Bailey marketing director at Mercer & Hole and principal of MK College Julie Mills
Host Jan Flawn CBE with entertainer Steve Walls, Julia Upton winner of Outstanding Contribution award, judge Maria Bailey marketing director at Mercer & Hole and principal of MK College Julie Mills

Outstanding working women were celebrated at the inaugural Women Leaders MK.

The awards ceremony was hosted by its creator Jan Flawn CBE, who was recently given an honorary degree of Master of the Open University.

She felt determined that women who work and live in MK should be rewarded for their achievements in business, community and education.

Bernie Winkelman - the woman behind Dons chairman Pete - received a standing ovation when she was awarded outstanding support at the event on Friday.

Ms Flawn told the Citizen: “Despite Berni never seeking the limelight, the community of Milton Keynes is very much aware of the unstinting support she gives unconditionally, always there, seen but seldom heard.”

Other big winners on the night included Dr Claire Guest, founder of Medical Detection Dogs for her “infectious” determination that has created ground-breaking technology in MK.

Council officer Pam Gosal impressed judges with her philosophy to think of Milton Keynes as a blank canvas and her ethos of strategic long-term planning.

While the main award of Outstanding Contribution to Milton Keynes went to Julia Upton, chief executive of MK Community Foundation,

Ms Flawn said: “Julia has shown a passionate commitment to connecting and growing the community of Milton Keynes. As a creative and transformational leader, Julia is a tireless advocate of voluntary sector organisations, supporting them to achieve impact and sustainability and fighting to ensure they are recognised to be at the heart of our city and the economy.”

All he winners will be nominated for the national First Women CBI Awards early next year and will be guests at the First Women (CBI) Summit on February 4.