WHO WE ARE
In 1955 The first Women of the Year Lunch took place in London. The brainchild of Tony (Antonella) Lothian, a journalist and 33-year-old mother of six, it honoured, equally, 500 extraordinary women. It took place at a time when Britain was radically changing as a result of the war and the Labour government that followed, and was the first of its kind. Over 60 years later this lunch remains unique in honouring and celebrating those women who fall into no other category than the sometimes silent work they do within their community and for the greater good.
The assembly of around 400 women who gather for Women of the Year Lunch are from all walks of life, each handpicked for their achievements and contribution to society. Each guest is regarded as a ‘Woman of the Year’ and represents not only themselves but also the millions of extraordinary women who make a difference every day. In a world which often celebrates ‘celebrity’, Women of the Year sets itself apart by honouring real achievement and diversity.
Julie Etchingham is the award-winning anchor of ITV News at Ten and ITV’s Tonight programme. In 2015 she made history as the first woman to moderate a General Election Leaders’ Debate – the only debate to feature all seven Party leaders. Since 2010, Julie has played major roles in ITV’s General Election, EU Referendum and US Election coverage and during the most recent UK election campaign; Julie conducted agenda-setting interviews with all five main party leaders for the Tonight programme.
Julie was the first woman to co-anchor a UK election night programme – and the first woman to be given the prestigious award for News Presentation by the Royal Television Society, which she won for a second time in 2016. Under her watch, News at Ten has won four BAFTA awards for News and she was named the London Press Club’s ‘Broadcast Journalist of the Year’ in 2015. Julie is Patron of Anti-Slavery International and she has served on the management committee of ‘Women of the Year’ for the past eight years.
Julie also presented ITV’s critically acclaimed coverage of the Royal Wedding (Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) and Diamond Jubilee. She has interviewed the past five Prime Ministers – as well as major figures such as Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Aung San Suu Kyi, Christine Lagarde, Cherie Blair and Angelina Jolie. She made a documentary with Prince William and Prince Harry in Lesotho in 2010, and in 2013 she presented live from Rome as the news of the election of Pope Francis was announced. In April 2014, she secured the first British television interview with Pope Francis, as she moderated a conference on Human Trafficking at the Vatican.
Her work on the ‘Tonight’ programme includes a documentary from Afghanistan on the role of women in the military and a film with Doreen Lawrence to mark the 20th anniversary of Stephen Lawrence’s death. She presented two special programmes from Paris and Brussels in the wake of major terror attacks and recently did the same after the Manchester attack and the Grenfell Tower fire.
Julie previously worked for Sky News and the BBC. During her time at Sky, she anchored live from Thailand in the aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami, was on air as the news of the 7/7 attacks unfolded, and travelled to the Falkland Islands to make a series of films on the 25th anniversary of the conflict. Julie joined the BBC in 1992 as a news trainee where she subsequently worked as a reporter and presenter. She has written for The Sunday Times, New Statesman, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph.
Julie read English at Newnham College, Cambridge and is married with two sons.
Lady Louise Vaughan is the granddaughter of Lady Lothian who founded the Women of the Year lunch in 1955 with Odette Hallowes and Georgina Coleridge. She worked at her first lunch in 1990 and joined the management committee in 1998 and then the board in 2006.
In 2005 she co-founded FG Consultants Ltd a boutique estate agency representing those seeking to buy or sell residential property in Prime Central London. Since starting the company their clients have ranged in size from £1million to £56 million and it has established itself as a boutique agency with a highly regarded name.
She has been a trustee for nearly 10 years for FitzRoy an organisation that supports adults with learning disabilities and has recently become an ambassador for the Cambridge Children’s Hospital project.
She is married with 4 young children and is an avid reader with a great interest in the arts.
The Nominating Council
Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE
Dame Carol Black
Baroness Shami Chakrabarti CBE
Professor Jaqueline Dunkley-Bent
Dame Teresa Graham CBE
Dame Katherine Grainger DBE
Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE
Sian Jarvis CB
Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE
Maureen Lipman CBE
Martina Milburn CBE
Lynda Myles Till MBE
Colonel Deborah Oliver
Dame Arlene Philips CBE
Lady Louise Vaughan
The Management Committee
Lynda Myles Till MBE
Lady Louise Vaughan
Women of the Year Administrator: Gill Branston & Associates
020 3488 4816
Board of Directors
J. Etchingham, President
Lady L. Vaughan, Chair
D. Coyne, Finance Director
J. Angelides MBE