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.
Catherine Roe is Chief Executive for Elior UK, one of the largest foodservice operators in the country who are incorporated in France. With more than 25 years’ experience within the hospitality industry, Catherine is inspired by building on Elior’s industry leading reputation for great service and innovation
In addition to her work at Elior, Catherine was delighted to be asked to join the operating board at Women of the Year (WOYLA) in 2003. She has been instrumental, together with the management committee, in supporting the organisation commercially by gaining sponsors and donations to enable a “free” lunch to all attendees.
In 2013 Catherine was inaugurated in The Women 1st Top 100 Club. This network of the most influential women in hospitality, passenger transport and travel and tourism, acts as ambassadors and role models for the female leaders of tomorrow.
Oxford graduate Catherine spent her earlier career at Sodexo, where she was purchasing director for the UK and Europe. Prior to that, she was at the Ladbroke Group and Hilton International. She spends her spare time with her family and has a deep interest in music and the Arts.
The Nominating Council
Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE
Dame Carol Black
Teresa Graham CBE
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
Bishop Libby Lane
Doreen Lawrence OBE
Maureen Lipman CBE
Tanya Bruce Lockhart
Sue MacGregor CBE
Rabbi The Rt Hon The Baroness Neuberger DBE
Dame Gail Rebuck DBE CBE
Professor Nancy Rothwell
The Countess of St Andrews
Lynda Myles Till MBE
Sandi Toksvig OBE
Lady Louise Vaughan
Virgina Wade OBE
The Management Committee
Teresa Graham CBE
Lynda Myles Till MBE
Women of the Year Administrator: Gill Branston & Associates
Board of Directors
J. Etchingham, President
C. Roe, Chair
V.J. Williams, Company Secretary
D. Coyne, Finance Director
Lady L. Vaughan