City women honoured at awards dinner

THE Capitalist never needs an excuse to celebrate the brightest female minds that contribute to London’s thriving business sector, but one was nonetheless provided last Thursday at the Women in the City’s Woman of Achievement award.

At a celebration evening hosted by law firm Bryan Cave, talented female executives from across London and the Home Counties were honoured across eight categories, ahead of an overall prize to be awarded by the Lord Mayor Elect, Alderman Fiona Woolf, at the end of next month.

Joanna Santinon, a partner at EY took home the accountancy plaudit, while Vanessa Brady, president of the Society of British & International Design was honoured for her services to the built environment.

For financial services, Coutts’ managing director of banking services Joanna Thornell picked up the prize; in insurance Sarah Turvill, chairman of Willis International; and for legal services Rosemary Martin – Vodafone’s group general counsel and company secretary. Construction and development firm Skanska’s managing director Katy Dowding was recognised for her achievements in facilities management, while Lesley Regan, professor of obstetrics & gynaecology for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust at St Mary’s Hospital picked up the healthcare prize.

And finally, Capgemini’s Maggie Buggie was honoured in the technology category.

Running since 2007, the award aims to recognise women who are actively promoting and encouraging the progress of other women above and beyond their everyday job.

And it seems the message is getting across. As one senior insurance broker said at the event: “Being involved with Women in the City has really made me think about how I need to identify women in our business. I had no idea that women don’t promote themselves in the way that men do.”

The Capitalist is more than happy to raise a glass to that.

■ An extra inch can make all the difference when it comes to mile-high sleeping, according to an intriguing bit of number-crunching from planemaker Airbus. The firm reckons an 18-inch wide plane seat is 53 per cent better for passenger sleeping compared to 17 inches, based on time taken to fall asleep and number of times the sleeper wakes up. And how did it reach these figures? A sleep study on six “passengers”, who were asked to kip for several nights in a mocked-up cabin, complete with typical aircraft noises and in-flight entertainment. No word on whether the six test pilots were also subjected to turbulence or toddlers kicking the back of their (wider) chairs.

■ ON 5 December the NSPCC hosts the Great British Chefs’ Dinner. To celebrate, we are running a prize draw every week until 28 October based on the gastronomic history of the City. Winners will receive a £50 voucher for breakfast at the City restaurant Hawksmoor.

Q: Sweeney Todd, the fictitious Demon Barber of Fleet Street, disposed of his victims by making them into pies. What was the name of his accomplice, the pie shop keeper?

Email answers to

The winner will be chosen at random and announced next week. Terms and conditions apply. For more information visit: