WeAreTheCity are extremely proud to announce our shortlist for the 2021 Rising Star Awards.

Over an eight week period, we received over 1,000 nominations from across the UK and Northern Ireland. The calibre of entries for this year’s awards was exceptional.

On behalf of the Royal Bank of Canada and our supporting sponsors, it gives us great pleasure to announce the 2021 Rising Star award’s shortlist and to congratulate all of the shortlisted individuals.

The 200-strong shortlist showcases remarkable women within the UK from over 20 categories representing different industries/professions. An example of the amazing women shortlisted this year are; Alice Hendy, who founded R;pple Suicide Prevention after the tragic loss of her brother, Josh, in 2020; Asha Mohammed, an award winning second year junior doctor and an activist who has made it her mission to tackle gender-based violence with a specific focus on female genital mutilation; and Sherrie Smith, who was born and raised in a traditional Romany Gypsy family and now dedicates her time to challenging prejudice, racism and bias directed at Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

New for this year, we are also celebrating women around the world with our Global Award for Achievement.

This year’s shortlisted nominees include  Anju Gurung, who is a Associate Civil Servant for the British Gurkas Nepal; Isabella Gomes, who is currently freelancing as a Coronavirus frontline reporter for the Baltimore Sun; and Vicki Lau, a VFX and VR Specialist, whose worked on AMC’s hit series, The Walking Dead (Season 4), as well as other movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy, War for the Planet of the Apes and Aquaman.

We are also celebrating Men for Gender Balance, which celebrates senior men who are championing women and gender balance either inside or outside their organisation. The shortlisted nominees for this year include Gary Ford, Director, Moonshot Consultancy, who is a Male Allies advisor for Women on the Wharf and provides keynote presentations or run workshops on creating male ally groups; Peter Palmer, Trustee and Director (Voluntary) S.E.E.D (Support and Education for Eating Disorders Lancashire); and Patrick McCrae, CEO and Co-Founder, ARTIQ, a global arts and cultural consultancy, and a LGBTQ+ leader committed to building a truly inclusive sector.

The Rising Star awards also include a Company of the Year award, which recognises the achievements of a company who can demonstrate that they are actively supporting and developing their female talent pipeline through initiatives, training, development programmes and/or internal employee relations groups. Shortlisted companies this year are NatWest, PwC and Royal Air Force.

The awards also continue to celebrate Rising Star Champions, recognising the efforts of senior leaders who are actively supporting the female pipeline, included in this year’s shortlist are; Maysoon Shafiq,  Founder and Director of Al Mu’Minun (The Believers), a non-profit organisation dedicated to serving the youth through open spaces of spirituality, dialogue and empowerment; and Bernadette Thompson, Deputy Director for Inclusion, Wellbeing and Employee Engagement in the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG); a notable diversity advocate and public speaker, working with leaders across government and the public sector to drive a culture of inclusion and increase the pace on representation of Black and Minority Ethnic employees particularly at more senior grades.

Dave Thoms, CEO, RBC

“Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is delighted to be powering the Rising Stars Awards for the second year. These awards are critical to celebrate and showcase incredible talent across multiple industries in the UK, something that is particularly important during these challenging times. Diversity and inclusion is more than just a value at RBC, it’s our strength, and it’s one of the ways we bring our purpose of helping clients thrive and communities prosper to life.”


“The calibre of entries this year has been truly exceptional. Every one of these women should be extremely proud of their achievements. They are key contributors to their industries and outstanding role models. I wish them the very best of luck in the final round of judging.”


Vanessa Vallely OBE

The shortlist will now be judged by an additional set of expert judges and the winners will be announced on 25 May 2021.

The winners will then be invited to celebrate their achievements at a virtual award’s ceremony on 15 July, alongside our sponsors, judges and special guests.

We would like to thank our judges for giving up their time in support of this year’s awards: Adam Fidler Adam Green; Amanda Brock; Ania Rontaler; Bev Shah; Carol Ann Whitehead; Charlene Hunter; Charlotte Sweeney OBE; Charly Young; Christina Riley; Commander Sam Kinsey-Briggs MBE; Dame Inga Beale DBE; Dania Lyons; Dr Diahanne Rhiney BCAe; Dr Funke Abimbola MBE; Dr Heather Melville OBE; Dr Jess Wade; Dr Ruth Oshikanlu MBE; Dr Yvonne Thompson CBE; Elliot Shaw; Helen Pankhurst CBE; India Gary Martin; Jenny Blackford; Jenny Garrett OBE; Jenny Raynor; Jessica Taplin; Joe Incutti; Julie Baker; June Angelides MBE; Katie McEwan; Khalaya Eylazova; Lieutenant Colonel Sulle D Alhaji; Lucy Chamberlain; Margarete McGrath; Melanie Seymour; Nabeela Butt; Paul Sainthouse; Paul Sesay; Paulette Mastin; Penny Triantafillou; Phillip Palmer; Pips Bunce; Rav Bumbra; Richard Pickard; Roni Savage; Shing-Wai Wong; Steve Brewster; Sue Percy; Tracy Westall; Victoria Williams; and Victoria Wratten.

The public vote of support will open on 20 April 2021 for all shortlisted nominees. The public vote only determines one winner out of the five winners of each category, the other four winners are decided by our judges. Votes can be cast via the Rising Star website from 20 April. Please note there is no public vote for the Champion, Global Award for Achievement, Men for Gender Balance or the Company categories.