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Winning the Rising Star Award 2020!

What a week! I completed week 2 of my new job in the UK Government; I participated in UK-EU negotiations; I continued learning and developing a huge amount through the step-up since my recent promotion; and I clocked up a whopping 64 working hours. My new job is working as a team leader on Intellectual Property and Geographical Indications on Food, which is very niche and all about protecting the origins of specific foods, like Scotch Whisky only coming from Scotland, and Champagne only originating in the French region of Champagne). Alongside all this activity in my new job, on Monday I was stunned to discover that I’ve been awarded the Rising Star Award 2020 by WeAreTheCity!

The Rising Star Award is conferred in recognition of women who serve as strong female role models in their respective fields, and recipients are chosen through a judging panel and public vote, from over 1,000 inspiring nominees. It means so much to me to see my efforts recognised with this award. Empowering women to succeed in life and careers is one of my big passions, whether that be:

  • Forging ahead in the traditionally male Tech industry at the start of my career in O2 & Telefonica
  • Supporting women in rural Nepal to gain economic independence within a deeply patriarchal society, while volunteering with ICS & Raleigh International (you can read more about that experience here)
  • Mentoring female students at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, and female interns through through the UK Civil Service’s summer diversity programme (read more on my views about mentoring here)
  • Fundraising for the children’s charity Plan UK & raising awareness of their campaigns to advance girls’ rights & education in developing countries (find out about my work with Plan UK here)
  • Supporting the careers of University of Exeter alumnae by organising leadership talks & networking receptions (such as this one)
  • Working to improve gender representation in senior grades in my workplace at Defra (the UK’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
  • Encouraging women to explore the world through this travel blog and my podcast

I owe a huge thank you to all my female role models and mentors over the years who constantly energise and inspire me; to everyone who’s believed in & supported me; to everyone who voted for me to receive this Rising Star award; and to WeAreTheCity for selecting me. I feel honoured, uplifted and motivated to keep striving towards my goals, to keep supporting other women and bringing them with me along the journey, no matter where in the world they find themselves

You can find out more about the award and why I was selected here.


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  1. Dear Virginia,
    Congratulations on your new job as well as on winning the Rising Star Award 2020. We hope to see and learn more of you in the near future. All the best, Ine


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