Merseyside Women of the Year Awards 2023 Finalists Revealed

Posted on 15 May 2023
By Khyle Deen
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The finalists for this year’s the Merseyside Women of the Year Awards 2023 have been revealed and the public has been invited to vote for their overall ‘Woman of the Year’.

All the women have been recognised for their work supporting and improving the lives of people in Merseyside and beyond, through their businesses, voluntary work, activism, charitable organisations, and creative endeavours.

The finalists are (full biographies in editor’s notes):

· Allison Furlong – Alfie’s Squad (Liverpool)

· Amy Smythe – The Worry Wizard (Chester)

· Ann Coffey – The Sunshine Group (Liverpool)

· Dr Chelcie Jewitt – Surviving in Scrubs (Sefton)

· Claire Cathcart – Team 1C (St Helens)

· Elissa Corrigan – Elle Sera (Liverpool)

· Emma Jarvis – Parent Promise (Liverpool)

· Hayli Kincade – Wavertree Community Gospel Choir (Liverpool)

· Heather Evans & June Russell – The Halle O’Brien CIC (Liverpool)

· Jayne O’Gorman – Fundraiser (Wirral)

· Juliana Pinheiro Landim, Leigh-Angel Bevan & Tamasin Dunand – Katumba (Liverpool)

· Lucky Ali – Community Activist (Wirral)

· Michelle Smith – MPower People (Liverpool)

· Patricia Shea Halson – Community Activist (Wirral)

· Sarah Jackson – Hatters Digital Agency (Sefton)

· Dr Sue Palmer-Conn – The Divorce Doctor (Liverpool)

With judges’ votes already counted, the finalists will now be put to a public vote to determine who will be the overall Merseyside Woman of the Year 2023 will be, with voting open online now here:

The MWOTY awards, a sparkling celebration of exceptional women from across the region, will take place at the Crowne Plaza in Liverpool City Centre on Friday 30th June, with the event’s sharp-witted and long-standing commère, Pauline Daniels hosting.

There will be stalls and an exhibition produced by women supported by Savera UK, whose founder and CEO, Afrah Qassim, took the title of ‘Woman of Courage’ in 2022.

Afternoon entertainment will be provided by renowned singer-songwriter, Claire Mooney, who will perform a topical song that is specially commissioned for the event and there will be a silent auction to raise money for the Merseyside Women’s Fund.

The ceremony will be followed by the annual after-show Hoolie, with vocal powerhouse Jo Ryan of Liverpool band SOUL JAM, performing the very best in classic soul, R&B, and Motown music to get the MWOTY audience dancing.

Founding Director, Ellie Kerr, said: “Every year the nominations we receive absolutely bowl me over. There is so much heart, passion, and grit in the women who are working to make a difference in Merseyside and our judges certainly had a tough job!

“Our nineteen finalists are business leaders, activists, campaigners, volunteers, artists and changemakers – all using their time, skills, and energy to help others without asking anything for themselves.

“MWOTY has always been a platform for women who deserve to be in the spotlight so they can be seen, heard, and found. This year’s finalists are no exception and we’re looking forward to raising them up in June and celebrating their incredible achievements.”

Moira O’Shaughnessy, Managing Partner, FPC, said: “Emotions run high when reading nominations for MWOTY as each and every entry is deserving of recognition. It is humbling, inspiring, and then also very exciting – all at the same time!

“MWOTY is all about women supporting women and the nominees are the evidence of that. We are proud to share the stage with these women this year as headline sponsor and look forward to celebrating their achievements at what is set to be the best MWOTY yet!

“Congratulations, not just to the finalists, but to anyone who was entered for consideration – we thank you all for everything you have done and continue to do.”

Renowned for putting a spotlight on those women who do not seek the limelight or push themselves to the front, but instead work to make a difference to the people, sectors, and communities they serve, the awards have grown in popularity and impact since their re-establishment in 2010.

The overall Merseyside Woman of the Year 2023 will be selected from all finalists, following a public vote (contributing 50% of the overall score) and being marked by the organisation’s judging panel against its criteria, contributing the remaining 50% of the final score. The public vote is open until midnight on Friday 2nd June.

The coveted top prize will be presented by headline sponsor, Financial Planning Corporation, and category sponsors for 2023 include Community Foundation for Merseyside, Taylor Wessing, Hill Dickinson, Auteur Media, Neo Community and ADDvanced Solutions and the Institute of Directors (IoD).

To cast your vote for Merseyside Woman of the Year, visit:

To book tickets or find out more, visit: ​


Allison Furlong

Alfie’s Squad

​​Allison launched Alfie’s Squad, a non-profit organisation supporting children who have been bereaved or affected by suicide in Merseyside, with her son Alfie. Alfie lost his dad in May 2017 at the age of eight. Together, they have devised a unique program which will help children feel less isolated and make new friends, while dealing with the after-effects of suicide.

Amy Smythe

The Worry Wizard

Amy Smythe, aka The Worry Wizard, helps children in Merseyside and beyond to move from worries to wellbeing. Amy is a BACP accredited counsellor and psychotherapist with over 17 years clinical practice. She is the founder and chief storyteller of “The Worry Wizard” Wellbeing Programme, using proven therapeutic techniques to help support a child’s wellbeing, develop tools to help them manage their worries and build a positive sense of self. Amy helps young people get curious about wellbeing and find ways to make it shine!

Ann Coffey

The Sunshine Group

Ann Coffey runs The Sunshine Group breast cancer support group at Liverpool University Hospital Trust. Over the past ten years, while in remission herself, Ann has grown the group from six members to a group of over 350 women. The charity does not get funding and relies solely on donations, so Ann dedicates her life to raising all funds by organising a multitude of events. The group’s members meet regularly to offer support and solidarity through their breast cancer journey. The group is run by patients for patients to ensure that those affected by breast cancer can access support, events, holistic therapies, an ear to listen, and a good cup of tea.

Dr Chelcie Jewitt

Surviving in Scrubs

​​Dr Chelcie Jewitt is a specialist trainee in Emergency Medicine working within the busy A&E departments of Merseyside. She campaigns tirelessly to raise awareness of sexism and misogyny within healthcare. Having been a victim of such behaviours herself she has utilised her voice, creating the ground-breaking Sexism in Medicine survey, which was published by the BMA in August 2021, highlighting the issues within medicine. She has also formed the ‘Surviving in Scrubs’ campaign which publishes the anonymous testimonies of any healthcare worker who has survived these damaging behaviours and attitudes, raising awareness, advocating for victims, and lobbying for policy change.

Claire Cathcart

Team 1C

Claire is the founder and chairperson of Team 1C, A charity dedicated to children born with congenital heart defects. Her oldest child, Jake, was born in 2015 with a very rare heart condition and has spent much of his life in hospital with Claire at his side. Claire decided to turn her situation into a positive by helping others. She created Team 1C (named after ward 1C) with her friends from the hospital and created a community. Initially fundraising more than £100,000 for a range of charities, she has since registered Team 1C as a charity in its own right, expanding to offer support to families both here in the North West and in the developing world.

Elissa Corrigan

Elle Sera

Elissa is the owner of award-winning female health supplement company Elle Sera. She is passionate and vocal about tackling women’s health issues including menopause, PMS, anxiety, depression, weight gain, feeling invisible and sexual health. She created a unique golden supplement which targets and helps women level their hormones. Elissa’s aim is to break the taboos surrounding women’s health and wellness by educating, inspiring and where possible, doing it with a little panache! Not one to hold back on her opinion, she gives straight-up, dynamite advice every woman should know about to hack their health.

Emma Jarvis

Parent Promise

Emma is the founder of Parent Promise, a collective which grew from her first business dearbump. Parent Promise works with businesses to support employees throughout pregnancy and parenthood. She provides policy review, family friendly benefits and employee assistance, providing 1-2-1 midwifery access via instant messaging. Emma created the solution to help businesses support women’s health and improve gender equality in the workplace. Her work has enabled thousands of women to access expert reproductive health support, and she has reached women in more than 28 countries, helping them to gain safe access to experienced midwives.

Hayli Kincade

Wavertree Community Gospel Choir

Hayli Kincade, BA Hons, MA in Creative Practice, is a Liverpool based award-winning singer who has been performing nationally and internationally since the age of 12. She started off touring Europe as the youngest member of an international choir ‘One World Rhythm’. Well known for her smooth, soulful vocals and unique interpretation of song, she has supported many arts organsiations such as MDI creatives, LIPA, BlackFest, and community organisations through running Wavertree Community Gospel Choir.

Heather Evans & June Russell

The Halle O’Brien CIC

Through the most heart-breaking of circumstances. Heather Evans set up the Halle O’Brien CIC in 2020, in memory of her beautiful daughter Halle, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 19, after contracting a rare form of meningitis. Halle’s Hub is a space for the Ford Lane community, focusing on supporting young, disadvantaged people. Heather and June, supported by their family, set up the CIC to keep alive Halle’s dream of helping children to learn and develop both socially and academically. Their mission statement is: ‘inspiring kids to grow’ and Halle’s legacy lives on in the knowledge of young lives made easier, communities brought together, and happy memories made.

Jayne O’Gorman


Jayne is a whirlwind wonder woman! A Wirral-based businesswoman working in the travel industry, Jayne dedicates her time to help others – cycling from Venice to Milan despite being unwell herself, organising events and volunteering at rare disease clinics and conferences. She has raised more than £100k for a variety of local charities, with some of that paying for a scientific/family medical conference for children with an average life expectancy of 12 years. She is a dynamic person who makes everyone she meets feel loved.

Juliana Pinheiro Landim, Leigh-Angel Bevan & Tamasin Dunand


Led by co-founder and artistic director, native Brazilian, Juliana Pinheiro Landim, head of education and marketing, Leigh-Angel Bevan, and operations and finance manager Tamasin Dunand, Katumba is a community group, cultural hub and Brazilian drumming band that is passionate about making a positive impact on health, wellbeing, and culture in the local community. Katumba provides vibrant public performances, inspiring workshops and its weekly drumming and movement classes are open to all; Katumba brings people together in a safe, inclusive, supportive, and uplifting environment.

Lucky Ali

Community Activist

A young woman with an extensive list of achievements, Lucky is caring, kind, genuine, hardworking and provides hope for future generations. She saved her student loan to open a local business that will have a positive impact on the local community, setting up a family-run business in Birkenhead providing a large variety of British and International food and grocery items and bridging a gap in the local market. While studying, Lucky has worked as a medical laboratory scientist supporting the NHS in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and participated in an Enterprise in the Life Sciences Challenge, to propose solutions to the challenge of recruiting diverse talent, successfully delivering a pitch with solutions that have already been implemented by Ashfield Health. Lucky also took on a Digital Health Innovation Internship, working with a HealthTech start-up company with a mission to connect healthcare excellence with digital innovation to enhance Medicine and Healthcare. Lucky has also volunteered at Human Appeal on fundraising and events, including for Feed the Fasting 2020 Ramadan campaign and The Water Charity.

Michelle Smith

MPower People

Michelle Smith is a social care provider who runs MPower People CIC. She founded the company in April 2009 as a direct-action response to the needs which she felt and heard from the people in her community. Noting the difficulties that some people had in completing day-to-day tasks which the majority may take for granted, it has been Michelle’s mission to raise the self-confidence of anyone who walks through MPower People’s doors, and to help them thrive. Since the organisation’s inception, Michelle has supported +90 people into volunteering opportunities, increased +1000 people’s skills, supported +860 people into employment, supported 86 people to start their own business and saved at least 24 peoples’ lives.

Patricia Shea Halson

Community Activist

For more than 35 years Pat made a marked contribution to community and civic life in Merseyside through her work as a voluntary trustee of several charities that support vulnerable adults and children. Pat has devoted her time willingly providing voluntary counselling services and support. many lives in Merseyside have been transformed and improved due to Pat’s voluntary work

Sarah Jackson

Hatters Digital Agency

Sarah Jackson is the founder of Hatter’s Digital Agency. Working to create new jobs and support the ambitions of creative young people, she is building a nurturing, supportive place to work and grow. An advocate for those with ASD and ADHD, Sarah leads the way in talking openly about mental health and neurodiversity to encourage conversations that may just save lives. Sarah is passionate about mentoring young people and dedicates her time and resources into supporting local charities.

Dr Sue Palmer-Conn

The Divorce Doctor

Dr Sue Palmer-Conn has been recognised as the UK’s foremost leader in the field of divorce support. After an unsupported divorce at the age of 50 after a 25-year marriage, she was determined that others facing divorce would have access to the emotional support needed to allow them to divorce with dignity and to keep their children central to all decisions, not put in the middle and used as weapons. Unable to do this alone, Sue founded the Divorce Coaching Academy and The Family Transition Company.