Everton CEO Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, MBE, has been named Business Woman of the Year and netted an awards hat-trick at the National Business Women’s Awards 2020.
Professor Barrett-Baxendale had already been named 'Business Woman of the Year’ in the large organisation category and ‘Influential Business Woman of the Year’, when she was revealed as the judges’ choice for the evening’s top honour.
And there was a fourth accolade for Professor Barrett-Baxendale when she received a silver award for Corporate Leader of the Year.
The Overall Business Woman of the Year award recognised Everton’s CEO for her exceptional leadership of Everton Football Club and steering the response of both the football club and its charity, Everton in the Community, to the global coronavirus outbreak.
That leadership includes overseeing the project to deliver a state-of-the-art 52,888-capacity waterfront home for the Club. The stadium project will enter the first phase of construction next week, creating 15,000 jobs and triggering an estimated £1bn boost to the city of Liverpool’s economy.
In addition to driving the stadium project forward in the face of the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, the Everton CEO's determination to support those most vulnerable in society over the last 18 months through the launch of an outreach and engagement campaign - Blue Family - has also contributed to her receiving these awards. The Blue Family initiative has supported more than 30,000 vulnerable and isolated people across Merseyside and beyond.
Other recent achievements for Professor Barrett-Baxendale include leading Everton into new business headquarters inside Liverpool's iconic Royal Liver Building, restructuring the leadership of the Everton Women's team, and being appointed to an Advisory Panel, chaired by Tracey Crouch MP, to provide expert advice to the Government’s Fan-Led Review of Football Governance in the wake of the attempt by 12 clubs across Europe to create a Super League outside the traditional football pyramid.
Since her appointment as CEO, Everton has been named a Best Companies ‘Top 100’ employer for four years in a row and, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, achieved its best-ever results in the 25-year history of the Premier League Fan Survey in 2021, benchmarking higher than the league average in every category and receiving recognition for its leadership, fan engagement and contribution to the local community.
More than 400 entrepreneurs and business leaders gathered at the delayed event at Hilton London Wembley on Thursday to see Professor Barrett-Baxendale accept her awards treble via video link.
On receiving her third and final award of the evening, she said: “It is an incredible honour and I'm delighted to have received these prestigious awards.
“It has certainly been an incredibly difficult 18 months, which have shone an unprecedented spotlight on the values and priorities of organisations. I am proud of the way in which our Club has supported our staff, our supporters, and our communities – and that focus has been rewarded in spades.
“I view these awards as an acknowledgement of the expertise and hard work of everyone at Everton Football Club and, for that reason, this recognition fills me with enormous pride.”
Damian Cummins, Awards Director, said: “That Denise has successfully driven forward such a monumental project as Everton's new stadium against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, all while supporting some of the most vulnerable and isolated people across Merseyside, is testament to her leadership but also her influence and role as a force for good.
"This year, our awards were about acknowledging those who have demonstrated great leadership over the past 18 months but also celebrating the success stories that arose from such challenging times and, for that reason, Denise was an obvious choice as our Business Woman of the Year, and truly deserving of this awards hat-trick.”