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EWiF award winners announced

Written by Andy Swales on Thursday, 18 March 2021. Posted in Franchise

Double glory for Claire O’Connor and Kate Matthews, as franchise organisation celebrates successful women during a difficult year for most UK businesses.

EWiF award winners announced

Double glory for Claire O’Connor and Kate Matthews, as franchise organisation celebrates successful women during a difficult year for most UK businesses.

Boddy Matthews, Caremark and babyballet were the most successful franchises at this year’s EWiF Awards which took place virtually earlier this month. All three businesses collected two awards apiece when the 11 category winners were announced on Thursday, March 11th. Kate Matthews of Boddy Matthews collected two awards for ‘Service Provider of the Year’ and ‘Ambassador of the Year,’ while Claire O’Connor of babyballet was another double winner in the categories for ‘Inspirational Woman in Franchising’ and ‘Overall Woman in Franchising.’

Caremark, meanwhile, came out on top in the classes ‘Young Woman in Franchising’ and ‘Women Franchise Employee of the Year.’ This was the 11 th annual awards ceremony, sponsored once again by NatWest and organised by EWiF (Encouraging Women into Franchising).

EWiF’s managing director, Helen Mansfield, said: “Once again, we received a record number of award entries. The entries from 2020 are uplifting and inspiring. They detail more struggle and hardship than most years but with that comes great tales of courage, problem-solving and spirit. The professionalism and achievements of all the finalists and winners is inspiring. They’re great examples of the kind of women we’ve been privileged to work with. They are women breaking into the industry and taking their futures in their own hands.”

The full list of award winners is as follows:

New Woman Franchisor of the Year ( sponsored by Daisy First Aid)

Deborah Salsbury (The Reading Doctor Ltd)

At the start of the pandemic, The Reading Doctor franchise had only just begun with four franchisees. The franchise helps struggling readers to overcome their barriers. As the lockdown closed schools, Deborah Salsbury (franchisor) continued to reach out to disadvantaged young people who were being seriously impacted as a result of the pandemic. The lengths she went to help young people in their greatest time of need, are an achievement in itself.

Woman Franchisor of the Year (Hitachi Capital Franchise Finance)

Lucy Campbell (Right at Home UK)

This is the second time that Lucy, who is Right at Home's Chief Operating Officer, has taken home this title. She showed inspiration during a challenging year for everyone, especially those in the care sector. Lucy navigated her network of over 60 franchisees in a practical and pragmatic manner. And it meant Right at Home had achieved its most successful year ever.

New Woman Franchisee of the Year ( NatWest)

Gemma Green (it'seeze)

Having only opened her web design franchise in February 2020, Gemma has achieved staggering success, needing just four months to make enough of a profit to cover the cost of the original franchise fee. During lockdown, she used the time wisely, and increased her social media engagement, while rising to the top of the sales leaderboard. She also had more 5-Star Trustpilot reviews than any other franchisee during 2020.

Woman Franchisee of the Year (Darwin Gray)

Victoria Rowley (Puddle Ducks)

Victoria is Puddle Ducks’ youngest business partner, and she leads the way with her hard work, outside the box thinking and support for fellow franchisees. In August 2020, she expanded her business, when she bought a neighbouring franchise, and then merged the two areas together. She managed to retain customer numbers, which kept her employees in work, despite operating from less than half of her usual locations (swimming pools).

Woman Franchise Employee of the Year ( Boddy Matthews)

Elaine Hamilton (Caremark)

Elaine is Field Care Supervisor at Caremark Sutton. The key to her success is her authentic and passionate leadership style. Throughout 2020, Elaine has selflessly helped care workers deliver excellent care in the community. She also regularly visited the region’s most isolated and vulnerable clients during lockdown. Elaine is a great credit to the Caremark team.

Young Woman in Franchising of the Year (Under 30) (McDonald’s Restaurants)

Hannah Drury (Caremark)

Hannah is no stranger to the EWiF Awards, having walked away with this title for the past three years – and has now made it a hat-trick of successes. Her dedication to her network, staff and community continue to impress the judges. She supports her staff following a smooth transition into remote working, while collaborating with the Police on their initiative ‘The Herbert Protocol.’ This is aimed at protecting the most vulnerable.

Service Provider of the Year (FranScape) & Ambassador of the Year (What Franchise)

Kate Matthews (Boddy Matthews)

As an integral part of the EWiF community, Kate’s senior role in the legal profession lends itself to encouraging and assisting women across franchising. During 2020, she supported businesses most affected by Covid-19, by dealing with all the legal complications arising from the pandemic and lockdown. As an ambassador she has been EWiF’s South Regional chairperson for a number of years. She has helped to drive the growth and development of EWiF, arranging countless regional meetings and engaging with ambassadors all over the country.

Inspirational Woman in Franchising ( Platinum Wave) & Overall Woman in Franchising (BFA)

Claire O'Connor (babyballet)

Claire is definitely inspirational. During the pandemic she boosted her business online, by creating additional content and resources, while adapting her systems, marketing, reporting and infrastructure to reflect a new way of working. She added five new franchisees and sold a master licence in New Zealand.

Most Innovative Leadership During The Pandemic (Coconut Creatives)

Anna Neville (Kidslingo)

This award was voted for by the franchise community. Anna stands supreme, leading her network during the changing landscape of teaching online. She worked tirelessly to transfer all classes online while supporting her franchisees, many of whom attracted new students into their language classes.

 About EWiF:

Run entirely by volunteers, EWiF provides advice and guidance to women who are looking for a route into the franchising industry. Their mission is to educate, inspire and empower women considering, or already involved in, franchising through EWiF’s network of supportive ambassadors. It is a non-profit organisation founded in 2010.

To find out more about becoming part of EWiF visit or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About the Author

Andy Swales

A dedicated journalist for three decades, Andy has spent much of this time working for ITN, Sky Sports and Today’s Golfer magazine, after starting out years back at the Hackney Gazette. Since leaving Sky Sports in 2018, has spread his wings into other areas and loves writing about property and the nations rising stars in the SME business world and franchise community.

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