The Guide Liverpool’s Top 25 Most Influential Women in Liverpool 2018

The future is bright, the future is female and we can all learn from these incredible women, who are flying the flag for Liverpool.

International Women’s day 2018 falls on Thursday 8th March and we’re adding our support to highlighting the wealth of talent, inspiration and dedication shown by the women of Liverpool. International Women’s Day is an annual celebration that highlights not only the social, cultural, political and economic achievements of women around the globe, but also calls for action on issues such as gender equality and campaigns like #MeToo #PressForProgress and #TimesUp .

Our city has seen so many incredible female pioneers break down barriers, claim world firsts and commit such acts of heroism and kindness that their legacies span the centuries and continue to inspire us all. Girl bosses from back in day include social justice campaigner Josephine Butler and women’s education champion Anne Jemima Clough, to name just two out of hundreds of strong, determined women who shaped the Liverpool we know and love today. 

Modern day Liverpool continues to be influenced and driven by passionate women. From tireless campaigners and local MP’s, culinary experts, sportswomen, creative pioneers and industry leaders – these ladies mean business.

Here’s our top 25 most influential women in Liverpool 2018….

1 – Frances Molloy

Liverpool mum, Frances Molloy is campaigning for road safety measures that will save lives. Frances tragically lost her 18 year old son Michael, a gifted musician, in a coach crash, when he was on his way back from Bestival. The fatal crash was caused by a tyre that was nearly 20 years old. Frances launched the Tyred Campaign in 2017 which aims to change legislation on the age limit of tyres that are transporting hundreds and thousands of people everyday. Click here to find out more and add your support to this vital campaign.

2 – Leanne Campbell

Leanne Campbell

Former child Panto star, Leanne Campbell became the first female breakfast host at Radio City back in 2014 having come through the ranks as a traffic and travel girl on Juice FM. Leanne is known the city over for her instantly recognisable Scouse tones and her friendly smile and genuine warmth. Not content with being queen of the airwaves, panto star, charity host and mum of two, Leanne launched Ladies of Liverpool in late 2017, a website dedicated to shouting about the best women in the city. Click here to check out Ladies of Liverpool and get involved in the convo. 

3 – Samantha Quek MBE

Samantha Quek/ Loco Talent

Inspiring our young athletes and proving her passion for sport internationally is Olympic Hockey player, Samantha Quek MBE. Not only a highly skilled field hockey defender, but also an Olympic and European gold medallist at the age of just 28, it’s safe to say that sport runs in Sam’s veins. In recent months she has added TV Presenter, sport commentator, newspaper columnist and charity campaigner to her already impressive list of skills. She returns to representing sportswomen at the Grand Women’s Summit ahead of the 2018 Grand National at Aintree and also lends her support to The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity. Samantha is a superb role model for our city’s youngsters. Click here to find out more about The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity

4 – Denise Fergus

Another Liverpool mum channelling unimaginable pain and heartbreak into helping others in need is Denise Fergus. Having just marked the 25th anniversary since her son James Bulger was murdered, Denise has recently released a book documenting her story, in the hope of supporting others dealing with grief and loss. The James Bulger Memorial Trust charity work goes from strength to strength and through tireless fundraising Denise and the team are able to provide holidays and short breaks for families dealing with losing a loved one. You can find out more and get your tickets for The James Bulger Memorial Trust Black Tie Ball here. 

5 – Claire McColgan

Director of Culture Liverpool, Claire heads up the team that has staged the ground-breaking, immersive and memorable events that have wowed the city for over 10 years. She’s played a pivotal part in making giants walk the city streets, she’s helped attract national and international artists to LIMF, an ancient army has travelled 5,000 miles on her instruction and she’s even summoned three queens to the shores of the Mersey. Claire is a true champion of public engagement in arts and culture and her passion and enthusiasm for enriching our lives through culture knows no boundaries. With a huge programme of events lined up, Claire continues to bring communities together to make lasting memories. Click here to check out the full Liverpool 2018 line up and get booking your next day out.

6 – Jennifer Ellison

If anyone has proven they can turn their hand to most things, it’s former ballet dancer, model, actress, presenter, recording artist, chef and theatre star, Jennifer Ellison. Having starred in Brookside as Emily Shadwick at the tender age of 15, we’re pretty sure she hasn’t paused for breath since. Enjoying success on both sides of the Atlantic, Jennifer has stacked up some seriously impressive career highlights including releasing two highly successful singles, reaching the semi-finalis in Dancing on Ice, winning the first ever series of Hells Kitchen after impressing chef Gordon Ramsey and, of course, she also brought us Dance Mums. Jennifer has most recently been nurturing up and coming talent at her Liverpool based dance school, Jelli Studios. Providing intense Dance and Musical Theatre training for city youngsters reaching for the stars in the Performing Arts Industry, Jennifer continues to give something back to her home town. More on Jelli Studios here. 

7 – Emma Rodgers

Merseyside’s Emma Rodgers is an Internationally renowned Artist who has created numerous works of art that grace not only our city museums and galleries, but also our streets and public spaces. If you’ve posed with Our Cilla on Mathew Street, or pointed out the HUGE Mecanno Liver Bird at Liverpool Shopping Park, Edge Lane, then you’re already familiar with her work. Awarded the Arts & Culture Award at the Merseyside Women in Business Awards 2017, Wirral educated Emma has exhibited her work around the globe and has even worked with Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers to create unique and highly sought after sculptures. To read more about Emma’s work, click here. 

8 – Margaret Aspinall

Photo by Paul Francis Cooper

Hillsborough campaigner and Liverpool mum, Margaret Aspinall, fought for decades to get justice for her son James’s death. She not only led the Hillsborough campaign with dignity, determination and bravery, but also supported other families and became the chairwoman of the official support group – finally winning her battle in April 2016, when verdicts were overturned. Quoted on ITV.com as part of a Granada Reports interview, Margaret said: “There’s no such thing as victory for those who lost their loved ones at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989. But hopefully we have done something in remembrance of our 96 that will be good for the future of this country.”

We, like the entire population of our city take our hats off to one incredible mother, scouser and woman. Justice for the 96. x

9 – Chelsea Slater and Jo Morfee (Liverpool Girl Geeks)

Opening up the world of science, tech and industry to a new generation of talent, passion and dedication is Liverpool Girl Geeks. Co-founded by Chelsea Slater and Jo Morfee, this Liverpool based initiative, launched in 2013, empowers women and girls to learn, progress and shape the future of tech and digital industry. It’s estimated that only 1% of the tech sector will be female in 2040 and these girls are having none of it! Running regular workshops on coding, web building, graphic design, UX design and more, Liverpool Girl Geeks is a friendly gathering of women and girls who share a passion for tech. Determined to make an impact on the next generation, Chelsea and Rebecca have recently launched InnovateHer, a national movement that aims to tackle the skills gap, which is now rolling out in schools. To find out more about becoming a Liverpool Girl Geek, click here.

10 – The Wirral Witches – Mandy Molby, Clare Gallagher, Trudi Brooks

Proving that amazing things happen when women come together, Mandy Molby, Clare Gallagher and Trudi Brooks have raised thousands for local causes over the years, and show no signs of stopping. Otherwise known as ‘The Wirral Witches’ these three Liverpool ladies put on some of the biggest charity dinners and balls in the region, and have supported charities like Incu-Babies, Claire House, Cash for Kids and many more. Last Christmas alone they raised over £100k in one night for Variety Children’s Charity & Claire House! It also helps that all three have personalities and smiles as big as the amount of monies they’ve raised. Keep going girls.

11 – Carolyn Hughes

Carolyn Hughes single-handedly manages some of the biggest hospitality businesses in the city. Her every-growing client list includes Gusto, Hilton Hotel, The Alchemist, Olive, Red Door, The Club House and more. Carolyn works tirelessly to support local children’s charity, Cash for Kids and stages some of the most glam fundraisers we’ve ever seen, such as The Hilton Star Ball and Celeb Q&A’s with the likes of Rebecca Ferguson and Alasdair Campbell. And lets not forget her fantastic fundraising movie premiers like the up coming Mamma Mia II event. Having started her career as a PA to the former owner of Radio City, Carolyn was voted Merseyside Business Woman of the Year 2017 at the DLIB Awards, proving she is now firmly at the top of Liverpool hospitality. Find out more about Carolyn Hughes PR here. 

12 – Eleanor Nelly

Eleanor Nelly is the hard-working, naturally talented poster girl record labels dream of. Having started out gigging around the city from the tender age of 13, she has risen to fame thanks to the unwavering support of LIMF Academy. From scooping her first ‘One to Watch’ accolade at LIMF 2015, Eleanor has been supported throughout her journey by the academy, honing her song writing skills and has developing an enviable style which saw her recognised as ‘Most Ready Artist’ at LIMF 2016 and secure a phenomenal record deal with Decca Records in 2017. On her return from writing in Nashville, Eleanor was awarded the first ever Jan MacNichol LIMF Academy Spirit Award, celebrating her enviable work ethic, talent and dedication to music. Click here to watch Eleanor’s rise to fame so far. 

13 – Gee Walker

Another Liverpool mum who has somehow used her strength, dignity and Christian faith to help others following unimaginable loss, is Community campaigner, Gee Walker. Gee’s son Anthony was brutally murdered in 2005 and in the years that followed, The Anthony Walker Foundation, which promotes diversity, integrity and racial harmony through sport, music and education, was founded in his memory. Awarded Voluntary Sector Achiever of the Year at the Dods Women in Public Life Awards, Gee heads up the team which offers support services and educational talks and presentations on equality and more. Click here to find out more about the Anthony Walker Foundation.

14 – Rebecca Ferguson

Scouse mum, X Factor runner up, singer/songwriter, MOBO Nominee, MTV Europe style icon and fastest selling debut artist of the decade (2007-2017) Rebecca Ferguson rose to fame after signing a record deal with Syco in 2010. With an entire city behind her, Rebecca built on her TV success and released her debut album ‘Heaven’ in 2011 and we all went ‘Nothing’s Real But Love’ mad! She’s just smashed her homecoming gig at The Philharmonic Hall and last years album ‘Superwoman’ proved she is top of her game. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Liverpool’s soulful songbird. Find out more about Rebecca’s Tour plans here. 

15 – Gillian Kearney, Actress

She is surely up there as one of 2017’s biggest soap stars having been at the forefront of Emmerdale’s long running and biggest story line last year. Gillian Kearney played Emma Barton in the soap and we think you’ll agree she was very convincing as a TV villain, although we know the lady herself is one of the most approachable and friendly stars to come out of our city. Away from the Wolfpack, Gillian got her first break on Brookside playing Debbie McGrath from 1986, she also starred as the young Shirley Valentine in the cult classic movie and has been in pretty much every other show on the box, including Casualty, Holby City, Shameless and Clocking Off. We can’t wait to see what’s next for this South Liverpool stunner.  Watch our recent chat with Gillian here and get the inside scoop form behind the scenes at Emmerdale.

16 – Nisha Katona, Restauranteur

Proving that passion, hard work and determination can take you on the most unexpected journeys in life is former Barrister turned Restauranteur, Entrepreneur, Author, TV personality and Celeb Chef, Nisha Katona. Responsible for bringing the taste sensation that is Mowgli to Liverpool, Nisha has built on her passion for cooking and feeding people with good, wholesome, nourishing yet tasty food, and built something of an empire from it with two new restaurants opening in Oxford and Leeds later this year. Both Water Street and Bold St. Mowgli restaurants are always packed with people keen to try or indeed return to taste the rainbow as traditional recipes and beautiful presentation combine on your plate (or Tiffin box). We can’t get enough. Click here to check out the Mowgli menu. 

17 – Kate Lally, Liverpool Echo

Making waves in the pages of the Liverpool Echo is our favourite local reporter Kate Lally, who can give you the run down on what’s happening across the city region. Kate knows where to grab a decent brekkie, how to be a tourist in your own city and where to party your socks off. Having covered some of the biggest stories to affect the Merseyside region in the last few years, Kate has recently been promoted to the new role of Local Democracy Reporter and will focus on local government issues in Sefton for Trinity Mirror and the BBC. A proper Scouser, Kate has her finger on the pulse of what makes Liverpool tick and continues to inspire journo students from across the North West. Read Kate’s most recent articles here. 

18 – Donna Howitt, Liverpool ONE

She’s the warm face of one of the city’s most stylish brands and has been since its launch ten years ago. Donna Howitt is Marketing Manager of Liverpool ONE, whilst also representing the city’s retail and leisure sectors on the Visitor Economy Network. Her passion and enthusiasm for not only Liverpool ONE and it’s tenants, but also for the city as a whole, shines through. Add to that the fact that we think she’s a bit of style icon and you’ve got your perfect Mersey gal’. Find out more about what’s on at Liverpool ONE here.

19 – Michelle Langan

Michelle Langan is a campaigner for Liverpool’s homeless community. But not only does she rally volunteers and local businesses to provide hot meals and essentials for those in need, she also lends an ear and words of advice. Or, sometimes, even just a handshake or a hug. Founder of the Paper Cup Project, Michelle, who is also a writer, columnist, social commentator and lover of wicked boots and trainers, works hard to give the homeless community a voice. And she is determined to make it one that is heard by people who are instrumental in making policy decisions that effect us all. To lend your support to The Paper Cup Project, click here. 

20 – Serena Cavanagh

Heading up free HIV testing in Liverpool is Serena Cavanagh. To highlight the vital work carried out by Sahir House, our Jay met with Serena and the team on World Aids Day in December 2017 and was genuinely bowled over by the tireless campaigning Serena and the team do. Sahir House is a HIV Support Agency that has been supporting people living with of affected by HIV for more than 30 years. Serena heads up the team offering vital support that reaches out to communities in the form of educational talks, awareness training, stigma reduction and celebration of life events that bring everyone together. To find out more about HIV testing at Sahir House, click here.

21 – Lorraine McCulloch

Our 21st spot goes to Liverpool’s most glamorous woman, Lorraine McCulloch. One of the best known and respected fashion stylists in the UK and for more than 20 years, she’s used her keen eye and natural flair to perfectly style some of the most famous faces on Merseyside, including Alex Gerrard, Colleen Rooney, Sheree Murphy, Kym Marsh and so many more. Lorraine’s skills span further than just the red carpet, she’s also styled music videos for Professor Green and she’s worked with Cristiano Ronaldo too. Lorraine’s next challenge is to judge the annual ‘Best Dressed’ competition at the Randox Health Grand National 2018 Ladies Day, where we’ve no doubt she’ll enjoy a glass of fizz and a great day out with all the Scouse girls. Find out more about Lorraine’s Stylist services here. 

22 – Cathy Frost

Pic. Lancashire Life

One of the city’s most respected and successful business women, Cathy Frost is Chief Exec of the stunning Panoramic Restaurant which stands 300 feet above our city centre. Last year it was voted restaurant of the year at the British Restaurant Awards and with Birkenhead lass Cathy at the helm we are sure 2018 will be just as big. A supporter of numerous local charities, Cathy is all about team work and is as happy leading the Panoramic 34 guys and girls through a wet and windy team building exercise in North Wales, as she is offering world class customer service at one of the city’s most prestigious restaurants. Click here for more on Panoramic 34.

23 – Jayne Moore

PR Queen, Trustee of St. George’s Hall, Board Member, Former Editor, Journalist, Mum., Wife, and Dog lover…..the list goes on. Jayne Moore runs one of the most successful PR companies in the city with clients including Albert Dock, Liverpool BID, ADHD Foundation & Marco Pierre White’s Bar & Grill. Famous for shouting about all that is good about our great city, you’ll never see this supporter of women in business without her trademark smile and warm welcome. Click here to find out more about Jayne Moore Media. 

24 – Molly McCann

This next influential woman packs a right punch. Having just become the first ever Cage Warriors Women’s Flyweight Champion, and she earned it in front of her home crowd right here in Liverpool. ‘Meatball’ Molly McCann prides herself on encouraging other women to get into sport and her down to earth, no nonsense nature inspires others to dig deep and hit those goals. A true Blue, hailing from Norris Green, we predict even bigger things to come for this force to be reckoned with. G’wed Molly! Check out Molly’s career to date here. 

25 – Marina Dalglish

Yes she’s married to a very famous football icon but, you know what, Marina Dalglish is a legend in her own right too. Just last month her annual charity ball raised a staggering £750K for her breast cancer charity, The Marina Dalglish Appeal. She works tirelessly to help those effected by the disease and has done ever since she was diagnosed herself back in 2003. It’s true what they say behind every strong man, there is an even stronger woman. Click here to find out about up coming events from The Marina Dalglish Appeal.

To find out more about International Women’s Day, head to www.internationalwomensday.com and follow @womensday on Twitter for regular updates on how people, organisations, businesses and communities are coming together to celebrate women around the world.

Who’s the most inspirational woman in your life? Drop us a line on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to nominate your top chick and we’ll share the best on our socials.  Ladies, we salute you!

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