Achievements of Women Celebrated at the Migrant Woman Conference and Awards 2016


Achievements of Women Celebrated at the Migrant Woman Conference and Awards 2016 

Singer Rita Ora wins big whilst other contenders are recognised for their achievements across the fields of human rights and business.

250 women and men filled the Millennium Gloucester Hotel for the second annual Migrant Woman Conference and Awards on Saturday 28 May. The day-long event focused on migrant women’s stories of overcoming barriers and achieving success in the UK, which brought together representatives from over 20 countries and 6 continents.

The event featured panel discussions on a range of topics, mixed with cultural and uplifting entertainment including Brazilian singing and carnival dancing, as well as Russian and Albanian dancers, culminating with the Migrant Woman of the Year Awards presentations.

Award Winners:

  • Renowned Female Achiever – Rita Ora
  • Inspiring Woman of the Year – Zenobia Nadirshaw
  • Community Champion – Rehab Jameel
  • Entrepreneur – Betty Encinales
  • Best Man of the Year – Adam Strong 


The voting was decided through a combination of public online votes and a judging panel consisting of 13 members. More than 2,100 votes were received.


Rita Ora won the award for Renowned Female Achiever, presented to the Ambassador for Kosovo Lirim Greicevci, who proudly received the trophy on her behalf. The award was for an individual not born in the UK who has achieved fame through her chosen field, is a role model for their origin, and having a creative influence on others as a respected British citizen.

Other award winners were Zenobia Nadirshaw, (India), for Inspiring Woman of the Year, Rehab Jameel, (Sudan) won the award for Community Champion, Betty Encinales, (Columbia) for Entrepreneur, and Adam Strong (UK) for Best Man of the Year. The voting was decided by a combination of public online voting and 13 members of a judging panel. More than 2,100 votes were received.


Zenobia Nadirshaw was commended by the judges for fighting for the rights of vulnerable people for 40 years that is highly important but often invisible to society and being a role model for all women. She has a very impressive track record, not just academically but in terms of its impact on our diverse society and the vulnerable people she works with.

Zenobia Nadirshaw

Rehab Jameel was commended for taking on a cause that has been so unfashionable and hard to face for so many with such courage and clear impact. She is working on a very important women’s and girls’ rights issue, which effect individuals, communities and the integration of women into UK society and is bringing solace and hope to those women who are victims of FGM.

Rehab Jameel and Mercedes Leal giving the Award

Betty Encinales was commended for proving that a will to succeed against all odds is possible. A successful business woman who overcame challenges and is also involved in philanthropy. It is truly extraordinary in what she has achieved despite all the forces working against her and absolute endurance through the kidnapping of her father, a serious accident and motivation to become self-taught in English.

Larah Khalaf receiving the Award in behalf of Betty Encinales and Samira Savrani giving the award

Adam Strong was commended for his contribution to the lives of so many women through AEPAS (Association of Extraordinary PA’s) and has much respect for women, continually motivating, supporting and giving women the much needed recognition they deserve. Women need men who see their potential and help them step up. His initiative to help PAs step out of that low-ranking, often under-valued role and into senior management needs applauding.

Adam Strong and Rafael Dos Santos giving the Award

The main panel session was chaired by Mirela Sula, Founder of Migrant Woman Talks and Editor in Chief of Global Woman magazine; Nazek Ramadan, originally from Beirut, Lebanon, Founder and Executive Director of Migrant Voice; and Zrinka Bralo, Chief Executive of Migrants Organise, journalist and refugee from Sarajevo Bosnia. They discussed What it means to be a migrant and the role of women in migration’

Mirela Sula chairing the panel with Nazek Ramadan and Zrinka Bralo

Mirela Sula said of the event:We’re so proud of the achievements of each and everyone involved with this year’s Migrant Woman Conference and Awards. It’s truly humbling to be in the presence of these incredible women from across the world and to celebrate everything they have accomplished in their respective fields. We’ve seen the event grow noticeably since its first incarnation, and we can’t wait to see how it will develop in the years to come.”

Mirela Sula during her talk at the conference

Other panel debates included:

  • What does integration mean from different perspectives – chaired by Bernado Moya, Chief Inspirational Officer at Best You.
  • Overcoming barriers for settling in a new country – chaired by Virginia Bright, International Artist.
  • Financial empowerment for personal freedom and social good – chaired by Rafael Dos Santos, Founder of Mi-Hub.
  • Lessons from abroad – migrants in different countries – chaired by Isabella Niewiadomska, Performance nutrition and wellness coach.
  • How can international newspapers contribute to the national conversation? – chaired by Ashish Pattni, Founder of the Pattni Consultancy.



Bernardi Moya chairing the panel with Anita Goyal, Jo Davison, Jennifer Obaseki, Jo St Clair


Virginia Bright charing the panel with Adelina Badivuku, Tasleem Mulhall, Samira Yousefi, Mercedes Leal and Ashish Paul


Rebeca Riofrio charing the panel with Mandeep Rai, Sarah Alexander, Jenny Garret and Zenobia Nadirshaw

Special interviews also took place, including:

  • Lina Bourdon interviewing Helen Tse, co-founder of Sweet Mandarin, about her journey to cooking for British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chinese Premier.
Lina Bourdon interviewing Helen Tsee


Rafael Dos Santos chairing the panel with Laura Timm, Camilita Nuttall, Yualiana Topazly, Nyasha Gwatidzo

Gina Lazenby and John Lee, Entrepreneur and author and co-founder of Wealth Dragons, discussing financial freedom.

Gina Lazenby interviewing John Lee
Izabella Niewiadomska chairing the panel with Veronica Sosa, Ermira Danaj, Elizabeth Gowing, Remzije Sherifi and Samira Savrani
Ashish Pattni chairing the panel with Paulette Simpson, Tania Chuvatkina, Marcio Rodrigo Delgado and Baiju Solanki

Among the memorable quotes of the day were: “I didn’t have role models in Yemen. I had to become one” from Tasleem Mulhall. “Don’t read the news…be the news!” from Ashish Pattni. “This experience as a refugee is not what I am, but it shaped me. It is not where I belong, it’s what belongs to me”. Zrinka Bralo. “A crumpled £20 note still has the same value.” Helen Tse.

Ivana Bartoletti

The conference was moderated by Lovelda Smith, Founder of Collaboration Club and opened by Ivana Bartoletti, Chair of the Fabian Women’s Network and winner of the 2015 Migrant Woman of the Year Award.

Lovelda Smith

A big thank you to our dancers, from Znaniye Russian Education in partnership with Kanka Dance Studio, choreographed by Aina Mamaeva, and the Shpresa programme Group, choreographed by Tomorr Kokana.

Rehab Jameel, winner of the community champion award, won a raffle prize to attend the Global Woman Summit on 30-31 July

Among the comments received from delegates that attended:


I was very honoured that I had the opportunity to receive this award “Renowned Achiever Award” on behalf of Rita Ora who was not present at this event organised by Migrant Woman Association at the annual conference. This award is given by the public and the judges for her contribution and achievement in this country and being a great role model and inspiration not only for her country but for everyone. Thank you for those who voted for her and congratulations to Migrant Woman team for the great work that are doing to promote the values of migrant women in Great Britain. – Lirim Greiçevci, Kosovar ambassador in London


Never in my life have I had the pleasure of meeting so many amazing women, all special in their own unique way. The partnerships, friendships, and a sheer desire to support each other to success was absolutely mind blowing. I’m truly grateful to know you all. Tina Allton

It’s one of the best and most inspiring events I have ever attended. SO many inspiring stories and so many great people. Count me in for the years to come, its a great format and a great idea with massive potential. – Bernardo Moya

Dear Migrant Woman team, You have no idea how excited you’ve made my wife with this event and belief you have built in her. Thank you so much. She Is totally supersonic, an amazing mum a wonderful wife, loyal friend and she has already had a big impact on so many people around the world. Oh yes and she’s gorgeous too. – P.A

The Migrant Woman Conference yesterday was a huge success. Magical moments with amazing people! Thank you so much for bringing us together and thank you to your team and everyone involved for helping you to make the event so special. It was an honour to be one of the speakers, discussing with the panel of extraordinary women ‘The Lessons From Living Abroad’. Izabela N.

Thank you for organising the Inspirational conference for migrant women from all backgrounds, cultures and origin, a platform for showing a positive message to the media of the aspirations, achievements, talents, capabilities and contributions that Migrant women are making in this country. Dominika Starosta

Thank you Migrant Woman team for yet another amazing event celebrating diversity and the talent of women from across the world.  It was an honour to open the conference, and meet so many women leaders in business, arts and charities. In my opening speech, I said we need a positive, open approach to the world to continue to thrive. That is why we must stay in Europe. Ivana Bartoletti

Thank you & congratulations to the whole team- I would like to thank you for giving me a wonderful opportunity to be on the panel discussion ‘Overcoming barriers in a foreign country’. It was overwhelming to share the stage with all such exceptional people. I had a wonderful time at the conference and learnt so much. I felt humbled and inspired. Ashish Paul

It was such a big honour to meet so many women entrepreneurs and sharing a few words of wisdom, the world is evolving and women will move ahead of men in entrepreneurism, all you have to do is keep doing what you love with heart, passion and authenticity. I’m proud of supporting this cause. If you’re stuck, ask for help, it’s not weakness but a strength. Confidence is taking action… Adam Strong



Migrant Woman Talks is a platform that has been created in order to inspire and empower migrant women by celebrating successful achievers, to create a growing momentum, and to build a like-minded community that can collectively achieve even greater things. It was the initiative of initiative of Mirela Sula who at that time was the Editor in Chief of Migrant Woman magazine and while also conducting her PhD research about migrant women. Many inspiring stories have been published in Migrant Woman magazine, which was launched in April 2014. The aim of this platform is not to complain, nor to portray an image of being the victim, or to blame, but to feel proud of what we are, and who we are, and to invite other women to feel positive about themselves and their future.