Successful entrepreneurs from the Midlands are among the inspirational stories that form a new book set to raise funds for a national charity close to their hearts.

Inspirational Women, Inspirational Lives, which launched today (Monday), celebrates female achievers from across the country, many with tales of overcoming adversity and even tragedy.

Compiled over nine months by Tracey McAtamney, from Balsall Common, the book features the 58 finalists in the 2020 Ladies First Network Awards which takes place this month in aid of The Katie Piper Foundation.

“Compiling this book has been both very humbling and uplifting. I thought it was important to get it out there. At the moment there are more women than ever who need support and inspiration.

“It’s also based on a year on hold. It’s about what happened to these people over the past year and what impact the pandemic has had on their lives – positive and negative. It looks at how so many women have had to reinvent themselves on the kitchen table. It’s all about celebrating being positive.

“I hope that what people take away from this book is a belief in themselves, that they will see that, no matter how bad things become in your life, you can come out of it the other side.” says Tracey.

Tracey McAtamney

Among those who contributed from the Midlands are . . .

  • Stine Giles, founder of the Giles’ Trust Brain Tumour Fund
  • Codilia Gapare is An entrepreneur, mentor and public speaker who transformed the beauty industry by creating the first false lashes range for chemotherapy patients.
  • George Kearney-Bambridge, deputy CEO of the social mobility charity Envision.
  • Marcia Lewinson, CEO at the award-winning Women Acting in Today’s Society (WAITS), a charity that supports victims of domestic violence.
  • Ruth Bridges, Managing Director of independent commercial property company, J Roberts Ltd.
  • Shelley Wilson, Best-selling author and founder of Shelley Wilson Writing Solutions, including writing workshops.
  • Karen Williams OBE, from Sutton Coldfield, founder of The Buddy Bag Foundation
  • Amy Jackson, co-founder of The Lily Mae Foundation, a charity that provides much-needed support to bereaved parents and their families following a stillbirth, neonatal death, miscarriage or medical termination.
  • Raj Holness founder of Breaking the Silence (BTSUK), following 20 years as herself a victim of domestic abuse.
  • Sarah Jane Downing, a survivor of the breast cancer surgeon Ian Paterson and since 2015 has run PS4PS: Paterson’s Survivors for Patient Safety.
  • Carmen Watson, Managing Director Pertemps
  • Kiran Sharma, Founding Director of Physio+ Health Matters
  • Mary Sewell, of Mary Kay Beauty Consultancy
  • Sarah Ledger, Head of Research and Development at Baby Lifeline in Balsall Common
  • Margarita Kostadinova, Manager at Urgency Housing UHO
  • Angela Reasbeck, who runs Travel Counsellors
  • Dr Lorraine Hill, owner of Hampton Clinic
  • Fay Goodman, director of production company Goodmedia
  • Gemma Perry, Creative Director of House of Solus bespoke jewellery
  • Geraldine Davies of Senior Care Support Services
  • Jackie Bullock, Commercial Manager for Pertemps Birmingham
  • Jessica Ward, principal of Elmhurst Ballet School
  • Leigh Perry, principal of DMS Heart of England Music Academy; executive and leadership coach
  • Marie Haycocks
  • Melanie Brown, owner of Mel’s Little Luxuries natural products
  • Nomana Khwaja, mindset and NLP coach and speaker
  • Rachel Gray, who owns The Closet in Knowle
  • Sara Tomaszewska, Director of Little Media Agency
  • Sonia Parnell, Managing Director of Liberty House Care Home in Erdington
  • Yvonne McCabe, owner of The Minuteman Press in Hall Green.
  • Marie Rowe, Inspirational speaker and former Hollywood film producer
  • Christine Cooper, who launched the NoW Network
  • Corrine Seabourne, of Alsters Kelley Solicitors
  • Donna Vaughan, who runs Millie’s Paws Hydrotherapy Centre & Grooming Studio
  • Maria Holmes-Keeling, marketeer
  • Suneta Bagri, wellbeing and consultant coach
  • Trish Willetts, Coventry BID Director
  • Sharon Luca-Chatha launched The Luca Foundation in 2018, six years after her son, Luca, was stillborn.
  • Phaedra Elson, from Exhall, is an illustrator, pet portrait artist and online retailer, trading as Pipistrelle Art.
  • Lorraine Checklin, founder of Flourish Health and Wellbeing Ltd.
  • Karen Ramsey-Smith, advanced transformational coach, mentor and mindfulness teacher

Inspirational Women, Inspirational Lives follows on from the success of Tracey’s first book Hidden Strength in 2019, which tells her own story of resilience, after being widowed at a young age.

Proceeds from this book go back into her charity Surviving Bereavement, which offers practical, financial, legal and emotional support in the form of seminars and new Memory Boxes, launched last year.

£12.99 and is available from Amazon (also on Kindle) or through Tracey at: [email protected] with all the proceeds benefitting The Katie Piper Foundation.

LFN Business Awards

The finalists to the third LFN Business Awards were chosen from more than 200 nominations, and the winners will this year, for the first time, receive their engraved glass awards virtually, due to COVID restrictions.

An esteemed panel of 12 judges from across the UK, includes the awards keynote speaker, global successs coach and author Sharron Lowe, from Tanworth-in-Arden.

Hosted by BBC radio presenter Sandra Godley, the awards ceremony, on March 18th, will also feature a message from Katie Piper. The author and TV presenter founded her charity in 2008 while in the early stages of her recovery from an acid attack which left her with permanent scars on her face and body and blindness in one eye.

Katie said: “I’m so honoured that my charity has been chosen to benefit from the awards, auction and book inspired by these incredible women. Their stories of determination through the pandemic and resilience are to be celebrated.

“The switch from ‘in real life’ awards to a digital ceremony mirrors how we adapted from delivering in-person care to video-call- based rehabilitation with outstanding results for survivors. As women, we are no one thing, we evolve, change and grow and the positive impact is felt far and wide.”

Tracey McAtamney added: “When I was deciding on which charity should benefit from our event this year, I thought, who is one of the most inspirational and courageous women I know? Katie Piper represents someone who has been through awful challenges and within a month of her recovery set up her own charity to try and help others. It sat well with what we are trying to achieve with the book and the awards.”

Tickets to the awards night are £15 and available at via Eventbrite.


Proceeds from an online silent auction will also be donated to the Foundation. More than 20 lots, available to bid on from today, (Monday) include an Amplify Events VIP package for Strictly Come Dancing; a private dining meal for two courtesy of Bramble Dining; a diamond ring, speech coaching workshop, Napton Cidery Discovery Bundle; pet portrait and beauty vouchers.

Bids can be made via:

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