Inspirational business women scoop Veuve Clicquot awards

Tracy Blackwell, co-founder of one of the UK’s largest specialist insurers, Pension Insurance Corporation plc (PIC), has been announced as the winner of the 2024 Bold Woman Award by prestigious champagne producer Veuve Clicquot, the longest-running international accolade honouring the most impressive women in business.

Blackwell was honoured for co-founding and growing PIC into a FTSE 100-sized business that pays the pensions of 350,000 people. Established in 2006, the specialist insurance company has grown its asset portfolio to £50 billion, of which more than £13 billion is invested in UK infrastructure, including the UK’s largest urban regeneration project in the Wirral.

At an empowering award ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London, Blackwell collected the award, following in the footsteps of previous winners, including Professor Sarah Gilbert, recognised in 2021 for her work leading the development of the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine; CEO of Selfridges Group, Anne Pitcher, in 2020; and renowned architect Dame Zaha Hadid in 2013.

The Bold Woman Award celebrates outstanding achievements by inspirational women with a proven track record of institutional and personal success. The 52nd woman to be honoured, Blackwell was selected as the winner by an esteemed panel of judges for representing the spirit of the Bold Awards’ inspiration, the magnificent Madame Clicquot, who blazed a trail for female entrepreneurs by establishing Veuve Clicquot as one of the world’s biggest champagne brands in the 1800s.

Francesca Brady, co-founder and CEO of AirRated, was awarded the Bold Future Award by Veuve Clicquot. The Future award celebrates female entrepreneurs of the future, and Brady was honoured for pioneering AirScore which is bringing much needed attention to the importance of indoor air quality. Despite us spending 80% of our time indoors, most research and attention on air quality relates to the outdoors. AirScore is designed to provide reassurance about air quality in our indoor spaces and creates a marker for indoor air health that is available to everyone. The judges were impressed by Brady’s ability to translate her academic acumen into business success.

The Bold Woman Award is a modern evolution of Veuve Clicquot’s Business Woman Award, which has been running since 1972, and is the first and longest-running international accolade of its kind. The panel of judges look for women who emulate the qualities of Madame Clicquot, an original trailblazer who, back in 1805, was renowned for her enterprising spirit, and the courage and determination to accomplish her goals.


The award’s judging panel was comprised of a mixture of industry titans and networkers including Sharmadean Reid, founder of The Stack World; Kristina Blahnik, CEO of Manolo Blahnik; Pip Jamieson, founder of The Dots; Sian Westerman, co-chair at British Fashion Council Trust; and Pippa Lamb, partner at Sweet Capital.

Tracy Blackwell, co-founder and CEO of PIC, and winner of the Bold Woman Award, said: “Despite its fundamental importance to the future welfare of millions of people, not to mention the infrastructure we fund, the pensions industry flies beneath the radar much of the time. So to be recognised with such a prestigious award will help to raise the profile of this crucial industry. I’m incredibly proud of how much PIC has grown, based on our purpose of paying the pensions of our current and future policyholders. Through our investment in UK infrastructure, we have the potential to change the country over the next decade, also bringing a measure of intergenerational equity as we back the pensions of older people with the infrastructure and housing needed by younger, and future, generations. In achieving this award, I hope I can inspire the next generation of game-changing, bold female entrepreneurs.”

Francesca Brady, co-founder and CEO of AirRated and winner of the Bold Future Award said: “The work we are doing is incredibly important to people’s health and winning the Bold Future Award is amazing recognition personally and offers a fantastic opportunity to shine a light on the issue of indoor air quality. We are constantly striving to increase the number of women in science and I’d love to see more female led businesses and I hope I can inspire others to be brave and follow their passion.”

Jean-Marc Gallot, president of Veuve Clicquot, commented: “In 1805, Madame Clicquot was the original Bold woman, and our two winners this year encapsulate everything she stood for. Succeeding in typically male dominated sectors, both our winners excelled across the four key areas our judges assess. They both are successfully reinventing traditions, have clearly demonstrated entrepreneurial daring, championed better representation of female leaders and maintained an ethical approach.”

The two winners will join Veuve Clicquot’s newly launched Bold Open Database, the first global, open and innovative database, aimed at bringing together female entrepreneurs worldwide. Designed with a scientific, economic and social approach, the Bold Open Database brings visibility to a previously unseen group, a source of data surrounding female entrepreneurs and their businesses for investors, journalists and fellow founders. For more information on the Bold Open Database, visit:



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