Dr-Hayaatun-Sillem RAE

RAE CEO Dr Sillem shortlisted for Bold Woman Prize

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Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering has been shortlisted for the 2022 Bold Woman Awards, alongside MD of Jomas Associates Roni Savage, and CEO of Ocado Retail Melanie Smith CBE.

The Bold Woman Award, first hosted in 1972 by Veuve Clicquot, is an annual recognition given to inspirational women with a record of organisational growth that aims at encouraging female leadership in business.

Dr Hayaatun Sillem

First female CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Dr Sillem is also CEO of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering and co-founder of the Academy’s Enterprise Hub, which supports and funds UK tech and engineering entrepreneurs, and sits on multiple boards and councils for inclusion and diversity in STEM.

She is an adviser to the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and to Accelerate Her, a network of female founders and partners with a mission to help women accelerate their career growth. 

In 2018 she was named one of the ‘Inspiring 50 Women in Tech’ by Inspiring Fifty in conjunction with the Financial Times, Accelerate Her and Google.

Dr Sillem also chairs the UK Government’s Business Innovation Forum, the St. Andrews Prize for the Environment, and co-chaired Sir Lewis Hamilton’s commission to improve Black representation in UK motorsport.


“I am honoured and delighted to be shortlisted for this unique award for bold leadership alongside some incredibly inspiring women who have achieved so much during their careers,” said Sillem.

“Having chosen to work in a community where I have always been in a minority, I hope this visibility will help to challenge people’s perceptions of leadership in engineering.”

Engineering is a field with very low female representation in the UK: according to the Women’s Engineering Society, in 2021 only 14.5% of engineers were women.

To raise awareness and tackle this underepresentation WES has also established the International Women in Engineers Day on June 23rd. 

“Engineering is a fantastic career if you want to make a difference, improve people’s lives and shape the future,” went on Sillem.

“Through the Academy’s work, we want to inspire many more people from all parts of society to become engineers: engineering is for everyone and the engineering community should reflect the society we serve.”

Bold Woman Award and Bold Future Award Finalists
Bold Woman Award and Bold Future Award Finalists


Roni Savage, also shortlisted, is the MD & Founder of Jomas Associates, an engineering company that deals with environmental concerns in the construction industry including site investigations, land contamination risk assessments, geotechnical engineering surveys and flood risk assessments.

Melanie Smith CBE is the CEO of Ocado Retail, has overseen the business’s growth, increasing revenue by 40% since 2019 and led the firm’s successful strategy during the pandemic.

The judging panel includes CEO of Manolo Blahnik Kristina Blahnik, Founder of The Dots Pip Jamieson, Sian Westerman co-chair at British Fashion Council Trust, Naomi Kerbel, global head of TV and radio at Bloomberg, and founder of MBS Group Moira Benigson.

“This year’s shortlist honours women who are having a transformative impact on the UK, driving not just financial success but real change across the industry and wider society,” said Pip Jamieson.

“The Bold Future category, in particular, is dominated by those leading social enterprises and charitable organisations, reflecting a shift towards entrepreneurship that’s driven by ethical values and purpose. Alongside representing a new generation of pioneering leaders, these tremendous nominees are driving fresh initiatives that will truly improve the lives of many.”

Finalist for the accompanying Bold Future Award aims at celebrating up-and-coming leaders of the future are: CEO of Chatterbox Mursal Hedayat MBE, Victoria Hornby OBE, CEO of Mental Health Innovations (Shout), and CEO of The Black Curriculum Lavinya Stennett.

The winners for both awards will be announced in an event ceremony in London in September 2022.

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