WIG Leadership Impact Awards 2019

About the Awards: 

Developing leaders with insight and experience across the sectors is at the heart of WIG’s core purpose. We believe that enabling collaboration empowers innovation. That’s how we build flexibility and resilience to successfully lead during uncertain times. 

In 2017 we launched our first WIG Leadership Impact Award, recognising the impact of learning in a cross-sector environment. This year we invited submissions from alumni of WIG leadership programmes as well as those who have benefited from a WIG talent offer such as a secondment (including the Charity Next secondment scheme) or mentoring programme.

Applicants were asked to demonstrate how learning in a WIG context has had a significant positive impact on their own leadership practice and their ability to lead teams. The finalists have demonstrated that they have made a real difference within and beyond their organisations.

We would like to recognise the great work that WIG alumni do in the field of leadership and capture how that has been informed by cross-sector learning. We will be presenting the award at our Annual Reception on 7 March 2019.

Our 2019 short-listed finalists:

  • Eleri Wones CBE, Deputy Director, Government Legal Department
  • Kate Willsher, Chief Operations Officer, IfM ECS Ltd, University of Cambridge
  • Yasmine Hafiz, Senior Strategic Communications Advisor, No. 10 Campaigns, Cabinet Office
  • William Goldsmith, Balancing Markets Development Officer, National Grid ESO
  • Louise Bratchie, Senior Performance Adviser, EU Transition Unit, HM Revenue & Customs
  • Bijan Hakimian, Head of UK-India Trade Policy, Department for International Trade


The winners were announced on 7 March 2019 during WIG's Annual Reception. Read about it here.


Take a look back at highlights from our first ever Awards

Our 2019 awards panel:

  • Phil Thomson

    President, Global Affairs, GSK & Chair of WIG

    Phil is President of Global Affairs at GSK and a member of the Group’s Corporate Executive Team. He serves as an advisor and representative of the CEO on corporate and business-related matters, with specific responsibilities for the Group’s strategic approach to Reputation, Corporate Responsibility and Global Health. He is also responsible for the Group’s engagement and relationships with investors, media, government and employees; management of the corporate brand; and key global community partnerships. Phil joined Glaxo Wellcome as a commercial trainee in 1996, and has worked in a number of external-facing roles on matters related to corporate strategy, business performance and reputation. He earned his degree in English, History and Russian Studies from Durham University. Phil is a Co-Opted Member of the China-Britain Business Council and is Chairman of The Whitehall & Industry Group.

  • Simon Ancona CBE

    Chief Executive

    Simon Ancona enjoyed a full career in the Royal Navy including service in the Fleet Air Arm and appointments abroad in both Hong Kong and Bahrain. He commanded 4 warships, the UK’s Carrier Strike Group and UK maritime forces in the Middle East but also spent about 10 years in Whitehall including time in Ministerial outer office. His final appointment was as the Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff in charge of world-wide defence diplomacy and engagement. On leaving the military he worked as the Chief Operating Officer responsible for Network Rail’s North East London and Anglia region, which provided experience of commercial delivery and the challenges of operating at the seam of both the public and private sector. Married to Lisa he lives in South London and has two university aged children. Interests include cycling, walking, theatre, cooking, books and playing the blues Harmonica (normally when the house is empty).

    Simon writes a CEO Blog for WIG on topics that he identifies as relevant to and impacting on our members. 

  • Rachel Sandby-Thomas CB

    Registrar, University of Warwick

  • Debbie Alder

    Director General of Human Resources, Department for Work and Pensions

    Debbie started her career in the Private Sector, achieving a place on Marks & Spencer retail graduate scheme on leaving University. She worked in retail and the Private Sector for 21 years in a variety of HR roles both in the UK and abroad before joining the Civil Service in 2009. Leading HR across Government, Debbie spent a year with DWP as HR Director in Policy before joining DEFRA for two years as their HR Director. In 2013 she joined the Ministry of Justice for a year as Group HR Director before returning to DWP to take up post as HR Director General in January 2014. In her capacity as HR Director General at DWP, Debbie sets the HR strategy - aligning this to both the business strategy and Civil Service Reform to ensure Business delivery and the creation of an extraordinary department. As Disability, Wellbeing and Worklife Balance champion Debbie is passionate about enabling colleagues to reach their own potential whilst inspiring others to do the same.


WIG Leadership Awards Criteria

WIG Leadership Impact Award

  1. Participation on a WIG leadership programme or secondment.

  2. Evidence of the benefits of learning in a cross-sector environment and how that learning has been implemented to meaningful impact.

  3. Examples of evidence of impact on:
    - Their own leadership
    - Their team
    - Their organisation as a whole
    - The wider system/outside of their home organisation
    - Customer/service user benefits

  4. Compelling endorsement of impact by key stakeholder

WIG Emerging Leader Award

  1. Participation on a WIG leadership programme or secondment (e.g. Charity Next).

  2. Evidence of the benefits of learning in a cross-sector environment early in your career and how that learning has been implemented to meaningful impact.

  3. Examples of evidence of impact on:
    - Their own leadership
    - Their team
    - Their organisation or wider system or customer/service user

  4. Plan for how they are going to continue using cross-sector learning in their developing leadership practice.

  5. Compelling endorsement of impact by key stakeholder


Terms and Conditions

  • Submissions can only be accepted from WIG leadership programme and secondment alumni.

  • Finalists will be interviewed and recorded. The content of this application and any video interview will remain the property of WIG and can be used in WIG related marketing.

  • The decision of the Awards Panel will be final.

  • If shortlisted, we would like you to attend the Award Ceremony as part of the WIG Annual Reception 2019 on the 7 March 2019.

  • By submitting an application, you agree to participate in any publicity including photos/videos after the event.


We announced the winners at our Annual Reception on Thursday 7 March 2019. Read about it here.

To find out more about the award, email us or call us on 020 7222 1166 and speak to Lorraine King or Roy Johnson.


Applications for 2019 are now closed. If you have missed out on applying this year, please do consider applying for next year's awards. If you are part of the WIG alumni community and meet the criteria above, we would love to receive your applications for 2020 (application forms will be available in autumn 2019).


Best personal development I have undertaken, ever! Jane Cosgrove Home Office