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Pensions industry executive wins prestigious business award

The winner of a prestigious business award for her work at a specialist insurance firm said she hopes the accolade will raise the profile of the industry.

Tracy Blackwell, co-founder of the Pension Insurance Corporation, won the Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award, with judges praising her work for growing her company’s asset portfolio.

She said: “Despite its 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.

“To be recognised with such a prestigious award will help to raise the profile of this crucial industry.”

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The 56-year-old started her career in the male-dominated investment banking sector, before switching to the equally male-dominated pensions industry.

She told the PA news agency that her philosophy was to encourage a culture of openness and transparency which she believes has proved attractive to potential recruits.

She understands that “people have a life”, she said, adding: “I hope I can inspire the next generation of game-changing, bold, female entrepreneurs.”

Francesca Brady, chief executive of indoor air quality certification business AirRated, won the Veuve Clicquot Bold Future Award, which celebrates female entrepreneurs of the future.

She studied environmental science before co-founding AirRated, which offers guidance to companies about the air quality in buildings.

She also hopes that winning the award will highlight her work on indoor air quality as well as increasing the number of women in science.

She told PA she has found leadership relatively straightforward because of the high level of empathy she believes women have.

The 31-year-old said the main issue she faces is age-related as some people do not think she has the same experience as older colleagues.

Jean-Marc Gallot, president of Veuve Clicquot, said: “Succeeding in typically male-dominated sectors, both our winners excelled across the 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.”