The inaugural International Women’s Podcast Awards, a unique event celebrating the very best female-led moments in podcasting of the last year, announces the 2021 winners.   The founder of The Skylark Collective, Naomi Mellor, herself a podcaster and champion of the interests of women in the world of podcasting, launched this innovative global event to raise the profile of female podcasters and honour their phenomenal work.

The International Women’s Podcast Awards was hosted at AllBright in London by acclaimed presenter, author and journalist Vick Hope of BBC Radio 1, whose own podcast, Songs To Live By, launched in March 2021.

The event was sponsored by Shure, a leading global manufacturer of premium audio equipment, with category sponsorship from Acast, Blubrry, Captivate FM and Sara Tye.

Award Category Winners

The Acast Moment of Comedy Gold, presented by founder of Soul Sutras and host of the Masala Podcast, Sangeeta Pillai

Overview: Sometimes in the last 18 months it hasn’t felt like there’s been much to laugh about, but the power of comedy to transcend circumstances is huge. Even in the midst of a pandemic.

Winners: Rhea Chedid and Marilyn Zakhour.

Podcast:  Who Run The World

Location: Rhea is based in London, and Marilyn is based in Dubai

What did the judges say? “I really enjoyed listening to the hosts scroll through Bumble, as it felt incredibly relatable and really fun. They also brought up really topical experiences among young Arabs living in London and their approach to dating which was very unique and interesting.”

The Blubrry Moment of Raw Emotion, presented by podcaster and BBC Radio 1Xtra producer Roshan Roberts

Overview: There’s something about podcasts that can really make you feel things isn’t there? Sometimes you just hear a piece of audio and you’re still thinking about it hours later. Often we’re listening alone and these moments just hit you.

Winner: Claire Waite Brown

Podcast:  Creativity Found

Location: Oxfordshire, UK

What did the judges say? “Listening to this excerpt totally flawed me – raw and honestly told, this true life account is extraordinary. Claire has managed to create a beautifully supportive atmosphere of trust which allowed her interviewee to describe, very personally, a shocking turning point in her life. This excerpt really showcases the power of a podcast at its best. A hugely impactful and memorable podcast that stays with the listener long after the button has been switched off.”

Moment of Cliff-Hanger Drama, presented by Farah Jassat, head of podcasts of Intelligence Squared.

Overview: We all love a Netflix binge from time to time, but a podcast binge on a really good series too can be utterly brilliant. The capacity to listen on from one podcast to the next if you’re on a long journey or got time on your hands is fantastic, especially when you are hooked on a show. As the host or producer of a storytelling podcast, it’s a special skill to be able to create those climactic moments that keep your audience on tenterhooks, desperate for the next episode to find out what happens next.

Winner: Kathleen Goldhar

Podcast: Do You Know Mordechai?

Location: Toronto, Canada

What did the judges say? “Do You Know Mordechai? was the stand podcast in this category for me. I was intrigued and captivated from the opening moment, and since listening to Kathleen’s entry, have binged the entire series. Fantastic work with great production.”

Sara Tye’s Moment of Entrepreneurial Inspiration, presented by Sara Tye

Overview: It’s frequently said that being an entrepreneur can be a lonely place. It might feel like all people ever tell you about is how many new businesses fail, when actually what you want is to be inspired by people who’ve been there and done it. Whether you need help and advice, encouragement from afar, or advice on running a startup, there’s a podcast for you as an entrepreneur.

Winner: Fleur Emery

Podcast: The REALWORK Podcast

Location: London, UK

What did the judges say? “I picked Realwork as the winner as the subject matter was very original, and Fleur really had done her research on the interviewee. The impact was really strong and brought a tear to my eye. Great, great podcast interview.”

Moment of Behind-the-Scenes Brilliance, presented by Naomi Mellor, founder of The Skylark Collective and the International Women’s Podcast Awards

Overview: They say that “behind every great man is a great woman”, but how about “behind every podcast is a great producer, or editor, or writer”? Some podcasts are one woman shows, with that one person doing everything from start to finish. Others have a team behind them, beavering away behind the scenes to help deliver an incredible show. Either way, there’s often an unsung heroine of a podcast, and we wanted to celebrate them in the category of Moment of Behind The Scenes Brilliance.

Winners: Jolene Banning and Debbie Pacheco

Podcast: Seven Truths

Location: Fort WIlliam First Nation, Ontario, Canada

What did the judges say? “Seven Truths is deeply original, telling an important story that is rarely heard. It is beautifully created, highly evocative and really interesting. A brilliant listen.”

Moment of Badass Business Advice, presented by Anna Jones, founder of Allbright

Overview: Often, as women in business, our working lives can feel more like a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows than a stroll through along the proverbial career path. Despite the genre of business podcasts being wholly dominated by men, there are some truly brilliant women out there producing high-quality, informative and entertaining work to help you through the tough times and encourage you on to greater things.

Winner: Shereen Kassam

Podcast: Creative Breakthrough

Location: Orlando, Florida, USA

What did the judges say?

The Captivate FM Moment of Touching Honesty, presented by podcaster and presenter Pips Taylor.

Overview: The capacity of a podcast to create an open, safe environment that promotes honest conversations and the sharing of meaningful thoughts and experiences, is something that’s easy to talk about but much harder to do. The hosts shortlisted in this category who’ve achieved this intimate environment with their podcasts have created beautiful, touching moments that often linger with you long after you’ve pressed pause.

Winner: Liz Beardsell

Podcast: Diary, She Wrote

Location: London, UK

What did the judges say? “Liz’s entry was incredibly touching and deeply personal, creating an intimate, honest look at the nuances of dating in London in the 21st century. The solo voice reading her real-life, unedited diary entries creates an atmosphere of such intimacy that it’s hard to stop listening. I was hooked.”

The Shure Award for Changing the World One Moment At A Time, presented by Marco Marini from Shure.

Overview: Podcasts have the capacity to change people’s minds, and their accessibility means that their message can reach a large audience. Women and girls all over the world can tap into podcasts as a medium to be inspired by the work of others, to make their voices heard or to advocate for a better world. We’re celebrating the best of those out there in the Award For Changing The World One Moment At A Time.

Winner: Laura Joyce Davis

Podcast: Shelter In Place Podcast

Location: London, UK

What did the judges say? “I absolutely loved this podcast. It was educational, honest and so evocative, with brilliant production and original themes. Really great work.”

Naomi Mellor, founder of the International Women’s Podcast Awards, said: “It’s been a real joy to hear the entries we received from across the world for the inaugural International Women’s Podcast Awards. We received submissions from women and non-binary folk from thirteen countries, and I’m thrilled to have announced the winners of our 8 categories this evening. THe quality of work entered was astoundingly high, and confirmed all our suspicions about the depth and breadth of talent out there. Congratulations to all eight winners – your work was truly brilliant and fully deserving of this recognition.”

Naomi also added her sincere thanks to the event’s headline sponsor, Shure, category supporters plus all the fantastic brands that had contributed to the event, including Kingdom Scotland, Breedon Perfumery, Yougi, Black insomnia and Swicily.

Vick Hope said; “I feel honoured presenting The International Women’s Podcast Awards. In a year like no other, podcasts have become such a special and vital part of people’s everyday wellbeing and have helped us stay connected, informed and entertained.  I’m excited that I get to be a part of these awards. It’s been unbelievable meeting these inspirational women who have won the awards tonight and dedicated their time to make brilliant podcasts for all audiences to enjoy”.

Editors Notes

Podcasts are the fastest growing form of media, and the global podcast market is predicted to grow at 27% year-on-year for the next 5 years, with an anticipated market value of $USD 60 billion by 2027, compared to $USD 11 billion in 2020. But last year, only 1 of the top 10 grossing podcasts worldwide was hosted by a woman, and latest figures estimate that less than a third of the top 500 podcasts have at least one woman at the helm.

The International Women’s Podcast Awards aims to help level the playing field for women in this exciting and evolving industry, by rewarding and elevating the unsung podcast hosts, editors, producers and writers out there whose work deserves recognition.

The joy of podcasting lies in its intimacy, in the atmosphere created between the host, guest and listener, and in the moments of incredible sensitivity, humour or honesty that keep people engrossed.

The International Women’s Podcast Awards celebrate these intimate moments of podcasting brilliance, and the women that make them happen. It doesn’t matter if they’ve had 100 downloads or 100 million, the awards are open to everyone in podcasting that identifies as a womxn or non-binary. If they’ve captured a delicious piece of audio that sums up them, their guest or their audience to perfection, then we believe they deserve honouring with an award.

Naomi Mellor

Founder, the Skylark Collective and International Women’s Podcast Awards – https://skylarkcollective.co.uk/

Naomi Mellor is a multi-faceted and multi-talented podcaster, presenter, entrepreneur and veterinary surgeon. She is the founder of the Skylark Collective and the International Women’s Podcast Awards, and a passionate advocate of raising the voices of women in podcasting.

The common thread running throughout Naomi’s career is a passion for creating meaningful connections with others and serving those around her. She was raised with the idea that women and girls can step into their power to do or be whatever they want in life, and it remains a particular goal of hers to share that idea with others.

Naomi grew up in Manchester and first expressed a desire to be a vet at the age of three. Fifteen years later she was still determined to fulfil her dreams, and since 2007, her career as a vet has taken her to the South Pacific, Australia, the USA, Newmarket and beyond, working with high-performing equine athletes and top-class riders bound for the Olympics, Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby.

She has strong empathetic communication skills and an intuitive ability to form bonds with people honed over 14 years in veterinary practice. Dealing with a hugely diverse client base during her career also meant Naomi developed an interest in hearing the stories of the people she met, as well as their animals.

These stories, and an interest in promoting the interests of women in the workplace, sparked Naomi’s interest in podcasting. Whilst between jobs and unsure where her career was going in 2018, she set herself the audacious challenge of starting a podcast and running an ultramarathon. Mentored by Sarah Williams of Tough Girl, Naomi learned the art of podcasting from scratch, and in 2019 was the 6th woman to finish the Jurassic Coast Challenge, a 3-day ultramarathon along the Dorset coastline.

Her first podcast, Smashing The Ceiling, launched in 2018, telling the stories of women with interesting, unusual and inspiring careers. Naomi has now interviewed over 50 women about their working lives, including author and journalist Alexandra Heminsley, former Olympic athlete Donna Fraser, Forbes writer and surgeon Jamie Coleman, and Formula 1 development driver Jamie Chadwick, as well as hosting two other successful veterinary podcasts in the meantime.

People warm to Naomi’s enthusiasm, kindness, sense of fun and desire to see others grow. She is passionate about creating meaningful change in the world, and empowering women with the confidence to fulfil their podcasting potential.

In 2021, Naomi combined her passions for podcasting and promoting the interests of audacious, confident women worldwide to found The Skylark Collective and the International Women’s Podcast Awards. The Skylark Collective is a global network of women in podcasting, that aims to support and unite women and non-binary podcasters all over the world through connection, collaboration and celebration. The inaugural International Women’s Podcast Awards to be held in September 2021 at the Allbright in London, will be the first awards anywhere in the world to specifically recognise and reward the talent of women in podcasting.

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