Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 • Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 Mercè Delgado Barrera is proudly part of this uprising of female role models and leaders, breaking down barriers and empowering other women to pursue careers in technology – and to be leaders. So, we are excited to have sat down for a chat with Mercè herself to learn more about her trailblazing career and her exciting company, WitSound Technologies. Most Dedicated Audio Technology CEO 2023 (Barcelona): Mercè Delgado

2 Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 About the Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 Welcome to the 8th annual Influential Businesswomen Awards proudly hosted by Acquisition International, where we recognize and honour the achievements of female leaders in the business world. Acquisition International aspires to seek out and celebrate the most exceptional businesswomen from around the globe who are making a positive impact in their industries and communities. These women are trailblazers, innovators, and role models who are leading the charge in their fields and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps. As women continue to excel in the business world and become an increasingly integral part of the global economy, we at Acquisition International believe it is important to recognize and celebrate this fact. Sofi Parry- Senior Editor Contents 4 WitSound Technologies: Most Dedicated Audio Technology CEO 2023 (Barcelona): Mercè Delgado 8 Assupol Life: Most Instrumental Insurance Businesswoman 2023 (South Africa): Bridget Mokwena-Halala 10 Gravis: Corporate Reporting Specialist of the Year 2023 (London): Chloe Marlow 12 Whitehall Vineyard: Best Emerging Vineyard Marketing Businesswoman 2023 (UK): Charlotte Self 14 Excel TM Group: Female Start Up Director of the Year 2023 (North West England): Sian Dunn 16 Utopia Plastix/Utopia Model Companies: Most Innovative Plastics Alternative Development CEO 2023 (USA): Sharina Perry 18 Smart Caregiving: Most Influential Caregiving CEO 2023 (Southeast USA): Traci Lamb 20 Her Hustle Limited: Most Empowering Young Businesswoman Support CEO 2023 (Kenya): Caroline Mutiso 22 theSKINBOX: Most Empowering Cosmetics & Healthcare Consultancy CEO 2023 (Germany): Dr Yuliya Zielinski 24 Eos Worldwide: Best Female Entrepreneurial Coach 2023 (Texas): Jill Young 26 SOS Trabajo By Smart Option Search, Inc: Most Influential HR Businesswoman 2023 (Latin America): Melissa Concepcion 28 The Sensory Kids Store®: Most Influential Children’s Educational Support Entrepreneur 2023 (Illinois): Ellen Sternweiler No information contained on or in this website constitutes investment advice or an offer to invest or to provide management services and is subject to correction, completion and amendment without notice. Neither AI nor any of its associated entities are authorised to give financial advice of any nature nor are they regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Prior to making any investment, AI recommends that any prospective investor should consult with its own investment, accounting, legal and tax advisers to evaluate independently the risks, consequences and suitability of that investment. AI Global Media, Ltd. (AI) takes reasonable measures to ensure the quality of the information on this web site. However, AI will not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness or completeness of any information that is available through this web site. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them. The information available through the website and our partner publications is for your general information and use and is not intended to address any particular finance or investment requirements. In particular, the information does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by us or any of our partner publications and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making or refraining from making any investment or financial decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision. Any arrangement made between you and any third party named in the site is at your sole risk and responsibility. 30 Gladwood, LLC: Most Insightful Leadership Development Business Leader 2023 (Virginia): Renee Wood 31 Leadership Circle: Most Influential Adult Development Expert & Top Executive Coach 2023 (Europe) 32 Regency Design & Print Ltd: Brand Activation Business Development Manager of the Year 2023 (UK): Lucy Roud 33 These White Walls: Most Innovative Bespoke Interior Design Studio 2023 - London 34 Coaching With Caroline: Female Executive Health Coach of the Year 2023 (UK): Caroline Milne 35 Mumble Forum: Most Influential Women’s Industry Platform CEO 2023 (UK): Monique Vega Hodgson 36 Peelo: Luxury Accessories Brand Founder of the Year 2023 (Ireland): Julie Peelo 37 OCEAN US: Most Visionary Marine Preservation Foundation Founder 2023: Linda Neugebauer 38 Alena Bennett: Best CFO Mentor Company Leader 2023 (Sydney): Alena Bennett 39 Fusion Law Limited: Most Influential Commercial Lawyer 2023 London: Aleksandra Jarosz 40 MindBerry: Most Influential Tech Health Care Businesswoman 2023 (London): Sandra de Monte 41 A Beautiful Life: Beauty Retail Entrepreneur of the Year 2023 (Southern England): Lydia Roscoe

Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 3 42 ZigiWave: Most Transformative Software CEO 2023 (Bulgaria): Maria Zasheva 43 Abundantly Social: Best Digital & Book Marketing Business Leader 2023 (USA): Aimee Ravichandran 44 CONCORDIA Agency s.r.o: Best International Recruitment & Business Development CEO 2023 (Central Europe): Linda Hnatova 45 Danica Payne Aesthetics & Dental: Female-Led Aesthetics Clinic of the Year 2023 - Southern England & Most Revitalising Skin Care Product 2023 - Danica Payne Collagen Sheet Mask 46 Ikonic Technology Ltd: Most Instrumental Insurance & Risk Management Business Leader 2023 (Australia): Emma Mekisic 47 Mercy Mission Global Ltd: Most Inspirational Organic Farm CEO 2023 (Kano): Samirah Faruk 48 1Life BV: Most Inspirational Empowerment Coach 2023 (Belgium): Yasmina Fadli 49 Roseway Labs: Most Innovative Pre-Packed & Compounded Medications Businesswoman 2023: Elizabeth Philp 50 deVere & Partners Switzerland SA: Most Influential Finance Businesswoman of the Year 2023 (Switzerland): Sara Hussain 51 CBE Companies, Inc: Call Center Outsourcing CEO of the Year 2023 (Iowa): Erica Parks 52 WeCare4®: Expert Caregivers’ Network CEO of the Year 2023 (Northeast USA): Carol Greco 53 Glen Mhor Hotel & Apartments: Most Influential Sustainable Tourism Business Leader 2023 (Scotland): Victoria Erasmus 54 Nicholson Hall Advisory Limited: Most Influential Business Advisor 2023 (London): Christine Nicholson 55 Arcade Media: Best Entertainment Administration Leader 2023 (London): Zoe Hill 56 Etavele Solutions: Female Non-Profit Consultant & Auctioneer of the Year 2023 (USA): Vallye Adams 57 MackmanES Consulting: Best Wellness Hospitality Visionary 2023 In the U.S: Mia Mackman 58 Everything Podcasts: Most Influential Podcast Production Company CEO 2023: Jennifer Smith 59 Dot Dash Digital: Best Social Media Coaching Director 2023 (London): Abigail Garland 60 Lune Group Oy Ltd – Lunette: Most Influential Menstrual Care Business Leader 2023 (Nordics): Heli Kurjanen 61 Lourdes Gant International: Most Influential Sustainable Aquaculture Businesswoman 2023 (Western Canada): Lourdes Gant 62 Pastel and Bloom: Best Cake Design Business Owner 2023 (Melbourne): Vanessa Gibilisco 63 Mues-Tec GmbH & Co. KG: Innovative Technology CEO of the Year 2023 (Germany): Viktoria Thur 64 The Marketing Centre: Most Dedicated Branding Expert (North West England): Julie Brook 65 The Conscious Leadership Company - TCLC: Most Innovative Leadership Development CEO 2023 (UK): Natasha Wallace 66 Flocus BV: Sustainability Innovator of the Year 2023 (Italy): Sara Cicognani 67 Deborah Udakis Consultancy Ltd: Most Instrumental Early Years Consulting Business Leader 2023 (West Midlands): Deborah Udakis 68 Millington Hingley / Spattered Ltd: Most Esteemed Forensic Educator 2023 (UK) 69 The Muff Liquor Company: Handcrafted Spirits Business Leader of the Year 2023 (Western Europe): Laura Bonner 70 Lynda White Real Estate: Best Real Estate Businesswoman 2023 (Victoria): Lynda White 71 Barefoot Recruitment: Most Dedicated Workplace Diversity Champion 2023 (Southern England): Sal Hurrell 72 Barrett Corp & Harrington Ltd: Insurance Marketing Specialist of the Year 2023 (UK): Zoe Davenport 73 LMC Caravan GmbH & Co. KG: Most Influential Vehicle Marketing Businesswomen 2023 (North Rhine- Westphalia): Nina Wesselmann 74 PSI Product Specialists: Most Influential Telecommunications Industry Products & Services CEO 2023 (Ohio): Lisa LaBanc 75 Neon Shed: Most Empowering Founder & Chief Courage Officer 2023 (Australia): Nicole Turnbull 76 Red Rose Care: Most Dedicated Director of Care 2023 (North West England): Michelle Richardson 77 Pro-Business Consulting Limited (PBC): Most Impactful MedTech Regulatory Consultancy Firm 2023 78 Opportunity Law: Best Enterprise SaaS Sales Attorney of the Year 2023 (California): Talia Walker 79 White’s IGA Iga Group: Most Influential Retail Group Owner 2023 (Australia): Roz White 80 Quantum Global Consultants: Most Impactful Technology & Business Consultancy MD 2023 (Southeast England): Nimisha Brahmbhatt 81 Cosawi: Business Transformation Consulting CEO of the Year 2023: Dominique Cote 82 SIA Intis Telecom: The Most Hard-Working Telecommunications Company CEO of 2023 in Latvia - Natalija Japerte! 83 FemFounder LLC: Creative Development Founder of the Year 2023 (USA): Kristin Marquet & Most Empowering Female Entrepreneur Support Platform 2023 - USA 84 Divaine Growth Solutions: Most Influential Clean Energy Businesswoman 2023 (Southern Africa): Yolanda Mabuto 85 Price & Ramey Inc: Most Influential Insurance Agency CEO 2023 (Tennessee): Linda Nichols CIC, AAI 86 West Michigan Structural Services, L.L.C: Best Structural Services Businesswoman 2023 (Midwest USA): Jennifer Dameron 87 L. Baddauy Advocacia: Most Inspiring Legal Leader 2023 (Brazil): Letícia Baddauy 88 Fusion Salon avalon: Cosmetology Business Owner of the Year 2023 (New Jersey): Crystal Praul

4 Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 Apr23379 Most Dedicated Audio Technology CEO 2023 (Barcelona): Mercè Delgado In recent years, the technological industry has seen notable changes when it comes to women’s representation and opportunities. While women continue to be underrepresented in certain leadership and technical roles, there is no denying the growing recognition of the need for gender diversity and efforts to address the gender imbalance. Mercè Delgado Barrera is proudly part of this uprising of female role models and leaders, breaking down barriers and empowering other women to pursue careers in technology – and to be leaders. So, we are excited to have sat down for a chat with Mercè herself to learn more about her trailblazing career and her exciting company, WitSound Technologies. ercè Delgado Barrera is co-founder, CEO, and CFO of WitSound Technologies, a start-up created in June 2021 with the mission of gathering deep data and using IA (machine learning) to create streamlined processes for the audio sector. It all began with a project called WitScript, which we ask Mercè to tell us about. “WitScript, thanks to our advanced AI and deep learning models, helps teams to be faster in their voice over QA/QC processes for dubbing audiobooks, films, animation, TV, series, commercials, or any other voice audio media content,” she explains. “WitScript is the software that helps increase the quality into companies’ internal QA/ QC voice over processes. Our latest version, with editing capabilities, supports all script formats, and as reported, is 80% faster than the manual processes.” Due to WitSound Technologies’ proprietary deep learning models, WitScript automatically highlights the differences between the original script and the audio file recorded. WitScript supports 19 languages and, of course, it is under the TPN Certificate, which is a must in the dubbing sector. Making use of this extraordinary technology are the biggest producer companies, dubbing studios, audiobook companies, video games studios, and e-learning companies, to name but a few. Mercè goes on to give us a further understanding of her role at WitSound Technologies. “My role at WitSound Technologies is cofounder, CEO, and CFO. Today, I feel like an orchestra woman with a lot of hats, but in a start-up company, it is mandatory to have more than one hat after the first five years,” she laughs. “I manage the business strategies, business development, financial area, fundraising investment, and maintain key business relationships with different investors and companies located all over the world, and, most importantly, I manage the team.” With over 20 years of diverse experience in business and entrepreneurship under her belt, this covers strategic advisory, business development, and digital expertise, as well as fundraising for organisations from multinational companies to start-ups. Mercè has held many roles ranging from CEO to CFO to entrepreneur and M

Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 5 business advisor in various industries such as technological, gaming, audio, entertainment, and sports, among others. She tells us, “I’m a professional focused on results and people. I’m a businesswoman, dynamic with clear ideas, negotiation, leadership, and social skills, and a great ability to work in teams. I want to contribute to changing people’s lives by enabling them to have an impact, to make a difference, and to move the world forward together. “The key to my leadership is to take care of employees through my commitment to their development. I am a business-crazy woman that wants to help change the business world!” Mercè’s road to getting to where she is today hasn’t been easy, though. As a businesswoman in the tech industry, one of her major challenges has been debunking the stereotype that this sector is exclusively for men. She states, “It is crucial to emphasise that gender does not determine one’s competence or professionalism. Over the years, I have witnessed positive changes in the roles of women within the industry, however, two decades ago, the landscape was different, and I encountered a unique set of challenges.” She continues, “Throughout my professional journey, my primary challenge has been to consistently demonstrate my abilities and showcase my strong skills in the business world. I believe this is a universal challenge faced by many professionals, regardless of their gender. It has required me to prove myself repeatedly, earning the respect and recognition I deserve in a highly competitive environment.” “With perseverance and dedication, I have strived to break through the barriers and stereotypes that may exist. By consistently delivering excellent results, staying up-to-date with industry advancements, and engaging in continuous learning, I have aimed to establish myself as a top-notch professional. “Without a doubt, my biggest achievement in my career is gaining the professional respect of the market. I have grown day by day in my professional role, and today, I enjoy the market recognition. I can proudly say that I am referent in the business world, and I am very proud of it.”

6 Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 In the corporate world, women do continue to encounter obstacles such as unconscious bias, limited access to venture capital funding for start-ups, and a lack of representation in leadership positions. These factors can make it harder for women to enter and advance within the tech industry in particular. However, things have changed a lot since Mercè first began her career. She has observed how many firms within the tech industry now have established programmes to attract and retain women, providing mentorship, networking opportunities, and professional development support. Companies are also focusing on creating inclusive work environments that value diverse perspectives and combat gender biases. “It’s important to note that while progress has been made, there is still work to be done to ensure equal opportunities and representation for women in the technological industry,” says Mercè. “Continued efforts to challenge biases, address systemic barriers, and provide support and mentorship will be crucial in driving further change.” So, what are Mercè’s tips for going far in this industry? She shares, “I can say that building a strong professional network is essential for career advancement. Connect with colleagues, mentors, and industry professionals who can offer guidance, support, and opportunities.” “Believe in your abilities and be confident in expressing your ideas and opinions. Be willing to step outside your comfort zone and take on new challenges. Success often involves facing setbacks and overcoming obstacles. Develop resilience, learn from failures, and maintain a positive attitude even in difficult times.” Mercè does serve as an outstanding role model for aspiring women, and she offers her mentorship to them. She’s keen to share her experiences, provide guidance, and offer advice to help them navigate their career paths. Here, she brings networking into the mix, introducing women or individuals from underrepresented groups to valuable contacts and professional networks. She helps them to expand their connections and create opportunities for collaboration and growth. She encourages those who are facing disadvantages to advocate for themselves and their achievements, to help them build confidence, develop negotiation skills, and promote their unique strengths and contributions. We’re feeling very inspired indeed after speaking to Mercè, and it’s become very clear how she has achieved such extraordinary success both in her career and within the Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023, between her devotion towards her work and her incredible impact on the tech industry. Thus, the bright future ahead of Mercè and WitSound Technologies is inevitable. Mercè tells us what that looks like. “The future of WitSound Technologies is to become the leading authority in AI-driven automation for audio QA/QC processes. While we are already recognised as a reference in this field, my ultimate vision for WitSound Technologies is to be the go-to company for any organisation seeking quality control or assurance in their audio processes.” “I aspire for WitSound Technologies to be mentioned in the same breath as industry giants like Apple, Google, or Amazon. I want our company to make a significant contribution to helping businesses enhance their QA/QC audio processes and elevate their overall audio quality.” “We aim to revolutionise the industry, setting new benchmarks and exceeding expectations. Together with our dedicated team, I am confident that WitSound Technologies will continue to thrive and reshape the future of audio QA/QC processes, establishing ourselves as a leading force in the industry.” In 2023, the focus at WitSound Technologies is to consolidate WitScript, which has already gained recognition in the industry. Additionally, Mercè and the company are thrilled to announce the upcoming launch of the new product, WitEdit, in the final quarter of the year. WitEdit will offer cutting-edge features and capabilities to further streamline and enhance audio quality control and assurance. Furthermore, Mercè is delighted to have secured amazing partnerships, one of them being a renowned organisation in the audio sector, further solidifying WitSound Technologies’ position as a trusted and respected player in the industry. Through these partnerships, the company’s commitment is to bring the most advanced technology, expertise, and innovation to its clients, empowering them to achieve the highest standards in audio quality. Now, Mercè wishes to end with a few words of gratitude. “I just want to give a huge shoutout and express limitless thanks to the amazing team of WitSound Technologies. “I also want to give a special thanks to Mario Crespo, the co-founder and CPO of WitSound Technologies. Mario has been my partner in crime from day one. He believed in me and trusted me with this wild venture. Big props to Marc Domenech, our CTO and the director of our amazing team. “To my sisters, nephew, and brother-in-law, you guys have been my rocks. Your unwavering support and belief in me, even during the toughest times, have given me strength. I can’t thank you enough for always having my back. “And, of course, a special shoutout to my partner. You’ve been my rock throughout this entire journey. Your understanding and unwavering support have kept me going. I’m lucky to have you by my side. “Last but not least, I want to pay tribute to my incredible Mama, who’s here with me, and my Papa, who’s watching over the sky. Their unwavering belief in me has been the driving force behind my achievements. Mama, Papa, I’m so proud to be your child, and I’m forever grateful for your love and support. “To everyone who has contributed to my journey and believed in my dreams, I want to say a massive thank you!” Company: WitSound Technologies Contact: Mercè Delgado Barrera Email: Website:

Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 7

8 Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 May23191 Most Instrumental Insurance Businesswoman 2023 (South Africa): Bridget Mokwena-Halala Since 1913, Assupol Life has been consistently delivering insurance services with a quality that has persisted throughout its whopping 110 years of operation. It adheres to a ‘serving those who serve’ ethos and has never once faltered in delivering brilliant insurance expertise to the people of South Africa. This is all made possible through its inspirational CEO Bridget Mokwena-Halala, who has redefined what it means to be a businesswoman of the 21st century. s an experienced CEO with an extensive history of service within the insurance industry, as well as being the first woman CEO of a life company in SA, Bridget MokwenaHalala has been able to cultivate a wide range of skills that have advanced her well in each of her endeavours. Whether it’s strategic planning, small business and youth empowerment, stakeholder management or community development programs, Bridget brings all the essential qualities to the table when it comes to her expert leadership of Assupol Life. She recognises what makes an insurance company truly meaningful and deploys this understanding to create a successful business structure. This, in turn, results in Assupol Life being able to introduce the people of South Africa to insurance advice and services that are consistently raising the bar in terms of client expectation. By having its clients at the forefront of its practises, Assupol Life thrives to pursue the art of making insurance accessible and effective for every individual from any walk of life. Assupol Life aims to reward the trust that its clients invest in it and is therefore able to fulfil all of its promises regardless of the situation. Bridget tells us, “Of course, in order for us at Assupol Life to understand the unique requirements of our clients, we’ve identified the need to work within the community we cater for. As a result, we focus on local and national initiatives that impact education, sports, and health, through our Assupol Cares Projects. Our leading status within the insurance industry encapsulates a necessity to engage with the people we seek to serve, and this has cultivated a long history of communication that’s thoroughly admired throughout the industry.” Furthermore, Assupol Life believes that its purpose to serve directly contributes towards making a meaningful difference, not only in the lives of its clients, but also in the lives of South Africa’s children, aspiring women, and communities at large. It works hard to assist communities in the surrounding areas, through its trustworthy and efficient insurance services, and has been widely recognised as a caring and responsible corporate citizen that prioritises support in each imaginable avenue. This support further extends to its employees in the form of its Assupol Cares Employee Initiative. Though it’s deeply ingrained in the communities it serves, it’s constantly seeking out more causes to support, and encourages togetherness through involving its staff in the process. The Assupol Cares Employee Initiative is funded by A employees to provide a range of assistance to charitable causes that are directly nominated by employees, which, in turn, promotes community between clients and personnel alike. What really sets Assupol Life apart from other insurance companies throughout South Africa, however, is its prowess in putting its clients first. With over a century of practise, and Bridget’s 23 years of experience within the industry, Assupol Life has mastered the art of understanding the needs of emerging markets and how best to cater for them. It strives to provide the best of the best in terms of its products, and ensures its solutions are innovative and relevant, whilst being simple and affordable. It is this adept understanding of the field that makes Assupol Life so special, and it’s clear to see through its pioneering of industry ‘firsts’ throughout the years as one of the South Africa’s leading insurance companies. Through its nationwide accessibility and professional sales teams, it’s succeeded in presenting clients with a 48-hour claim turnaround, cashback benefits on funeral policies, cash benefit payments via multiple channels When exploring Assupol Life’s services, we learn of its overwhelming dedication towards frequently updating its operations to present clients with up-to-date means of attaining insurance information. It recognises the evolving state of modern-day technology and has consistently adapted itself alongside emerging trends in order to stay ahead of the game. This forward-thinking is a product of Bridget’s mastery of her CEO role, and it is what has allowed Assupol Life to remain at the forefront of the insurance industry in ways that other competitors within South Africa simply cannot match. Bridget tells us, “Assupol Life puts clients and communities we serve first. It wholeheartedly concerns itself with the wellbeing of its clients, and it has been able to prove time and again that it is beyond capable of offering a client experience unlike any other. Individuals aren’t just numbers to Assupol Life – I personally ensure that my team views clients as people with unique needs and requirements and are assisted according to what they’re seeking. And with over 100 years of experience to back us, Assupol Life serves to encapsulate what it means to be a master of one’s craft.” We’re excited to present Bridget with this award, and we’re very keen to see where Assupol Life goes from here.

Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 9 Contact: Bridget Mokwena-Halala Company: Assupol Life Web Address:

10 Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 May23292 Corporate Reporting Specialist of the Year 2023 (London): Chloe Marlow Gravis Capital Management Ltd is a UK based fund management and investment advisory firm. It has a specific focus on investments in long-term projects that offer a human dimension, investing in assets that will be needed for many years to come, such as renewable energy generation and social and economic infrastructure. It is a fierce promoter of responsible investment and driving positive change. stablished in 2008, the fund management and investment advisory service Gravis Capital Management Ltd (Gravis) is a business that promotes responsible investing, allowing it the opportunity to drive positive change. Its Director of Investor Reporting is Chloe Marlow, an award-winning finance professional with a broad range of experience within the sector. She joined Gravis in 2013, when it was something of a boutique investment house, with just ten staff members, six of whom were the company founders. Since then, the company has grown to over 50 staff and an AUM of over £3bn today. Gravis began as an entrepreneurial organisation, which set out to create investment products that were radically different, steady and long term. The company’s success and significant growth in a short space of time resulted in substantial structural change, and in 2020, the business was sold to the ORIX Corporation, moving from a founder-led business to one that was management-led. Chloe feels fortunate to have been part of this success story, as it is through this growth that Gravis has been able to make a tangible impact through responsible investing, with assets that generate green energy and social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals. At the company level, it has incorporated many environmental, social and governance (‘ESG’) initiatives including hosting internships to provide opportunities to those who normally wouldn’t have access to the industry at grassroots level. As the Director of Investor Reporting, Chloe has a role that comprises corporate reporting for the FTSE 250/350 listed companies, and the ESG reporting for the business. She is also an integral member of the Responsible Investment committee. Under Chloe’s stewardship, Gravis publishes two annual and interim reports a year for its investment funds, with the aim of ensuring every report produced is to best-in-class standards. Chloe feels that in recent years the quality of reports being published across the industry has improved significantly, with people taking more pride over reporting while finding new and interesting ways to present company data. Gravis also publishes an annual Responsible Investment report, detailing how its business activities impact positively on the environment and on society. This can be found on the company website and details its responsible investing activities and the bigger picture regarding sustainability and its work with charities and the community. The business world is changing for the better in many ways. For example, when Chloe first entered the investment management E industry there were very few women on company boards. Thankfully, this has changed significantly over the past few years with 40% of directors on FTSE 100 boards and 39% on FTSE 250 boards now female. Chloe is of the opinion that such an increase in diversity should be celebrated but it is a shame that it has taken so long to affect this change. The boards of the Gravis funds are between 40 and 50% gender diverse. Although Chloe agrees that there is still some way left to go in terms of achieving true gender equality within the investment industry, it is tremendously positive to be able to acknowledge that times are finally changing. There are also some great initiatives in place now, such as the Future Female Fund Managers Programme, facilitating welcome change. Change is happening but progress is not optimum yet, with still only 11% of fund managers in the industry being women in 2023. The investment industry can be frustratingly slow to move at times, something particularly noticeable at industry events where the attendance, reflecting the current demographics, is predominantly male. Chloe feels that more needs to be done both at the grassroots level to help young women access the same opportunities as young men within existing investment organisations, and to make the sector more appealing to women in general. Gravis is a member of the 100 women in Finance initiative, it participates in the 10,000 black interns’ scheme and runs various initiatives for women across the organisation. As the recently announced winner of Corporate Reporting Specialist of the Year 2023 (London): Chloe Marlow, it is interesting to be able to find out a little more about this worthy winner’s background. It turns out, it is not one of educational privilege, rather Chloe attended a “We all have a responsibility to promote a culture of acceptance and inclusion. Diversity is something that should be celebrated and not used as a way to divide us. Without diversity life would be very dull.”

Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 11 state school until she left at the age of 16. She then supported herself through various administration roles and worked as a professional DJ! It was at the age of 23, whilst working for Lloyds Banking group, she was offered the opportunity to enrol for the CIMA accountancy qualification. She is grateful for this chance, as it paved the way for her to obtain the skills she needed to progress further and eventually reach the position she’s in today. The route, whilst extremely tough, working full time and studying, provided the long-term security of having a skill set that is always much in demand. Chloe’s advice to anyone starting out in the industry would be to find an investment company to work for that has robust sustainability credentials. These are the companies that look after their staff and are a driving force for good. One of the essential attributes she believes is needed to make it in the investment industry is a tenacious mindset. It can be a tough environment, competition can be intense and change is constant, however, people do respect hard work, resilience, and above all expertise. Chloe was recently promoted to Director and the scope of her role has thus expanded to incorporate the full scope of investor reporting, and she will also be working with different areas of the business to improve its external communications. Gravis has also just taken on an investment writer who will be working with Chloe from July 2023. Outside of work, Chloe also has an interesting and amazing life. She is currently, alongside her fiancé, in the process of opening a record shop with an associated café and alcohol-free bar. The plan is for the shop to also host events, and a provide a community space to hold meetings for addiction recovery groups. Amazing! Fabulous stuff Chloe, and well done on your new award title from the Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023. Contact Details Company: Gravis Web Address: Contact Name: Chloe Marlow

12 Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 May23041 Best Emerging Vineyard Marketing Businesswoman 2023 (UK): Charlotte Self Established in 2016, Whitehall Vineyard lies on the rich, fertile soils of the Avon Valley, which serve as the perfect terrain for the growth of Rondo, Bacchus, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. These grapes are the basis of all its wines, which are sold today on its website, at its famed farm shops, and in restaurants across the country. Since the Vineyard’s earliest days, Charlotte Self has worked to build the company’s brand from the ground up. Here, we speak to her about her success in the role. n 1894, the Self family took up residence at Whitehall Farm in the historic county of Wiltshire. Since then, the family has been growing and farming on its land for five generations, nestled within the British countryside. In 1970, Mrs. Phyllis Self established what is now known as Whitehall Garden Centres, inspired by her passion for the outdoors and a deep desire to help her community. Now a 4th generation enterprise, the business has grown exponentially over the years and is now known as the South West’s top destination Garden Centres. After many years of operation, the Self family were inspired to create more produce to sell in their esteemed Garden Centres. To do this, they took on the new challenge of adding home-grown wine to their offerings. In 2016, the family planted 9,000 vines across 11 acres of land, with the assistance of a small team of planters. In 2020, Whitehall Vineyard released its first six still wines, which included two reds, three whites, and a rosé. The following year, a second vineyard was planted, adding up to a total of 20 acres of vines. Today, Whitehall Vineyard sells its wines through its own farm shops and to other local restaurants and stores in the area. The company also works with two large distributors, who sell its wines to restaurants, pubs, and hotels across the country. Since its foundation in 2016, Charlotte Self has been responsible for marketing and branding at Whitehall Vineyard. She took on the task when she was just 19 years old, having gained some marketing experience in a number of previous roles. Charlotte’s primary task was to develop the initial brand and identity of the business, reaching out to various design companies about the creation of its logo and bottle label. She ultimately chose to work with a company called Stranger & Stranger, taking inspiration from the brickwork and wisteria of the Self family house to create the brand’s iconic packaging and graphics. Next, Charlotte set out to create a website through which Whitehall Vineyard could sell its products. She worked with a company called Blubolt to create the site on a Shopify platform, playing a significant role in the design and direction of the company’s branding and I ecommerce operations. In terms of digital marketing, she has also been responsible for its advertising, social media management, marketing, and gifting. Today, Charlotte is the Marketing & Product Development Manager at Whitehall Vineyard and the Marketing & Ecommerce Manager at Whitehall Garden Centres. Having worked within the family business for over eight years, she has gained extensive knowledge and experience in the industry. Having dedicated a large amount of time and effort to the creation of the Whitehall Vineyard brand, label, design, and website, Charlotte is extremely proud of the fruits of her labour. “For me, the biggest achievement is the finished product when it comes to the wine and the website,” Charlotte comments. “When I see our bottles of wine on a shelf or on a wine list in a restaurant it brings a huge sense of achievement.” When Charlotte’s family first planted the vineyard in 2016, she knew nothing about wine, branding, or labels. Over the last few years, she has shown strength and resilience, working hard to learn everything she can. To do this, she has taken advice from others, carried out extensive research, and leveraged any support she could get. Charlotte has discovered that there is always something to learn in the wine industry, which means that every day is still exciting for her, even after several years at the company. Despite her resounding success in the role, the process has not always been easy for Charlotte. “One of the biggest challenges I have faced is when I was on the Wines of Great Britain Wessex Regional Committee. I was the youngest by about 20 years and the newest to the industry, plus the only woman on the committee,” she explains. “It was hard for me to have the confidence to raise ideas. After a while I did, but then the next challenge was to get people who have been in the industry for years to entertain my new ideas. Despite this, I learnt a lot when I was on the committee and am very grateful for the experience.” Working in the male-dominated wine industry, Charlotte is passionate about the importance of making the sector more accessible to other women. “There are a handful of extremely

Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 13 talented and successful women who are making the industry easier for other women to enter into,” she says. “With the help of these award-winning women wine makers and marketeers, I believe the industry is becoming more approachable. More and more women are planting their own vineyards and looking to enter into the wine making and marketing space.” During her time at Whitehall Vineyard, Charlotte Self has successfully established the company’s brand, identity, online presence, and product. As a result of this outstanding work, she has been awarded Best Emerging Vineyard Marketing Businesswoman in the Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023. Whitehall Vineyard has recently released its new English Sparkling Rosé, which was bottled in 2019. In the coming year, it is hoping to release a Blanc de Blanc and a Classic Cuvée, with new labels that were designed two years ago but are yet to be showcased. In the long term, the company would like to build a visitor centre for tours and tastings so that customers can learn more about the brand, its history, and its products. Charlotte and her family are looking forward to these exciting potential developments. Charlotte is proud to be a successful businesswoman and is extremely passionate about what she does. She is highly ambitious, driven, and motivated by the end product. Someday, she would love to make wine independently, so she is currently looking to study for a Wine & Spirit Education Trust qualification in order to become a master of wine. Additionally, Charlotte is keen to gain new experiences and broaden her knowledge in the marketing and creative industries, where many of her passions lie. To do this, she is looking into taking online courses in design and illustration and is open to taking any related part time positions to boost her knowledge on these subjects. Company: Whitehall Vineyard Web Address:

14 Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 Apr23386 Female Start Up Director of the Year 2023 (North West England): Sian Dunn Lead generation is crucial to every business, but no two sectors are the same. The team from Excel TM Group focus on the needs of the construction sector, building relationships that have supported many businesses. In the Influential Businesswomen Awards 2023 from Acquisition International, Director Sian Dunn has been recognised for her efforts. We dig a little deeper to see just what has brought her to these incredible heights of success. No company can survive without clients, but finding people who are interested in your services can be immensely challenging. No one knows this better than the team at the Excel TM Group, who provide lead generation services for businesses throughout the construction sector. By focusing in on the specific needs of one industry, the team have been able to transform leads into clients better than their competitors. At the heart of the firm is a selection of experienced telemarketers who know the construction sector inside and out, and can effectively communicate the value of their clients’ products and services with ease. The various campaigns that the team mounts are designed to identify potential clients, generate leads and schedule appointments for sales representatives so that they can continue the process. With a steady flow of qualified leads and appointments, clients who turn to Excel TM Group have more chance of increasing their sales and revenue. So how does Sian Dunn, award-winning director at Excel TM Group, fit into this story? She officially joined the company in January this year as co-director alongside her husband Mike, but has been helping run the business since the start of 2020. For her, customer service comes naturally, and she has developed strong communication skills, resilience, problem solving abilities, a customer centric mindset and a strong work ethic. In a business such as Excel TM Group, these skills are invaluable. Of course, entering into the traditionally male-dominated construction industry has brought its own challenges which Sian has managed to overcome in her own inimitable way. She has seen much change over the last few years to promote greater gender diversity and inclusion in the construction industry including increased representation, greater recognition and support and changing attitudes and perceptions of how women are actually treated in the workplace. All of this can only be good, and has only created an environment where Sian can thrive and empower many businesses to thrive as well. Although the construction industry has its own unique challenges, the universal difficulties of being a mother and wife, as well as a businesswoman, still remain. “It’s really difficult for women in business to get back to work after having a baby,” Sian tells us. “The rising costs of childcare and dealing with a new child’s immune system – or lack of – can make it near impossible for us to get back to work. I have only just really found the balance, but my little girl is now six. Both mine and Mike’s parents still work so we didn’t have a great deal of support in the sense of childcare. It always seemed to fall on me as the woman to take the time off as Mike was the “bread winner.” I really sympathise with any woman wanting to be a mother, but also have a successful career. We shouldn’t have to choose between them.” Fortunately, Sian has managed to overcome the challenges of the work/life balance, building a strong support network of like-minded people and setting strict boundaries that allow her to support herself. “This has included finding mentors and advocates through social media and personally that can offer guidance, support and also advice,” she says. “I try to make sure that I spend enough quality time with my daughter in the evenings and at weekends.” This experience of becoming a successful businesswoman has guided many of Sian’s decisions in the workplace too, with support being a key part of what sets Excel TM Group apart. “We have committed to supporting all of our staff through the distress of a miscarriage by signing The Pregnancy Loss Pledge, something I feel is very important in the work place having been through this myself whilst being in a corporate environment,” Sian explains. “I also hope to start a graduate programme for disadvantaged women or those looking to get back into work after having children.” This scheme would support those who may be at a disadvantage or come from tough backgrounds that have not had the same opportunities. Working alongside local authorities and education providers, Sian’s proposed scheme would allow candidates to receive the relevant skills and qualifications to help guide them into more corporate roles. This programme would also help mothers back into work, and help them to build a network of like-minded women who can offer support in the same way that Sian has found help from others. Looking forward for Excel TM Group, Sian and the team have just set up Excel PA Services, a platform for providing outsourced call answering for any business in the construction industry or built environment. Now, the team can offer a full cycle service to clients, not only making outbound calls to generate leads through Excel TM Group but managing those leads by taking inbound calls as well. The next year will see this idea develop, with clients using an app to build their own campaigns, as well as access call states and leads. “This will give the client full control and eradicate the need for monthly reports, as clients will be able to generate their own reports directly from the

Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 15 app,” Sian explains. “This is in the very early stages, but something we are very excited about!” Achieving success in the Influential Businesswomen of the Year Awards is something Sian was not expecting. “Never in a million years did I think I would win Female Start Up Director of The Year,” she told us. “It really is an honour and something I am really proud of.” Even with this brief overview of what Sian has managed to achieve in her time at Excel TM Group, it’s clear that her award is well-deserved. We cannot wait to see what she does next! Company: Excel TM Group Name: Sian Dunn Email: Web Address:

16 Acquisition International - Influential Businesswoman Awards 2023 May23497 Most Innovative Plastics Alternative Development CEO 2023 (USA): Sharina Perry It’s no secret that petroleum-based plastics have been creating a harmful impact on the world around us for an untold amount number of years. Changes need to be made before it spirals out of control, and Utopia Plastix has taken charge of the pursuit towards maximising the use of plant-based plastic alternatives. At the helm of this selfless company is none other than Sharina Perry – an incredible woman with an eye for how the world should be treated. Since its creation, plastic has directly contributed towards the decline of our planet’s healthy atmosphere. However, as the years have progressed, the reliance on plastic has gotten greater and greater, despite the environment’s deterioration. In 2021, it was estimated that, of 40 million tonnes of plastic wastage, 85% of it ended up in landfill sites. Partner this with the fact that the US was placed within the top ten list of countries with the highest amount of plastic pollution in 2022, and you’re left with a desperate need for a drastic change to be made. Enter Utopia Plastix, founded by Sharina Perry. Following her studies of plant materials in 2018, during which she was investigating the usage of tumour-shrinking plants in response to her nephew’s NF2 diagnosis, she pursued further knowledge on the power contained within a multitude of plants. After studying over 600 white papers, Sharina happened across a staggering realisation – some of the crops that she’d been focused on utilising for health and wellbeing purposes could act as an alternative to petroleum, cotton, and wood. This ultimately led to one faithful day, when Sharina created a plantbased straw from the comfort of her kitchen. It became increasingly clear to her that plant-based plastics could be the solution to the growing issue of petroleum-based plastic wastage, and could even possibly revert the damage that said plastics have caused to the planet. As a result, Sharina sought out to hire experts, and worked with industry leaders in polymers science, engineering, and manufacturing, which all culminated in the now world-renowned Utopia Plastix. As the name suggests, Utopia Plastix is wholly concerned with crafting a better future by creating plant-based alternatives to harmful materials, and is already recognised as a sustainable solution to the world’s growing plastic problem. Utopia Plastix works closely alongside a multitude of production companies and manufacturers who share its vision, and utilises its recyclable, reusable, degradable, and compostable materials to help companies across the globe address carbon reduction, air pollution, waste management, social impacts, and energy savings. Through Utopia Plastix, Sharina has made her mission incredibly clear – to demonstrate holistic sustainability through her Utopia Model. It may seem too good to be true, but Sharina’s brilliance brings forward true hope for the future of our planet’s wellbeing. By introducing plantbased plastics in the place of its harmful counterpart, manufacturers can work towards delivering products that aren’t going to remain in landfill sites for hundreds of years to come. This, partnered with the unique qualities of Utopia Plastix, makes it a no-brainer for each and every production company. When we spoke with Sharina about the details of Utopia Plastix’s impact on the manufacturing process, she had this to say: “Manufacturers report ease of use, lower temperatures during production, enhanced strength properties and lighter density. There are also significant moisture barriers and insulation properties with products made with Utopia Plastix. Manufacturers also do not experience harmful chemical smells during production…”. Manufacturers don’t have to sacrifice utility for environmental consciousness, and Utopia Plastix effortlessly demonstrates this. Of course, implementing such a revolutionary alternative to the most mass-produced material isn’t something that occurs overnight, especially within a predominantly male industry. When starting her entrepreneurial career, Sharina expresses how she was “… the only African American woman in the country serving as a government contractor and national corporate partner…”, and that she was seen as “the antithesis of what the industry looked like”. However, instead of being demoralised, Sharina was empowered by this notion. She was being seen, regardless of people’s opinions of her, and that was enough for her to really start making her company’s presence known. In addition to its overwhelming sense of innovation, Utopia Plastix has set itself apart through its intrinsic attention to detail, accompanied with its dedication towards integrity. The commitment it has towards its overall quality of work is undeniable, and it’s this impressive devotion to the introduction of plant-based plastics that has made it simply impossible to ignore. Sharina really has made a name for herself within the industry, and it’s all thanks to her steadfast resolve and genius approach towards sustainability. When we discussed with Sharina what she believed to be her most crucial accomplishment, she stated that, “My biggest achievement is the work I have done with Utopia Plastix and the Utopia Model.