The 50 Most Influential Women In Manchester Right Now

They're making a difference

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50. Carol Kane

Fast fashion name Boohoo was valued at £2 billion earlier this year - and Carol is still at the helm of the brand after her co-founder Mahmud Kamani left earlier this year.

49. Megan Ellaby

The style blogger is a twenty-something fashion communication and promotion graduate who is undeniably proud of her Mancunian roots - with wit, style and a shedload of Instagram followers.

48. Sara Cox

That Bolton twang’s never off the radio as she’s become the voice of the ‘80s thanks to her BBC Radio 2 programme. Just ideal when you need a bit of ‘Relax’ by Frankie.

47. Esther Jackson-Burton

Coming round to my hair* *from a good angle and if I pose hard enough

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The woman whose key interests are fashion and feminism has a podcast for everyone - Vulva La Revolution gives a voice to the issues you live with, or even issues you didn't know others were living with. A star rising.

46. Anastasia Kenyon

The Manchester-based entrepreneur launched Palette online at just 24 and went stratospheric. It’s an app which enables anyone to find, connect with and book a make-up artist or makeover - a ‘LinkedIn’ for makeup-artists. AS if that wasn't enough, Anastasia has recently merged Palette, and is now the CEO of new tech platform, Lifestyler.

45. Dianne Bourne

Posing with myself again #narcissist at the fabulous @tampopoeats 20th anniversary banquet @mfdf2017

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She's been the face of showbiz at the Manchester Evening News since we were in  short trousers and she's still at the top of her game. Likely seen at the latest opening with her celeb buddies all around.

44. Angela Rayner

The Ashton-under-Lyne Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Education has been a vocal member of Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet, with a bright future in Labour circles assured.

43. Karina Jadhav

Owner and MD of Menagerie Restaurant, this Karina is a living embodiment of success in Manchester's fiercely-contested hospitality business. And better than the rest - she's doing it in heels.

42. Diane Modahl

The Commonwealth 800m gold medallist set up a foundation to work with kids from disadvantaged neighbourhoods following her success in the early ‘90s. That’s what we call giving something back.

41. Beth Knowles

The city centre Labour councillor has worked closely with GM Mayor Andy Burnham to help to bring an end to rough sleeping by 2020.

40. Heather Knight

Women’s cricket had us all gripped when they nabbed the 2017 World Cup last month, and Rochdale’s was the captain of the victorious side - and rol model for many young women to come.

39. Katie Franko

I'd been tagged by a couple of people to do this 15 facts about me thinggay 🙋🏽 so hiya here we go: 1️⃣ I'm from (the amazing) Bristol but live in Manc, and have done since uni 🇬🇧 2️⃣ I have a BA (Hons) in English Lit from the University of Manchester 👩🏽‍🎓 3️⃣ I started a new job today 😱 4️⃣ I really really love running ❤️. Cardio gets a lot of shit, especially on Instagram, but there is nothing I'd rather do when I've had a long day at work or wake up feeling fresh on Saturday than run. It's my mental headspace and I love it! 5️⃣ I've never driven on the motorway. The thought absolutely terrifies me but I know I need to get over it.. it's one of my goals for the summer! 🚗 6️⃣ I always listen to my voice messages back to myself on whatsapp. You know. Just to check that the punchlines have been delivered correctly 😏 7️⃣ I write to-do lists every night before I go to bed 💯📝 8️⃣ My faveeeee foods are Nepalese / Thai / Italian 😛🍴 9️⃣ I auditioned to be in Skins (LOOOOL) 🔟 I adoreeee red wine & gin 🍷🍷🍷 1️⃣1️⃣ I'm the eldest of four kids and can be quite bossy 🙋🏽 but I'm lucky enough to be really close to all my siblings 👭👫 1️⃣2️⃣ I literally love it when whatsapp groups with my fave friends 👯👯turn into real life meet ups. Life can sometimes separate us from the people we're closest to and I'm grateful for being able to chat with all my faves in an instant! 1️⃣3️⃣ I hate coriander. It's the devil's work 👹 1️⃣4️⃣ Whenever I'm at the airport I douse myself in Chloe perfume... it's a ritual ✈️ 1️⃣5️⃣ I love love loveeeee it when the sun is so hot and there's no breeze ☀️🌴 Tagging some more gal pals 💃🏽 gooo...

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An enthusiastic and smart blogger who works her love of fitness and food into the gaps in  life where work isn't happening - teaching us all how its done.

38. Steph Houghton

What Heather did for cricket, England football captain Steph’s being doing for women’s footie as captain of Manchester City women’s team and the England national team. Born in Durham, but made in Manchester.

37. Beth Tweddle

5 years to the day that I achieved my Olympic dream and today I am in the Olympic Park #IAAF

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Britain’s greatest ever-female gymnast, the Cheshire resident's achievements including being an Olympic Bronze Medalist, a triple World Champion, a six-time European Champion, a Commonwealth Champion and seven-times consecutive National Champion. And she's not even 35 yet. Sigh.

36. Dame Sarah Storey

The racing cyclist, former swimmer and Paralympian from Manchester bagged a total of fourteen gold medals, makingher the most successful female British Paralympian of all time. As if that wasn’t enough, she is a 29-time World champion (6 in swimming and 23 in cycling), a 21-time European champion (18 in swimming and 3 in cycling) and holds 75 world records.

35. Dame Nancy Rothwell

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The internationally-reknowned biologist and physiologist was made Manchester University's first female vice-chancellor in 2010. She's also a director of pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca, co-chair of the Council for Science and Technology and past President of the Royal Society of Biology. Exhausting.

34. Karolina Koscien and Clare Courtney

This international duo - Karolina from Poland and Clare from Hong Kong - met in Levenshulme to form Heart and Parcel, making dumplings with migrant women here to help them learn communication skills and English while they make friends in their new home.

33. Rebecca Adlington

She's Britain's joint most decorated female Olympian,an OBE and a swimming superstar. The young mum has settled in Stockport in retirement, but that doesn't mean she's having a quiet life.

32. Megan Marie Griffith

The theatre director and marketing and comms wizard heads up Girl Gang Manchester - a creative community promoting creativity, collaboration, confidence and positivity among young women in the region.

31. Lady Sybil


Gin-fuelled blogger, marketer and writer, Charlie's a leading light in body positivity movement Free To Be OK - and will give you fitness motivation a-go-go with her training tweets.

30. Rosy Elizabeth

The founder of Every Month Manchester is combatting period poverty by creating Period Packs - filled with of sanitary products and chocolate -  and distributing them packs to the women who need them.

29. Dawn Ward

Love 'em or loathe 'em, the Real Housewives of Cheshire know how to get publicity. Dawn has leaped beyond the bounds of the reality soap to run her own interior design business and beauty clinic.

28. Georgina Perry

The CEO of National Ugly Mugs, Georgina’s organisation helps to protect sex workers from violence by sending email and text alerts about dangerous offenders who may attack others.

27. Georgia May Foote

Yes yes yes to jumper season. Love hiding under big clothes... 👊💜

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From Grange Hill to Corrie, the young woman who cut her acting chops in hr native Bury is well-known to TV viewers - and that's before we even start on her Strictly 2015 turn...

26. Dr Erinma Bell MBE

The peace activist set up charity Carisma in Moss Side and Longsight in 2002 after she and her husband witnessed a shooting - and has worked at grassroots level to help us shed the moniker ‘Gunchester’.

25. Kiera Lawlor

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The newly-appointed Director of Happiness at Social Chain is proof that workplaces are making sure they take care of their staff. Each day Kiera organises a different initiative - whether it's lunchtime yoga, weekly 'lunch and learns', therapy couch, calm charity, cop-a-feel (breast cancer awareness) or expert talks. We're hoping it catches on.

24. Corin Bell

Heading up the Real Junk Food Project Manchester, Corin’s showing us how pay-as-you-feel eateries can help pull a community together - and offer food to those who can struggle to afford it.

23. Sarah Thain

Ready for some serious Sunday dinner after walking up to Kinder Scout with Mat. These views though 👌

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We're in love with Sequin This, Sarah's Instagram journey through lifestyle blogging, food devouring, snowboarding and skiing and much more. She's a woman who loves to live life.

22. Anna Foster

The BBC 5 Live Drivetime co-host travels from Manchester to Syria, Iraq and Barcelona following the terror attacks - but still comes back to Media City to broadcast to millions.

21. Joanne Roney

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Manchester City Council's CEO, Joanne started in local government at 16 and has worked her way to the top. Just the woman to create change that matters at the top.

20. Viv Slack

Co-founder of Street Support in Manchester (along with Gary Dunstan), an innovative charity which posts what homeless people need like and clothes, bedding and services - and asks the public if they can help.

19. Marnie Millard

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She might not be your household name, but you bet your behind Vimto is - and she's on the the CEO of its manufacturer Nichols PLC. Come to think of it, could go a glass of Manchester's finest right now...

18. Risha Lancaster

Coffee 4 Craig is a homeless charity which has a massive impact on the lives of those it feeds, clothes and helps to find shelter for - and co-founder Risha devotes her time to helping make other people’s lives better whatever way she can.

17. Sophia Rosemary

Proud of her roots, this Northerner has a big love of fashion and a teeny weeny habit for shopping... A major 111k followers on Insta say she's the real deal, too.

16. Carol Ann Duffy

The first woman, the first Scot, and the first openly LGBT person to hold the position of poet laureate in the UK, Queen Elizabeth II’s pick is also a professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.

15. Laura Kenny

Formerly Trott, this one-woman cycle colossus was the nation's sweetheart when she was bagging Olympic medals - and now she's settled in nearby Cheshire we're taking her as some local inspiration.

14. Julie Hesmondhalgh

The recent appearance of this amazing TV and theatre actor in the third series of Broadchurch as rape victim Trish showed that she’s come a long way from Corrie’s Hayley - and we’re looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

13. Gemma Atkinson

Hollyoaks and radio hosting aside, Gem's our pick of the bunch in this year's Strictly. Smart, sassy and incredibly stylish, we <3 her the most.

12. Maxine Peake

At Victoria Wood’s side, Maxine was a Twinkle - but since then, she’s been Shameless, Hamlet and a prominent activist, recently speaking at the Peterloo Memorial march and the anti-Tory protest.

11. Mary Ellen McTague

The award-winning Manchester chef has run two successful restaurants in the city -  Aumbry and 4244 - and is now wowing diners at the Gallery Cafe. Where next for the queen of cuisine?

10. Suranne Jones

Any actor who can go from the cobbles of Corrie to the side of Doctor Who  and then take on the jaw-dropping Dr Foster - still wowing in its second series - is a special one indeed. And Chadderton born and bred.

9. Melanie Sykes

We've loved her since Boddington's, and she's still hilariously smart and wickedly funny. Her summer Radio Two shows teaming up with Alan Carr are a must-listen.

8. Michelle Keegan

Royalty in the celeb world, Michelle's a long way from the cobbles of Corrie - winning new respect in Our Girl and new fans on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.

7. Angela Spindler

 One of the Uk's top businesswomen, Angela's the CEO of N Brown Group. Who? Well, their brands include Jacamo, Simply Be and JD Williams, so you should probably know her name.

6. Sarah Frankcom

The Royal Exchange Theatre is one of the most innovative creative spaces in the country - and Sarah's a big part of the reason. She's been artistic director since 2008, and she's committed to putting Manchester on the creative map.

5. Julie Lavington and Ali Hall

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Known as the co-founders of fashion magazine Look, this pair's got bigger things going on right now. They're behind Sosandar, the fashion brand based in Wilmslow and aimed at 35- to 55-year-old women. 

4. Kiri Pritchard McLean and Rachel Fairburn

One's Welsh and one's Manc, but the comedians both live in Harpurhey - where they put together their chilling, creepy and bloody hilarious serial killer podcast All Killa No Filla.

3. Peaness

BUCKFAST! Scotland, you lot are so lovely! Thank you for coming to watch us play. Tonight was Edinburgh and it was great!

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The indie trio have been on the radar of music fans for a while, but if you only think of them as an amusing homonym for male genetalia, you haven't been listening. Jess (bass), Balla (guitar) and Rach (drums) are the muso's one true love, and happily, are working on a brand new record as we type.

2. Layfullstop

Serving up slick slices of urban soul to make even the most jaded music fan take notice, Layfullstop is the modern sound of Manchester, with singing and babble layered over influences from soul, jazz and hip-hop.

1. Qaisra Shahraz

The British-Pakistani novelist and scriptwriter has won awards for her work and was recognised as one of the most influential Pakistani women in the ‘Pakistan Power 100 List’. As a public speaker and humanitarian, she has become globally known, but her ein her adopted home city, she is a trustee of Manchester Multi Faith Centre, Co-Chair of Faith Network 4 Manchester and Executive Member of Muslim Jewish Forum and We Stand Together. She devotes a lot of her time to interfaith activities to promote messages of tolerance, peace and community cohesion - which is exactly what Manchester needs so much. 

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Written By

Kirstie McCrum

Chatty horror movie buff with a love for languages and puppies. Manchester blow-in who loves the city completely.

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