Zaha Hadid wins the Veuve Cliquot Business Woman Award 2013

Celebrating inspiring women

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Spending time in a room full of exceptional women is nothing new to team ELLE, we do it every day, so we felt right at home at the Veuve Cliquot Business Woman Award at London’s Claridges last night.

Now in its 41st year, it’s the ‘first international award created specifically to recognise the contribution that women have made to business life’.

This year's winner, architect Zaha Hadid, was celebrated for her 'entrepreneurship and financial success, commitment to corporate social responsibility and her role in encouraging other women into the industry.'

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Previous winners include accessories designer Anya Hindmarch, Gail Rebuck, Chair & Chief Executive Officer for The Random House Group, Linda Bennett,? Founder & Managing Director of LK Bennett and the late Dame Anita Roddick, DBE? Founder and Managing Director of The Body Shop.

The other shortlisted finalists this year were Nails Inc founder Thea Green and Drax chief executive Dorothy Thompson.

The evening got us thinking about the working women who inspire team ELLE -

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Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre as chosen by Collette Lyons, Acting Content Director

Liverpool-born Jude Kelly took over as artistic director of the South Bank in 2005, after stints running the show at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Battersea Arts Centre.

Ignoring the in-fighting and sniping that focused on her background and gender, she was instantly propelled to the arts A-list - and what did one of the industry's most powerful women do when she got there? She started the annual, sell-out Women of the World Festival.

She says of supporting and mentoring younger women in the arts, 'I like being able to make younger women feel they've got an ally – women should support other women.’ What's not to love?

Stella Creasy, MP as chosen by Natasha Pearlman, Deputy Editor

Stella is a role model for any young woman. Just 35, she has a PHD in social psychology and is the MP for Walthamstow.

She’s constantly fighting against sexism and for the advancement of women - something we've perhaps become too complacent about - and isn't afraid to be a feminist. Stella is someone who inspires me to speak up for what I believe in.

J K Rowling, author as chosen by Annabel Brog, Editor at Large

Divisive as her writing can be, I love the fact that J K Rowling has brought so much pleasure to so many people of every age, myself included.

I admire her ability to structure a story and have so much respect for the profile she has maintained.

The New Womanhood - you can be a feminist and feminine

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