On 19th April 2024 we honoured 9 amazing, inspirational and impressive women and teenage girls.

Our third Shining Stars Ball was the best yet. Over 300 people in their sparkle and sass at the Manchester Hilton, hosted by the dynamic duo Darren Proctor and Michelle Eagleton, awesome entertainment provided by the Tycoon Allstars hip hop dancers (age 8-12), a Madonna flashmob (age of dancers undisclosed!) and the legendary Girls That Mix rocking the dancefloor till the early hours.

But here are the stories that really matter – our winners…

The Little Sister Out Loud Award – sponsored by Apprentify


Here are Alicia and Layla talking about their win on the night

This award is given to a Little Sister who has found her voice, her visibility and her confidence and is shining her light to inspire other girls and, on her way, to becoming an awesome role model.

Alicia is now 16, she joined the Big Sister programme at her school Coop Academy Walkden when she was 13.

She presented as a clever and confident young girl and at first her Big Sister Joanne was a little worried that she was on the wrong programme and she and had no need for a Big Sister. 

But Alcia was performing as many young girls do, she was saying the right thing, at the right time, she did not want to disappoint anyone or let anyone know she was struggling for fear of being seen as week or vulnerable or not enough. 

But once she trusted her Big Sister, Joanne and understood she would not be judged for her honesty and that Joanne was there to listen and guide her, Alica took the brave step to pull down her walls and share and this made all the difference.

Today Alicia is a different girl – She is proud of her emotions and has learnt how to moderate them, this has improved her relationships, particularly with her Mum, her sisters and friends.

She is less of an overthinker, celebrating the little things everyday and recognising that her feelings should be validated and it is OK not to feel OK some days She is also incredibly self-aware for a 16 year old. 

She says her Big Sister impacted her in many ways, the techniques she taught her, the consistency of her support, and her unwavering belief in her. 

Alicia says ‘ She put herself out there to help someone and I am just pleased it was me’.

Today Alicia is on track to win a place at Oxbridge – she studies hard as it is her dream to become a Neurosurgeon and all of us at Girls Out Loud have no doubt she will make this happen.

Our Second winner is Layla. 

Layla is only 13 and just graduated from the Big Sister programme at her school Great Academy Ashton.

Whilst she is younger than Alicia and presented as a shy, anxious young girls they do share some traits.

 Layla was a people pleaser, scared of rocking the boat or stepping out of line, she had a lot of fake friends and blushed when she spoke up in class which added to her anxiety.

Her Big Sister was also quite introverted too, but measured and caring and both of them went on a parallel journey of self-discovery and possibility. Today Layla is more confident, has got rid of her fake friends, speaks up and opens up more and helps other girls, is better at managing her emotions and this has brought her closer to her family and although she still blushes she pushes through it as she knows she wants to pursue a career in drama either on stage or as a Drama teacher.

Top Female Role Model Award – Sponsored by Enterprise


This award is presented to a woman who is carrying the baton for female equity in her organisation, profession or sector.

She is an inspiration and a role model to young women and accepts this responsibility with grace and gumption. Our kind of woman!

Afiya is a barrister at No5 Chambers in Manchester, specialising in Employment, Personal Injury, and Clinical Negligence law. Alongside her legal practice, she is a passionate advocate for social change and co-founded a social enterprise, ‘She Leads for Legacy’, a community dedicated to empowering Black women and Allies.

Committed to giving back, Afiya actively engages in pro bono work, mentoring aspiring barristers from under-represented backgrounds, recognising the importance of both providing free legal support and fostering diversity within the legal profession.

Here is Afiya talking about her win and the importance of our work, on the night.

Corporate Brand Ambassador Award – sponsored by Purple Story


This award is given to an organisation that consistently aligns with our mission and supports our work with enthusiasm, passion and resources

The winner is a company who support our work and our mission without any hesitation, say yes whenever they can, nominate their team to join the Big Sister programmes, are always one of the first companies to step up and engage in all our campaigns and events and quite simply blow us away with their enthusiasm and commitment.

Big Sister Out Loud Award – sponsored by Seddon


This award is given to a Big Sister mentor who has had a compelling impact on her Little Sister mentee, alongside making big shifts in her own personal development journey.

The winner is a young woman who really did have a life-changing journey as a Big Sister.

Even as early on as the upfront mentor training day it was clear to see her mindset and self-worth starting to shift as she reflected on her own childhood and limiting beliefs.

When she met her Little Sister for the first time it was magical, as they were both so excited that they had so much in common, they even looked alike! 

Their journey was a joy to watch and as this Big Sister supported, listened and guided her Little Sister the lights gradually switched on for both of them as she recognised she had put herself in the same limiting box as her Little Sister. 

As she encouraged her Little Sister to open up and believe in herself she knew what she needed to do to change her own life. 

She quit her job, with no plan, no safety net, just faith and trust in the process and her newfound purpose. 

She courageously accepted the challenge to take her own advice –  to be bold and brave and step outside of her comfort zone and take a few risks….

Today this Big Sister has found her dream job and gets to live out her purpose everyday and her Little Sister is more confident, gets on better with teachers and performs better, surrounds herself with nicer people and does not worry what others say or think because she now believes in herself.

Job well done I’d say!

Here is Gemma sharing her words of wisdom on the evening.

Too Cool for School Award - Sponsored by Aviva


This award is given to a school where the team work with passion and dedication to not only deliver a traditional educational path but also go above and beyond to nurture and inspire the young people in their care.

The winner is a small school in Bolton who is the first school to sign up for a 3-year Big Sister and Role Model Relay contract because they saw the benefits of our work on their girls, particularly the opportunity to connect them with inspirational, real, successful and smart female role models. 

The programme is in its second year and Head Tony McCabe says ‘It is heartening to see the impact of your work has, not only on the girls that take part, but also we see a knock-on effect in the whole year.

Even though your Big Sister may not get to see the longer-term impact of their support and guidance on these girls, be sure their time together and lessons learnt will last a lifetime.’

Here are the school talking about their win and why they love Girls Out Loud

The Seed Bomb Award – sponsored by Stanmore Insurance


This award is given to an individual who spreads the message about our cause and the need to invest in the next generation far and wide, as an Ambassador and a raving fan of Girls Out Loud.

The winner is a woman who epitomises the word fan! 

She has taken Girls Out Loud to her heart and promotes us at every opportunity with her clients, her suppliers, her social media connections, even people she sits next to on the train! 

Her enthusiasm has generated some awesome attraction for our brand and she sprinkles purple fairy dust wherever she goes.

Watch Karen share her passion and enthusiasm for our cause.

The Icon Award – sponsored by BrazenPR


This award is presented to a high-profile individual who is passionate about gender equality and goes above and beyond to raise awareness of what we still need to do to ensure equity and parity. A real trailblazer and pioneer.

The winner perhaps best known to many of you as the Detective turned whistleblower who resigned from Greater Manchester Police in 2012 to expose the now infamous Rochdale Grooming Scandal.

Fighting her feelings of disbelief, fear, outrage, and anger she has fought tirelessly for 12 years to expose the truth about how the vulnerable victims of serial sexual abuse were being failed by our criminal justice system.

This also led to her working tirelessly for 4 years as “The Programme Consultant” to bring multi-award-winning BBC 1 drama ‘Three Girls’ to our screens. 

Today she heads up the Maggie Oliver Foundation who have, so far, provided much-needed emotional support and legal advocacy to over 4000 adult survivors of sexual abuse and rape.

At Girls Out Loud we know the criminal justice system is broken, we see the impact of this in our work every day so it is good to know Maggie and her team are at the national forefront of pushing for much needed changes and Maggie we salute you for this.

Listen to Maggie share her passion and purpose here.

The Rock Star Award – sponsored by Intuitive


This is a discretionary award given to a young woman who has overcome adversity and some big stuff to empower herself and inspire others. 

She is an awesome role model for females everywhere, simply put – she rocks! 

Beth was 13 when we met on our Stardom programme. 

She was struggling to survive in a complex family, fighting to find her place amongst her peers, kicking off with teachers who did not have the space or time to unpick or understand her and dealing with a violent twin brother who had undiagnosed autism and Adhd. 

But Beth was such a bright spark, with passion and a clear vocation, she wanted to be a Paediatric nurse but her behaviour and negative attitude was derailing her. 

Fast forward to age 16, Beth nailed her exams, did well with her A levels and went off to University to study nursing in the middle of COVID, this did not phase her, but the next challenge did.

 At age 18 Beth lost a baby and the father left her to deal with this alone.

She got through it but did not grieve or heal until she took a placement at the Neonatal Intensive Care unit and the grief overflowed.

But again, Beth prevailed, took a year out from University to heal and started working with the Seashell Trust caring for a couple of young boys with complex learning difficulties, disabilities and additional communication needs and she LOVED it. 

To listen to her talk about this work is a joy, she lights up and has definitely found her vocation.

She will now return to University for her 3rd year in September and then pursue a career as a Paediatric nurse working in community complex nursing doing the work most of us are in awe of the people who do it.

In Beth’s own words…

‘When I met Jane was totally lost.

I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin, I was struggling with my sexuality and had a lot of family issues which I didn’t know how to deal with.

Where other people saw a troubled teen or naughty kid, Jane saw a young girl with potential.

She made the time we spent together a safe space, a place where there was no judgment. She nurtured me, she listened when I needed an ear, she hugged me when I needed a hug and she also challenged me when I was being ridiculous.

Jane allowed me to be me.

Each session on the Stardom programme had its own lesson. At the age of 13 I had no idea what these lessons were, and if you were to ask me if I thought Girls Out Loud was going to help me I probably would have said no.

Being here now at 20 and achieving everything I have achieved so far I can honestly say without Jane’s input I would not be in the position I am now.

The stardom programme set the foundations for how I treat myself and others.

One of my most memorable sessions with Jane was making an affirmation box.

I remember feeling so uncomfortable having to write nice things about myself and I thought I would never use this box. Well I was wrong, I loved it and still do –  it’s incredible the effect words can have.

Jane helped me to see positivity above the negativity. I am forever grateful to her.

Jane and Girls Out Loud played a big part in making me the proud, resilient, passionate woman I am today.’

Listen to Beth share her wisdom on the night here:

Guest Testimonials

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Girls Out Loud Shining Stars Ball recently. What a fabulous evening it was from start to finish! We laughed, we cried, we danced and met some lovely people. The speakers and award winners were totally inspirational. Brilliantly organized – as an event manager myself I know that an awful lot of hard work goes into making an event like this happen – it was seamless! Huge thanks to Jane and her team x

Rachel Tetlow | Senior Membership and Programmes Manager


As a proud sponsor of the Girls Out Loud ball, I had the privilege of hosting two tables at this event that celebrated the remarkable achievements of women and girls who are either advocates for, or beneficiaries of Girls Out Loud. The evening was nothing short of spectacular, marked by impeccable organisation and deeply honest speeches that resonated with everyone in the room.

The atmosphere was electric with a sense of community and unity, as attendees connected through shared fun and purpose, all dedicated to making a real difference. The event was not only a celebration but a powerful reminder of the positive impact that such initiatives can have on our society.

The highlight of the night for me was bringing along my 15-year-old niece and my sister, a high school teacher. Both were profoundly moved by the speeches and who both could see the benefit of the programmes. Their reaction underscored the importance and necessity of such empowering programs in our educational institutions.

I am already excited about next year’s ball, where I plan to expand our presence by hosting three tables! Investing in events with purpose aligns perfectly with my entrepreneurial vision. Starting my business was about making a difference, and supporting Girls Out Loud allows me to amplify this impact.

The night was a blend of joy, inspiration, and undeniable success. Here’s to many more!

Karen Turton | CEO/Founder



We’re do I even begin!

From the purple carpet photograph arrivals, to the walk up the stairs to be greeted with drinks and wonderful people the tone for the evening was set. The opening Vogue flashmob was just everything and more and watching Jane do Jane! Well that was priceless! The awards were so powerful, emotional and all given to super deserving women! Can we talk about the brilliant raffle boxes and prizes too! I got outbid every time. And the grand finale 90s danceoff,led by with some incredibly talented female musicians. I didn’t want the evening to end. Thankyou for allowing me to share such a special evening and a big shout out to the Rock star of 2024, Beth Stoker,  welcome to the best club in town!

Gina Armstrong, Rockstar winner 2017

Oh what a night! Having had the joy and the privilege of being at the previous two Girls Out Loud Awards, I had some  idea of what to expect in terms of energy and inspiration – but it’s fair to say that Jane exceeded all my expectations, and then some!  It was wonderful to hear the context of the Awards, and the reasons why individuals had been nominated – and as expected, I was moved to tears several times when I heard the mountains that people have climbed in order to raise themselves up to where they should be … And I was proud that my business Intuitive Talent Solutions was able to sponsor the Rock Star Award, won by Beth Stoker … a true Rock Star by anyone’s standards; a total inspiration.

Nina Lockwood | CEO Intuitive Talent Solutions

We loved the ball because it brought together a room full of authentic , passionate and inspiring women!  Hearing the stories first and then getting to meet the girls who were recognized in the room for their Girls Out Loud journey was truly humbling, there wasn’t a dry eye in sight after the video’s and stories…

We loved the Vogue flashmob, who doesn’t love Madonna?  Girls That Mix – was a great end to the night – love love love them!

Myself and my 20 guests left the room touched by Girls Out Loud and committed to stepping up to help make a difference – It’s now on their to do list ! and you know what women are like with a list !

Seeing Jane speak with such passion and knowledge is enough to stop you in your tracks and know we have to do something to help our young girls!

Big Love Jane and the GOL crew, you smashed it!

Jane Reik | Buying Director, Joe Browns


What an amazing night you, Jane you are an absolute star. I am in awe. I was overwhelmed by the evening. It was sooooo impressive. What amazing, fun, excellent company, delicious food and all sooooo professional.

When I was getting ready (as you do) the good old voices from school days come back into my head (“What does she look like”, “Who does she think she is”, “What is she wearing that for”) yet I knew that coming to a Girls Out Loud event I would be coming into an environment where everyone was mutually supportive, kind and ready to encourage and help each other. 

What I mean by this is I knew I could stop worrying and simply enjoy the evening as the atmosphere was fantastic, empowering, and collegiate. I was proud to share the room with so many inspiring people. 

The team at St Joseph’s really enjoy working with Girls Out Loud and are grateful to you do for all you do for us and for our girls. 

Anna McDonnell | Assistant Head, St Joseph’s Catholic School, Bolton


A massive and heart-felt thank you to all our sponsors, without you none of this would have been possible – you rock!

Stanmore Insurance thank you for stepping up as our headline sponsor – big high five to all our Award sponsors, Apprentify, Enterprise, Seddon, Purple Story, Aviva, BrazenPR and Intuitive and ConnectIn our event partners and BrazenPR our communication wonders – lovin ya work!

To all the table hosts and guests, thankyou for sharing the night with us and until next time….

Thanks to our main sponsors

Want to get ahead of the crowd for sponsorship opportunities next time? For more information please contact helen@girlsoutloud.org.uk

This event is supported by:

How you can support our mission

Become a Corporate Sponsor
Sign up to be a Big Sister or Volunteer
You can make a one-off donation or set up a subscription
Fundraise for our Girls Out Loud Foundation
Purchase one of our tees or bags via our shop and partners