Bursary Programme

Bursary Programme 2019

Our inaugural 2019 bursary programme received a tremendous response. Competition was extremely high, with over 120 applications for just 4 places. We were impressed – but not surprised – by the level of expertise, experience and ambition overall.

We are grateful to leading headhunters GatenbySanderson for sharing their analysis on the strengths of our shortlisted candidates which informed our final decision.

Our four bursaries are awarded to Corinne Kennedy, Faiza Waheed, Marianna Sikorowska and Tania Wallis. Congratulations all!

Corinne Kennedy

“After some time focused on young children, the bursary was a great boost for me. I found Women on Boards informative, challenging and also highly supportive. I’d definitely recommend the bursary.”

Corinne has extensive experience in the extractives sector, specialising in sustainable development and corporate responsibility.

She has worked on projects in in more than 20 countries, in both developed and emerging economies. She has worked in a FTSE10 headquarters developing corporate policy and in the field supporting delivery of multi-billion pound projects.

Corinne has strong stakeholder management experience, within large organisations and externally with communities impacted by projects, with NGOs, financial organisations and local and national governments. She has sat on, and worked with, supervisory boards and developed management and compliance systems for complex projects with large budgets.

Corinne is now developing a portfolio and consultancy career after an extended period of maternity leave.

Faiza Waheed

“The Women on Boards bursary is a unique opportunity. It has provided me with a wealth of resources and a clear pathway to secure a board role. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to begin their boardroom journey.”

Faiza is a chartered certified accountant with significant experience in the NHS. Most recently she was Deputy Chief Finance Officer at a clinical commissioning group (CCG) in south London and has worked with stakeholders across the public sector.

She has contributed to finance and audit committees, giving her an insight into the role of non-executives in financial risk and management. She has also demonstrated a strength in sharing her knowledge with others, taking the lead in upskilling non-finance professionals and mentoring post-graduate students.

Faiza took a planned career break a couple of years ago and is now looking to make use of her skills to add value to an organisation she is passionate about.

Marianna Sikorowska

“It’s great to be a part of the Women on Boards network which I find really supportive and inspiring. When the opportunity to join the board of British Kickboxing Council came up, I found some informal advice from other members extremely helpful. I’m delighted to now be a non-executive! I would recommend the bursary to all women who are interested in growing their potential and advance their career.”

As a governance professional in the sports sector, Marianna has an excellent understanding of how to build good governance and of the challenges sports organisations face in doing so. Before joining the grants team at the London Marathon Charitable Trust, she worked as Governance Officer at the Sport and Recreation Alliance where she supported National Governing Bodies and other organisations on a wide variety of governance issues.

Marianna is now keen to make the leap from advising boards to getting a board role herself. She worked in public affairs before following her passion into to the sports sector. Her leadership potential has also been recognised and developed through the Olympic Committee’s New Leaders in Sport programme.

Marianna is highly driven and committed to improving governance in the sporting world and she is a passionate advocate of gender equality, diversity and inclusion.


Tania Wallis

“Hearing other women’s stories was like a window into being a non-executive. It made me realise that I can do this too. After being buried in my PhD research, it was also great to be alongside this group of women, all aiming for board positions.”

A mature PhD student in cyber security for the energy industry, Tania has in-depth knowledge that is much in demand in the boardroom. Alongside her research, she has led the development of a network of trust which supports utility companies securing their infrastructure. This has deployed her high-level interpersonal skills with her appreciation for the bigger picture.

Her previous career in operations for telecommunications firms built her leadership and management skills. She also gained international experience and ability to adapt to different cultures and situations. More recent work, prior to her PhD, focused on education and well-being which contributes to her supportive and empathetic approach to guiding people and organisations.

Having completed her PhD, Tania is keen to utilise her skills and knowledge in the boardroom.


Lila Vazquez Villamor

Lila is a Graduate Engineer at SSE Renewables, with a clear aim to become a leader in the transition to a net-zero carbon future. At SSE, she has built on her academic expertise by developing engineering and project management experience across multiple teams.

Lila is also part of several Advisory and Working groups, both internally at SSE and industry-wide, including one she currently chairs. She is keen to explore non-executive roles to grow her leadership skills and contribute her specialist and project development knowledge, coupled with a fresh perspective.