Collette Allen, the chief operating officer of digital compliance specialists SmartSearch has been named Technology Businesswoman of the Year at the Great British Businesswoman Awards.

The national award recognises Collette’s meteoric rise to the SmartSearch boardroom, becoming both the first female and its youngest member. The judging panel was impressed with her approach to leadership, her passion for customer service and her commitment to mentoring staff and championing diversity.

In 2022, Collette was promoted to chief operating officer as a result of her work within the business, including developing SmartSearch’s client services department. She plays a key role in driving the company’s business strategy and talent development, helping it to achieve its goals and growth.

Under her stewardship, and with the help of its 180-strong team, Ilkley-based SmartSearch saw annual recurring revenues accelerate by an impressive 22 per cent in 2022.

Increasing demand from regulated firms for the company’s frictionless digital compliance solution means that SmartSearch now supports more than 5,500 clients and 50,000 users across financial services, property, legal, gaming and accountancy to name just a few.

The awards were decided by a select panel of expert judges from the likes of Burberry, easyJet, WarnerMedia and the Cabinet Office. The winners were revealed at a glitzy black tie event in Covent Garden in London.

Speaking on the award win, Collette Allen said: “I feel very privileged to receive this prestigious award, representing women in what has traditionally been a male dominated sector. My hope is that my journey and my achievements demonstrate to young girls and women that leadership in these sectors is not an unachievable goal.

“I am proud to have been the catalyst within our organisation to bring about this change and to now work closely with women and individuals to help them reach their potential. While there’s still work to do, it’s fantastic to see not just strong female role models throughout SmartSearch, but now a 50/50 gender split across all levels of the business.

“It was wonderful to celebrate this award with my fellow directors and just some of the amazing women that help make SmartSearch the success it is.”

With tools such as electronic verification (EV), real-time monitoring and robust sanction screening, SmartSearch’s digital platform helps firms complete detailed customer checks in seconds and comply with strict anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

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