A Sutton woman has been shortlisted for the Positive Role Model for Age category at the National Diversity Awards 2017.

As many as 22,000 applicants were put forward for the prestigious award with Carshalton resident of 20 years Caroline Odogwu making the final eight.

The Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool will host the awards ceremony on September 8.

Caroline, 28, will be returning to Liverpool for the ceremony after graduating with a journalism degree at John Moores University when she was 21.

It was a challenging time in Caroline’s life as she didn’t know many people outside of London and she struggled to find positive female role models.

This inspired her to co-found ‘She Is You’ – a platform helping young women achieve their potential.

“I wanted to help women so they wouldn’t have to go through what I went through at university,” Caroline told Sutton Guardian.

Five years on and Caroline believes that ‘She Is You’ has helped hundreds of young women.

She said: “I think I’m really proud of some of the collaborations we’ve done. We did a collaboration with The Royal Bank of Scotland on a programme called Sprint for female undergraduates to give them skills so they can find job after graduating.

“It’s nice doing monthly meet ups, seeing people lives impacted, it’s really rewarding. I would also say the mentoring I do is really rewarding too, seeing people take away resources and knowledge for them to make decisions for their lives.”

Caroline said she is excited to attend the awards ceremony and commented that she is “blessed to have such a supportive network, it’s really spurred me on”.

At the end of the year Caroline is aiming to publish a book called ‘Dear Future Self’.

She said: “The book is a collection of interviews with women from different sectors, some well-known others aren’t. The goal is to hear stories from women doing great things to inspire other women.

“It goes back to giving women visible role models.”

This will be the first time that Caroline has been selected for the National Diversity Awards.

However, in 2014 then Prime Minister David Cameron presented her with a Point of Light Award for her community work.

Speaking about her upcoming nomination for Positive Role Model for Age, Caroline said: “It’s such an honour to be in the shortlist for this award. I seek to give young women particularly from BAME backgrounds the opportunity to broaden their horizons through the work I do.”

Supporting others has been something that Caroline has always thrived on.

"I’ve always been quite passionate about helping others actually, I’ve had my shortcomings, people have helped me get where I am.

"Therefore I realised the importance of having someone in your corner. I’ve always wanted to give back to other people. I’ve always been able to relate to people and their experience, especially ones from disadvantaged backgrounds."

You can visit the 'She Is You' website http://sheisyou.co.uk/ 

Caroline is on twitter 

- @carolineodogwu

- @sheisyouuk