I won an award last Friday – Best Growth SME in London and the South East. No one was more surprised than me.
In fact, I’ve been consistently surprised throughout the process for the 2015 Women in Business Awards. I was very pleased but a bit surprised to be nominated in the first place. I was thrilled when I learned I had been shortlisted in my category, but also, quite surprised. Again. Without false modesty, I admired the other nominees in my category and felt they were all worthy of the award.
When we arrived at the event, we were seated at the last table, right at the back of the room. I overheard someone say: “Oh, we probably haven’t won our categories, otherwise they’d have put us closer to the stage.”
I agreed. But my team did not. They were convinced that I would be the winner. “Oh dear,” I thought. “I hope they won’t be too disappointed when I don’t win.”
And so, when the host read my name out, I was shocked. I’m afraid I have a bit of a frozen “deer in the headlights” look on my face in all the photos. I would like to make it clear that this is an expression of incredulousness rather than a lack of gratitude to any onlookers who don’t know me!
A big “thank you” to Forward Ladies
Now that I’ve had time to digest the news, I’m honoured, elated and very excited to have been selected as the winner for the Best Growth SME for London and the South East in the 2015 Women in Business Awards. I am sincerely grateful for the recognition from the judging panel and would like to say a big “thank you” to Forward Ladies, who organise these fantastic awards events all around the UK, and to their leading national sponsors – HSBC, Microsoft, ASDA and The Co-operative insurance – and the wonderful local sponsors for London and the South East too.
I also want to express my gratitude to my whole team – I definitely couldn’t have grown the business without their support in implementing all my grand plans and bringing them to life. One of the best things about winning this award has been the opportunity to write this blog and thank them again for all their hard work and dedication.
Southerly turned six this year
Southerly turned six this year in September, which made me think back on the last six years of building the business. In fact, filling in the 2015 Women in Business award entry form was a brilliant opportunity to reflect on all the hard work, victories and mini catastrophes that we’ve been through as a company.
We have made loads of mistakes, but we’ve focused on learning from each one and then quickly moving on. I’m very proud of what we have achieved in terms of a) the steady growth of the business, despite the very competitive environment we operate in, b) the growing sophistication of our internal processes and procedures and also c) with our employee engagement and satisfaction scores.
We practice what we preach and employ all the marketing, social and employee engagement techniques we recommend to clients. One of our strengths is that we are not afraid to experiment and learn from what goes wrong as well as to build on any successes, and we are always actively researching and updating our expertise so that we continue to evolve our techniques and stay up to date.
We have put a lot of focus recently on improved management information, so that we are able to fix any utilisation, productivity or quality issues as soon as they arise. All of this helps us make sure we deliver the very best service we can to our clients, with whom we have very strong and close relationships.
I’ll end with a quote from one of my team, on winning awards:
“Next time you win something, try to look happy instead of surprised!”
Definitely a development area for me, but I’m working on it; there is, of course, another round to these awards, where all the regional winners will be up against each other for the overall national award. But surely I won’t win that?
Then again, that’s what I said last time.
A massive well done to all the other shortlisted nominees – you all sounded amazing to me – and good luck to all the other finalists going forward into the national competition. I can’t wait to meet you all and find out more about you.