Today is my last day working for The Queen’s Awards Office so I hope you won’t mind me taking a little trip down memory lane and also giving a much deserved ‘thank you’ to a few people who have made the last 2 years a very memorable experience.
I’ve worked on 3 cycles of the awards and have been lucky enough to meet a whole range of business people (both winners and prospective entrants), judges, Lord Lieutenants, assessors, stakeholders and, of course, Her Majesty The Queen! The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are not a difficult package to sell to anyone – they’re free to enter, there’s no limit to the number of winners (in the business category anyway) and the benefits of winning (from the Buckingham Palace reception to the global recognition of business excellence) make them a real ‘good news’ story.
The team and I have travelled up and down the country over the last few years to spread the word about the awards – we’ve filmed businesses in Scotland and Wales for our YouTube channel, flyered business events and exhibitions across the UK and we’ve given numerous presentations to eg Chambers of Commerce members, UKTI business events and our colleagues in other government departments. So if you know anyone who hasn’t heard of the awards, you know what to do…
One of the best experiences of working for the Queen’s Awards team was getting out and about to meet the winners each year – the time Kieran and I spent filming local winners in Wales and Scotland was very memorable (as was the deep-fried pizza!) and I got to go back home to Belfast to attend a clever speed-networking event run by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce. Last month I had a wonderful time in Edinburgh where I gave a presentation to members of the Midlothian, East & West Lothian Chambers of Commerce and was exceptionally well looked after by Sir Robert Clerk, the Lord Lieutenant of Midlothian. Last week I attended my third annual Institute of Export (IoE) gala dinner to celebrate the 2014 International Trade winners – another ideal opportunity to shamelessly plug the Awards to attending members of the IoE.
Another key time of the cycle for me comes in the final days before the closing date, when the team call as many entrants as we can to see if they need our help to submit their forms – that’s a lot of people to call! This is one of my favourite parts of the job – having the opportunity to talk to people directly and hear their experiences. I can’t stress enough that feedback is really important to us – we are constantly reviewing our forms, guidance notes and online processes so any thoughts you have that will help us shape the service going forward are really valuable. As always, send us a mail at email@example.com or give us a call on 0207 215 6880.
Social media has been a real eye opener for me – I’ve gone from having absolutely no experience of any of the channels to setting up and successfully growing Queen’s Awards Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and blog channels (not single-handedly, of course!). If you haven’t already, feel free to follow us, retweet, post and recommend us to anyone you like.
So, before I sign off, I'd like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to my Queen’s Awards colleagues Linda, Kerry, Alastair and Sean – this team works so very hard all year round to deliver the awards and it’s been an absolute joy and pleasure to work with every one of them. They are such a dedicated and committed bunch of people and I hope they continue to attract the very cream of British businesses and individuals to the awards year on year.
Finally, on behalf of the team, I would like to thank all of our partners and stakeholders for helping us to promote the awards to their networks this year, our judges and assessors who are soon to plough through quite a mountain of entries, The Queen’s Awards Magazine who are preparing what will no doubt be an excellent 50th Anniversary edition and, of course, everyone who has made the effort and given up valuable time to submit an entry this year (whether it is successful or not). The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the UK’s most prestigious business Awards and, with your continued support and contribution, they will continue to recognise and celebrate business success and entrepreneurial achievement for at least another 50 years...