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Awards - What's the point??

Today, I was honoured to be a judge for the finalists in the Women in Construction and Engineering awards 2022.

This year is my second year as a judge and it was in the category of Best Women in Business Development. This is a wide and varied subject and open to interpretation in many ways – unlike some of the other categories which could be described as more specific and perhaps technical.

Who does the work?

The day is a culmination of a huge amount of effort from a number of people; the organisers who tirelessly pull together so many thousands of nominations, the nominees that have to put in significant effort to prepare and present their cases, and also the judges who volunteer their time.

Looking for excuses??? Cancel culture???

Prior to today, I must confess in having a few moments to reflect on the value of the time that these awards would take me as a judge and questioned whether I should be taking time out of my work week to do it. This is especially important when it is your own business perhaps. This all seemed like a great deal of effort when the staring at the coal face of my workload never mind the domestic organisation it would take to attend. However, I did not cancel as really could not face letting anyone down.

How pleased am I that I came along! In an industry that only consists of roughly 12% of women, we often only see the same faces in our networking or industry groups – albeit great supportive women, we know each other very well. Being in a room full of hundreds of construction based women is a very strange environment. We did have a few men though – perhaps almost 12%! Today, I was reminded of a few things and kicked me out of being so complacent perhaps.

- Recognition

Awards give people the opportunity to be recognised not only by their internal company peers but also by their industry peers. When we are so busy working on projects and delivering results, we often forget to thank and celebrate the people who make it possible. Today was one of those days.

- Reaching the finals is enough

The women who presented today have all made a massive achievement and should be proud of this. To come in front of a judging panel and present to three industry peers is daunting and pushes many to uncomfortable situations. Many are experts in their own field but this is a rather daunting experience. Again, a reason to celebrate that confidence and professionalism.

- Record it!!

Awards are part of a development profile and help with the collation of CPD. We often forget to actually record our achievement so this is a good stepping stone rather than just an internal appraisal.

- Inspire

Fellow judges are an inspiration. I had two other people on the panel with me and we normed, formed and stormed our group in a record 3 minutes – defining our roles and agreeing on our format! So refreshing!

- Away from the day-to-day

A day out of the office allows time for a bit of reflection on where we fit in the bigger picture. Many ideas can cross pollinate and go back to the nominees’ companies and allow bigger and better ideas and results for the future.

Overall, a great day to remind me of the value of celebrating success! Well done to all that were nominated and progressed to the finals. I look forward to the awards ceremony and to judging again next year I hope.

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