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The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards with Awards Director Sarah Austin
Winning Awards Podcast
By Donna O’Toole
In this episode of the Winning Awards Podcast, Donna O’Toole chats with The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards, Awards Director Sarah Austin.
The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards is one of the UK’s most prestigious awards programmes, recognising and rewarding excellence across all sectors. These awards are considered “the ones to win” – all UK companies are invited to enter, regardless of size or industry. The awards have a range of categories suited for any successful organisation to tell their story.
- her journey into events and awards, from doing work experience at the NBAs and getting her degree in Events Management
- the challenges for the events industry and their suppliers in 2020
- the opportunities available to NBA finalists and winners
- her plans for the 2020 awards programme and beyond
EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS[01:47] Sarah got her first taste of the thrill of the National Business Awards and live events from doing work experience at the NBAs and going on to get her degree. Since then the awards have changed and evolved over the years.
“…for 24 hours I went into this madness, table planning, helping people with all these queries and really just running around the Grosvenor House in high heels. And it was brilliant. And I loved it. And that’s when I got the taste.”[06:27] The National Business Awards have always aimed to celebrate the very best in British business and support British SMEs, which they do through their media partners and events, including their summer party at The House of Commons.
“The aims of the awards have always been to celebrate the very best of great British business. And so you can always under that umbrella, you know, there’s so much that you can work with, my particular themes that I like to bring out in it as you know, to celebrate innovation, ethics, teamwork, you know, very basic fundamentals and values that are important to a successful business.”[10:57] The global pandemic has caused challenges for us all, and Sarah is no exception. Both personally and professionally, Sarah discusses some of the heartbreaking challenges for the events industry and their suppliers. Plus how vital the #WeAreEvents movement has been to raise awareness.
“I think the awards industry in particular, like with events, people by our very nature, were quite adaptable. So I knew that ideas would come out and we’d be okay but the with the #weareevents movement that’s happening recently and it’s like the camaraderie between everybody is amazing. And we can see, you know, all the venues lighting up and ready to send their message that we are events. We’re ready. We are adaptable. We can do it. And I think that’s so powerful.”[18:24] Sarah and Donna reminisce about past NBA awards ceremonies and some of the amazing keynote speakers, Sarah also drops some hints on what to expect from the virtual 2020 awards ceremony.
“I think one of the things that 2020 is going to allow me to do is have more people involved than we normally would have. So I can’t give any names away. If you go by alumni, you will see we have you know, Buzz Aldrin, Tim Peake, Mo Farah. And you know, and that’s just the ones that come to my head. There’s been some incredible people. that we’ve had over the years. And I think each year we’ve set the bar higher and higher.”[22:35] Awards naturally promote positivity, but a theme in this year’s entries was the confidence and honesty to say ‘this went wrong, but here’s how we adapted and coped with it’ and to see so many businesses going above and beyond to support their employees, customers and communities.[27:53] The National Business Awards give businesses the opportunity to say ‘we are the best in the country’ and Sarah’s message to those businesses who are wondering if they’re ready for national recognition is to seize the moment and put yourself forward.
“All of these businesses have something that is unique. And something that will be what perhaps to you is something quite normal. That actually if you put yourself in front of a panel of judges, that work that you do is sensational. You need to be recognised for that.”
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