The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards with Awards Director Sarah Austin

The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards with Awards Director Sarah Austin

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.

Sarah shares;

  • 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

And more!

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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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Winning Awards with Neil Skehel, CEO of Awards International

Winning Awards with Neil Skehel, CEO of Awards International

Winning Awards with Neil Skehel, CEO of Awards International

Winning Awards Podcast

By Donna O’Toole

In this episode of the Winning Awards Podcast, Donna O’Toole catches up with Awards International CEO Neil Skehel.

Awards International launched in 2008 and they successfully organise 11 Awards Programmes in the UK, UAE, Netherlands and Germany, giving much-deserved recognition to outstanding business initiatives. They believe winning awards creates real possibilities for personal and professional growth.

Neil shares;

  • His journey into awards, from award-winning McDonald’s Restaurant Manager to organising some of the most popular awards in the UK and Internationally,
  • The challenges of moving to digital award ceremonies in 2020,
  • His message to aspiring businesses.

And more!

Winning Awards, Winning Awards Podcast, Donna O'Toole, Awards Expert, Awards Judge, Neil Skehel, Awards International, UK Customer Experience Awards, Employee Experience Awards, International Business Excellence Awards

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS

[01:48] From Restaurant Supervisor to CEO of UK and International Awards Programmes, Neil shares his journey into the world of awards, how awards have played a huge part in his career and how he came to be CEO of Awards International.

“We’re all in the business, in the awards business. Do you know that? And I was thinking, you know, when I got my first award, I think it was for swimming five metres when I was about five years old, generally and awards play such an important part in people’s lives.”

[06:58] Awards International awards portfolio has been successfully growing, reaching into new markets including The Netherlands and Germany. In 2020 the pandemic has put a halt to all live events, but Neil and his team have pivoted to overcome the challenge.

“I thought we were done for I thought, “What on earth is going to happen?” And I spoke to a few people who I do use as mentors to sort of cheer me up from time to time. They were like, No, no, no, no, you’ve got to do this. You’ve got to make this work”

[11:26] Neil and his team have successfully converted their 2020 awards programmes to be fully digital using their own software that ensures their scoring is as robust and secure as their in-person judging, and the event is still entertaining and enjoyable for entrants and guests.[14:40] Transparency is key when it comes to judging, and Neil has no problems being open and honest about the judging process Using their own unique software and large panels of independent judges, everyone has the same chance of winning no matter whether you are an SME or a global corporation.

“So for me, transparency has always been a really important part of what we do.”

[20:14] As our world continues to change and adapt, there is a place for digital events but Neil assures us live physical events will come back once it’s safe to do. But for now all eyes are on the UK Customer Experience Awards and how the event will be as incredible as it always is year-on-year.[29:41] With the pandemic affecting all businesses in unique ways, Awards International have included specific COVID-19 categories to reward those who have gone above and beyond to help their business, customers or employees.

“But you know, the world has changed. There is no going back. You know we know the conversation will all be about what we are doing. So you have to change, you have to change the categories.”

[33:33] Neil’s final thoughts and overriding message for all businesses is to just ‘do it,’ enter the awards, now is the perfect time to enter and will help with the recovery.

“The challenges that the coronavirus has brought us entering your team for an award can be just so powerful in terms of their own performance, in terms of reward, in terms of fun in terms of development, and all of those things are really important now as ever before.”

 

Click here to listen and subscribe!

 

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Awards Open in September 2020

Awards Open in September 2020

Awards Open in September 2020

Industry Insights

By Donna O’Toole

Hello and welcome to your monthly newsletter of awards open throughout September!

It’s been 6 months since the pandemic rocked the world, and as we all adjust to a new way of living and working, award organisers around the world are adapting to ensure you can still get the recognition you and your teams deserve for all your hard work and accomplishments.

There are still so many awards open and accepting entries, with additional categories available to recognise businesses’ Covid-19 response.

Take a look at some awards you can enter right now!

AWARDS OPEN SEPTEMBER 2020

FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards

The FDM Everywoman in Technology Awards shine a spotlight on the tech industry’s most exceptional talent, from the UK and beyond, providing an opportunity for companies and individuals to put forward candidates for categories celebrating all stages of their career journey.
Deadline: 11 October 2020

Transform Awards Europe

The Transform Awards Europe 2021 will award excellence in rebranding and brand strategy. The awards will recognise best practice in corporate, product and global brand development work in the region, with categories that focus on strategy, execution, content and evaluation.
Deadline: 23 October 2020

edie Sustainability Leaders Awards

The edie Sustainability Leaders Awards recognise excellence across the spectrum of green business; from the best efficiency programmes through to product innovations, from stakeholder engagement and social sustainability initiatives to the people on the ground who are making change happen.
Deadline: 30 October 2020

STOP WAITING. START WINNING.

There are an abundance of awards around the world just waiting to recognise the best businesses in their industry, sector or country.

If you have good results, a good case study or project you are really proud of, the time to enter awards is NOW.

Because if you wait too long, your results will become old news and you’ll miss out.

Take the first step today and complete the Win Business Award Test to find out if you are ready to enter and receive your invitation to our next Awards Strategy meeting!

 

Share
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2019 New Year’s Honours List

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read more

Awards Open in August 2020

Awards Open in August 2020

Awards Open in August 2020

Industry Insights

By Donna O’Toole

Happy summer, and welcome to your monthly newsletter of awards open throughout August!

We may be having a slightly different summer this year as the world continues to handle the Coronavirus pandemic. But as we all take holidays and staycations to rest, recharge and enjoy the sun, there are still plenty of awards out there, ready and waiting for your entry.

September is a popular month for awards to deadline. So unless you want to submit a last-minute entry, now is the time to prepare and put together a strong, impactful entry!

AWARDS OPEN AUGUST 2020

Engage Awards

The Engage Awards are one of the only customer and employee engagement awards programmes, so if you’ve achieved great things with your engagement initiatives, then the Engage Awards could be perfect for you.
Deadline: 7 September 2020

International Business Excellence Awards

The IBXA recognise businesses achieving long-term sustainable profitability through the practice of excellence. There are 20 categories available and the 2020 awards finals will be a full-day experience, held fully online using the latest video conferencing software.
Deadline: 17 September 2020

DMA Awards

The DMA (Data & Marketing Association) Awards celebrate and reward the campaigns with intelligent marketing at the heart. With 35 categories split across Industry Sector, Channels, Campaigns, Data and Craft.
Deadline: 18 September 2020

STOP WAITING. START WINNING.

If you have good results, a good case study or project you are really proud of, the time to enter awards is NOW.

Because if you wait too long, your results will become old news and you’ll miss out.

Take the first step today and complete the Win Business Award Test to find out if you are ready to enter and receive your invitation to our next Awards Strategy meeting!

 

Share
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Contact us now to find out which awards you could be winning.

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Latest Tweet

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You might also like

2019 New Year’s Honours List

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Congratulations to the 1148 who people have started the New Year with an incredible accolade; an honour from The Queen in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List. The list features celebrities, sports professionals and extraordinary individuals, honouring them for their achievements, dedication to charity, and outstanding work in their chosen industries.

read more

How Coronavirus is Affecting the Awards Industry

How Coronavirus is Affecting the Awards Industry

How Coronavirus is Affecting the Awards Industry

Industry Insights

By Donna O’Toole

These last few weeks have been totally surreal.

Last year, when the awards industry was planning its 2020 calendar of events, it did not expect to be re-planning them just a few months later, in possibly the most challenging circumstances any of us have ever known.

So naturally, after getting past the initial shock of the arrival of COVID-19 into our lives, and making all the necessary checks on our families, friends, colleagues, customers and connections. And after giving huge thanks for the incredible heroes looking after us all on the front line of hospitals, schools, shops and more, our conversations have turned to business.

The most popular business question I have answered all week is without doubt:

“So what’s happening in the awards industry?”

And my answer has been simple.

“The show must go on!”

Because that’s exactly what I’ve been told by awards organisers around the world. And my goodness they are rising to the challenge!

But before I give you the industry insights, and feedback from some of our most beloved awards programmes, I need to be clear about something.

Awards are NOT about shiny trophies, sparkly dresses, and penguin suits.

Awards are about PEOPLE.

  • The thousands of people who work in awards teams to deliver exciting, engaging awards programmes to recognise the best businesses and individuals across every industry.
  • The thousands of people who work in hospitality and events day and night to create and implement the spectacular ceremonies that bring your teams together.
  • The thousands of people who apply their expertise to every single awards programme with lighting, music, sound, and film as well as the artistes who entertain us.
  • The thousands of people who spend their ‘spare’ time judging your award entries and pouring over the tiniest details to find the right winners.
  • The thousands of people who work in awards, marketing, and PR agencies to support businesses and individuals to raise their profile through winning awards.
  • And the thousands upon thousands of people who work so hard every year in their businesses, departments, and teams to deliver the projects that are so worthy of awards recognition.

ALL these people matter to the awards industry.

And right now, they are ALL pulling together to do quite literally everything in their power to bring you the best awards you will ever experience. Despite the challenges.

Why?

Because we, the industry, are passionate about our purpose.

We are proud of our people and our skills.

And we are positive that we can help you to come through this incredibly difficult time with a stronger brand and a higher profile than ever before, so that you can move into the coming years with all the power you need to succeed.

We know the value that professional, credible recognition will bring to your business. We see the millions of pounds of business that happen at every awards ceremony. We experience the incredible partnerships and friendships made at the events. And we feel the power and energy that recognition gives to YOUR people and YOUR brands.

Right then…so what IS happening in the awards industry?

Adaption. Adoption. Innovation. That’s what.

The awards ceremonies due to take place over the next few months are either adapting and moving their ceremony to a later date, or they are adopting new technologies and innovating to take their celebrations online.

So there is no need for you to miss out on a single trophy, and you might even find that you end up with more time to prepare, and more valuable digital assets to promote you than ever before!

Remember, awards look BACK at what you have already achieved – so you can take advantage of this and use your growth from the last few years to help you get some positive PR for the years ahead.

We’ll also be setting up our training online so you’ll be able to use your time wisely to upskill and prepare for your next award entries very soon too.

Personally, my hopes for when we come through this, are that we will have grown as people, supported each other, innovated for good, and that the awards industry will be recognising people and brands for their incredible and heroic behaviour, resilience, partnerships, collaborations, crisis management and above all else, kindness.

Stay strong. Stay safe.

Together we will win.

 

Share
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Contact us now to find out which awards you could be winning.

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You might also like

2019 New Year’s Honours List

2019 New Year’s Honours List

Congratulations to the 1148 who people have started the New Year with an incredible accolade; an honour from The Queen in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List. The list features celebrities, sports professionals and extraordinary individuals, honouring them for their achievements, dedication to charity, and outstanding work in their chosen industries.

read more