Awards – ego boost or asset?

RACHEL DUCKER gives her take on the annual awards season

ONCE again it’s that time of year when those prestigious award ceremonies are taking place, the likes of which include the BAFTAs, the BRIT Awards and, most recently, the Oscars.

Love them or hate them, I believe that award ceremonies are important because they offer recognition for specific individuals who produce extraordinary pieces of work within their respective industries.

As an award winner myself (East of England Young Businesswoman of the Year 2009) I can relate directly to emotion that individuals experience when their name is called out to receive the honour. The euphoria and excitement is truly incredible; it really does make you feel like you’ve just won the lottery.

For me, just being nominated for such an award was an amazing feeling in itself. To my delight I was shortlisted, along with several other entries, after submitting a two thousand-word essay explaining about my business and myself.

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I then had to face a “Dragon’s Den” type of presentation in front of six prestigious businesswomen from the eastern region, which I have to admit was one of my scariest moments in business so far.

When I received my award just over a year ago, little did I know how much this achievement would change my life. Since then so many positive things have happened to me. All I can say is that it’s been a pretty amazing journey so far, with many pathways opening-up that I would never have imagined, including writing this column for the EADT.

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Did winning my award boost my ego? Well I have to honestly admit that, initially, it might have done. However, what I’ve come to realise is that once all the glitz and glamour eventually fades away, I’m still basically the same person as I was before. I just see it as receiving recognition for all the hard work, dedication and commitment that I’ve given to my career over the last few years.

One positive side-effect is that I’ve also been able to help other like-minded young people and other women in business who are looking to venture down a similar entrepreneurial pathway to myself. I’ve been asked to give several talks and lectures to a variety of different groups and organisations around the country.

When I talk to the groups I don’t try and baffle my audience with too much technical business jargon, I just tell them my own individual success story, and offer a very down to-earth approach, which always seems to go-down quite well.

Another remarkable opportunity that has been offered to me recently, is that I’ve been asked to become one of the judges for this year’s East of England Businesswoman Awards. All I can say is, what an incredible opportunity and privilege.

The award ceremony is being held at the Ickworth Hotel, near my hometown of Bury St Edmunds, with the competition open to all female businesswomen who want to give it a shot. All I can say is that if I can do it so can you.

This year when I attend the EEBW award ceremony, I’m absolutely sure that I won’t be half as nervous as I was last year. I’ll definitely be seeing things from an entirely different perspective.

There’s a strong bet however that there’ll be a big part of me reflecting back on the previous ceremony. I’m sure that I’ll be saying to myself, did I actually win that award last year or was it all just an incredible dream?

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