To be appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) has been an inspiring experience and I am still totally blown away to have been recognised this way.
This award means so much to me especially as I hope to use my award as an opportunity to encourage more individuals and organisations to recognise the importance of mentoring as a practical tool in the overall critical need to invest in people development.
The day started the night before with travel to London. With a 9.30 start it was the only practical way to arrive in time from Cornwall! Great evening celebrations with husband and parents followed by an early night and a nightcap of green tea instead of cocktails in view of the day ahead.
We walked to the Palace mistakenly thinking that as it was 10 mins from our hotel and sunshine it would be a more relaxing way to arrive. As Mum & I then clutched hats in the breeze that just appeared as lots of overseas tourists happily snapped us arriving thinking we were VIP’s the plan didn’t seem quite as good 😊 My lovely hat thanks to Joanne just about stayed in place.
The lovely welcome we received from the police and palace staff was really appreciated. Suddenly just inside the entrance I had a wave of emotion hit me. I simply couldn’t believe I was there. A few shaky walks later not helped with gravel and heels and we arrived at the beautiful full entrance fully (well almost!) composed.
The Palace was simply stunning. I had been lucky enough to have visited previously for one of the Queens Garden parties and this time I saw even more of this special building.
The staff quickly organised us all and I was led up a large elegant staircase apart from the family to the room where the other award recipients were waiting. I really enjoyed talking to Amma Asante MBE about her film work and was very grateful to her pouring water for us both before I spilled any, Lee Hough MBE about his front line healthcare work and Catherine Ashley OBE about her holocaust promotion work.
Onto our instructions which I simply couldn’t take in. It probably didn’t help that I ended up near the back of the room and at 5 foot 1 couldn’t see the actual curtesy example. Frantic memories from 30 years ago ballet exams didn’t seem to help much either.
We then all went in line to receive our awards. It was lovely to be near other recipients sharing stories including Natasha Kaplinsky OBE who brilliantly distracted me on my curtesy worries through chatting to me about everything else.
Then onto the big moment and I felt so pleased HRH Prince Charles presented me with my medal. He has been a true champion of mentoring through many aspects of his work and especially through his patronage of the charity Prime Cymru in Wales. I have been privileged to meet him before and he has a special gift of making everyone feel what they have to say is interesting to him. No mean feat as he welcomed and awarded so many people that day.
It felt great then to sit and see others receive their awards and I had lovely chats too with Susan Hawks OBE for services to politics and Vassie Pascale OBE for services to education.
Finally we all managed a very late lunch and just got the parents onto the train home in time thanks to a lovely military family whose name we didn’t catch letting us go in front of them for the official photos.
What a fantastic experience and one I will always treasure.
It made me really reflect on my belief which I try and share through all Leapfrog Mountain’s work that holistic investment in helping people understand who they are and how they can be on the path to become the best can be is true investment. Any investment in yourself and your people is the most powerful, impactful and rewarding investment there is for both individuals and organisations.
I feel very lucky to have worked with so many great people and organisations and I have learnt so much from all of these experiences. Working together is really important to me as any growth for business and life means effective collaboration. The work I do with creating mentoring programmes is the perfect example of great collaboration. When programmes are created and led brilliantly it means community/client impact, business and personal development are fun, positive and relevant which achieves fantastic impact for everyone involved.
We work with a fantastic range of individuals and organisations that believe in the same key ethos. To find out more please do have a look at the organisations we support here.
One great example is our charity partner SOHK, School of Hard Knocks, who are a social inclusion charity. They work with at-risk and vulnerable people and passionately believe in human potential.
I have been supporting the charity for 5 years with mentoring, supporting the creation of their mentoring programme and being one of their ambassadors. To help or find out more visit schoolofhardknocks.org.uk.
A very special thank you is for the whole of the SFEDI group and the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs. As Leapfrog Mountains’s awarding body and our collaborative partners on key projects they have been simply brilliant. Without their support, we simply wouldn't be achieving the work we have. Their focus on enterprising excellence is always there and their expertise and breadth of impact across the UK and beyond is brilliant.
A big thank you is shared with all our team, clients, suppliers and collaborative partners for working with us on these important agendas and being a critical part of our longer-term journey to help more people. We simply couldn't have achieved our impact without them. Britta Hoffmann for our website, Kate Flores for our designs and Liz Frost and Felicia Castiglione for our office support have all been totally fantastic.
These organisations include longstanding support from extra special clients who have been with us since day 1. Ranging from Cornish professionals Karrek Accountants, investing in their clients’ growth, Scottish Chambers of Commerce leading enterprise mentoring across Scotland, Royal Institute of British Architects supporting career mentoring to invest in their industry ongoing success in the UK and beyond, the British Bankers Association investing in volunteer enterprise mentoring to help SME. Pearson investing in enterprise education and Proversity creating digital education that’s built around real business needs and outcomes worldwide.
This journey has meant great support from special individuals too:
A huge thank you to my close friends & family for all their support, especially my husband Paul who has always been there for me. His practical support in actually getting me across the UK and beyond on my various trips at the right time and heading in the right direction has been invaluable (morning alarms are still not my favourite thing!) Special thanks too for his ongoing patience, ideas and insights when I excitedly share that I have yet another great idea.
Thanks to all my good friends who have been there for me. Three friends especially have used their mentoring expertise to support me over an interesting journey these last few years and their support and encouragement has been so important to me. They have really enabled me to go on and support more people and organisations to help others.
People truly being there for you adds so much value, so I thought I would share my thanks and experiences so you can see the brilliant impact that sharing through mentoring can have.
Ruth Lowbridge MBE – Executive Chair SFEDI Group - Ruth’s amazing breadth of knowledge coupled with her great pragmatic and insight skills really helped me to see different points of view at critical points and focus in what I can do rather than what I can't. An inspirational leader who champions enterprising attitudes at every turn.
Lord Laird – The Lord Laird of Artigarven - Lord Laird’s intellect, depth of experience and focus on personal development blended with humour worked miracles on my confidence. One of the most positive people I know, a gentleman who believes in seeing the best in people.
Adam Shaw – The Heart Guy - Adam’s expert guidance and training in the areas of resilience and wellbeing at a time when these areas had pretty much fallen off my to do list has given me invaluable tools for life. Adam’s insights too into deeper areas of communication helped me make sense of challenging situations.
A huge thank you too you all!
We have a Great country with Great people! By focusing on all our special talents and sharing them I really believe we can all make a Great difference together.