Claire Preston, who was crowned the first-ever Tees Businesswoman of the Year last October, explains why organisations should enter this year’s awards – and why we should all consider who we could nominate for the five individual categories…
Like so many others within our business community, I’m passionate about promoting aspiration and equality of opportunity, particularly locally and where possible supporting and empowering young females in our region who may be limited by social disadvantage, education and self-worth.
The Tees Businesswomen Awards have been established to acknowledge and celebrate the work of women in the Tees Valley across a range of sectors, and by doing so, inspire and encourage others. Hopefully, a new generation of women will benefit from an increased number of role models – nominees who show them what can be achieved with determination and hard work.
Last year’s awards were a great success – not just for me and other category winners. They brought together individuals who share the same values and have a desire to build a community of aspirational women. There will be many future winners as a result of the collective planning and initiatives underway.
Great things are happening on Teesside and people always comment on the supportive nature of our business community, but one thing we’re not good at (and this isn’t just a female trait) is shouting about and highlighting success. I’m sure others would agree that rather than us being known as a town for negative reasons and headlines, or for what we used to be, it’s up to us to do more to change this perception.
We need to shine a positive light on the amazing individuals, businesses, achievements and developments in our area – not just for those looking in but for our young people, the students, future parents, teachers, innovators, employees and business leaders who need to see firsthand what ambition and success looks like and the endless opportunities available to them on their own doorstep.
Children need role models – people to admire and aspire to. I read an article recently which protested against telling children they can be anything they want to be, reason being (apparently) that they would all choose to believe they have a future as reality stars or vloggers. I completely disagree and want every child to have an understanding of the vast world of opportunity that is open to them and more specifically for girls that the future can include a fantastic career and profession of their choice, as well as motherhood if they so wish.
We need to tell them regularly that they can be anything they want to be, regardless of their start in life, and that life is there for the taking.
As former US president John F Kennedy said: “All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop those talents.”
That’s why I would urge you to support the Tees Businesswomen Awards, by nominating a female you know for one of the many categories available or by entering your own organisation or encouraging businesses to enter.
Not only will it acknowledge achievement and contribution, it will undoubtedly influence and inspire others and demonstrate that opportunity and talent is here in abundance on Teesside.
The deadline to enter is 5pm on Friday (September 6) – the 10 different categories and online entry forms are available by clicking here.
Hope to see you there on October 24.
Tees Businesswoman of the Year 2018