Finalists reveal challenges during awards countdown

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

With the clock ticking before we reveal the winners of the Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020, three of those shortlisted have discussed the impact – including a charity leader who has beaten drug addiction and alcoholism.

The ripples of recognition have already begun for the amazing ladies who have made the shortlists across ten categories.

“Being shortlisted for a Tees Businesswomen Award has already given me the opportunity to get my voice heard,” said Annalice Argyle, founder and CEO of TRAC UK, an organisation which helps addicts towards recovery.

Annalice, who is a finalist in the Inspiring Others category while her charity TRAC UK is also in the running for an award, took part in the latest Tees Business Leaders online Q&A.

For Annalice, who has overcome alcohol and drug addiction, the formation of her charity was an opportunity to turn darkly negative experiences into positive ones.

“It’s nice to know that my experience matters,” she said, in discussion with Tees Business executive editor Dave Allan and fellow finalists Katy Parkinson and Tracey Jukes.

“For many years I struggled with low self-esteem and self-doubt. It’s a long story, but I turned to drugs and alcohol and was addicted to Class A drugs for over a decade. I spiralled down into a very low place of drugs, crime, prostitution and domestic violence.

“Eventually I got into recovery and I’m 11 years clean and sober.”

She added: “Trac is all about smashing the stigma which keeps voices hidden, especially among women. I know if I won this award I could help inspire even more people and prove that we can and do recover from addiction.”

Fellow finalist Katy, founder/director of Middlesbrough-based but globally focused literacy programme Lexonik, is shortlisted for the Lifelong Inspiration Award.

“It was a great shock and surprise to discover that I’d been shortlisted because I had no idea that I’d even been nominated,” laughed Katy, who started Lexonik after realising how a literacy programme could change lives while working with Middlesbrough Council.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be recognised for the work you’re doing,” agreed Tracey, owner and lead teacher of Hartlepool-based Tracey Jukes Beauty Training, who is up for a gong in the Best Newcomer category.

Tracey took the brave step of going into business after the cushion of a ten-year, full-time job with a local college and despite a condition called dyscalculia which makes maths and data extremely difficult to process.

All three ladies have used their experiences to move their careers forward, and to inspire a host of women in the process.

Like Annalice, Katy is changing lives with Lexonik.

“The programme was born in Middlesbrough and started when secondary age children would be sent to me with behavioural issues. Once I dug down, I realised that the vast majority had literacy issues and the resources I had to hand just weren’t closing the gap.”

Katy went on to develop Lexonik, a programme which is now utilised worldwide and which makes a dramatic improvement to literacy levels in six one hour lessons.

“As soon as literacy improves, so does self-esteem and self-belief,” she explained.

Self-esteem is something which Tracey now has in spades.

Having found a way to cope with her dyscalculia she has, just this year, taught over 200 students, the majority of whom go directly into self-employment.

Despite their own amazing achievements, Annalice, Katy and Tracey remain modest and are full of praise for the other women who have been shortlisted.

“If you hear Katrina Morley from Tees Valley Education speak, she has so much passion” said Katy. “She is an absolute inspiration.

“Then there’s My Sisters Place in the charity category, which protects so many women and is so, so needed on Teesside.”

Annalice added: “There are so many worthy winners, so it will be a celebration whatever happens. I can’t wait to see what happens on January 14!”.

Click here to see the shortlists for the 2020 Tees Businesswomen Awards.