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Awards ceremonies are more than great public relations – they breed winners no matter the result

By Laurna Woods

We always emphasise the value of winning awards to our public relations clients. One of the key elements of our PR strategies is to secure our clients the recognition we feel they deserve by helping them write outstanding awards entries.

I’m more used to blowing the trumpet for Beattie’s clients than doing it for myself. And, to be honest, I’m only writing about the award I’m up for because the programme is so damn impressive.

Being part of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme ranks alongside my involvement with the Everywoman programme for women in business for the massive impact it has had on me and how it has influenced my thinking. It is one of the most enjoyable and invigorating experiences of my career.



I’m a Scottish finalist in the Transformational Leader category. Win or lose, the journey has been tremendous – it’s given me and the people within our business a genuine boost.

The awards programme is global but the attention to detail even at the regional level is scrupulous. They have thought of everything, covering every avenue and offering every opportunity for each of us involved to network, learn about each others’ businesses, help others and improve ourselves. Everyone is a winner for having been part of this process – it is a prize in itself.

More than an awards ceremony

People sometimes ask whether awards ceremonies are worth it. When it’s an experience like this, it definitely is. It’s more than an awards ceremony where trophies are dished out after a day’s work for a judging panel. It’s a complete awards programme that not only assesses the finalists, but improves them.

The opportunities it has opened up for me as a businesswoman are outstanding. The finalists have taken part in a workshop and heard from other successful entrepreneurs through enlightening presentations.

Take Simon Howie as an example; you probably know his name for his supermarket butcher meat brand but he’s a serial entrepreneur who sees an opportunity – whether in pork, plastics or property – and goes for it. His drive, guts, determination and savvy are enviable. He’s a winner.

Throughout the process, your skills have to be absolutely on it and that’s something I’ll be taking with me, for certain. You should always be ready to represent and present your business and this programme really drives the improvement of those skills because the quality of the other candidates instils a winning mentality.

Having been introduced to the EY family, I’ll always be treated as an alumni. EY is actively cultivating each of the finalists. Every one of us is treated like royalty and encouraged, by our peers and EY, to deliver our best.

That encouragement extends to entrants who didn’t make it as far as the regional finals – everyone who entered is told that just because they were not successful this time, it doesn’t mean they can’t improve and make it through the next time.

Mentoring young people

The EY attitude has so impressed us at Beattie, we’re planning to sign up to the EY Foundation’s Smart Futures mentoring programme. It does really admirable work with young people from deprived backgrounds as they head into their final year in school.

The 10-month programme fits with Beattie’s ethos of always hunting for exceptional people. The young people who make it through to the mentoring programme pick up transferrable skills, attend events with EY alumni, spend two weeks working with educators and other candidates to build up abilities that will serve them well in business, then spend a week doing paid work experience.

At the end of the programme, they get a Level 2 qualification from the Chartered Management Institute that sets them apart from their peers as it’s a real, grown-up qualification to go alongside their Nat 5s, Highers, GCSEs or A Levels.

There’s no professional qualification for me at the end of my Entrepreneur Of The Year journey, be that at the Scottish final at Gleneagles on June 21 or beyond that.

But I’ll certainly come out the other end a winner, and more aware of the good I can do for others in business.

We know how your brand can influence the people who matter. Call us now on 0800 612 9890 to discover more.