14th May 2015 marked an incredible evening. It saw 1000 members of Birmingham’s professional services sector meet at the ICC to enjoy dinner, speeches and a glittery awards ceremony, hosted by the wonderful Rachel Riley.
The category winners for Birmingham Young Professional of the Year 2015 were:
– Sarah Bennett, Deutsche Bank (finance)
– Verity Stokes, Katie Bard (HR, recruitment and training)
– Rachel Seaton, Shoosmiths (legal)
– Katie Kershaw, Node Urban Design (property and construction)
– Tom Cullen, I CHOOSE Birmingham (marketing and communications)
– Simon Kaguramamba, Action Starter (technology)
…and the overall winner was Katie Kershaw, pictured here!
In BYPY tradition it was my job to give the handover speech, plus an insight into my year. Below is the speech I gave and the transcript:
I’m going to tell you five lessons I’ve learnt this year.
Last October I was invited to the BPS Patron’s dinner. The room was filled with important and influential people in Birmingham’s business community. I was sat next to Rob, MD of Chiltern Railways (headline sponsor!). The room filled with excitement as chair of BPS, Alex Bishop, announced that there was to be a special guest speaker, who would be entertaining us for the next half an hour. Rob from Chiltern Railways (headline sponsor) and I, looked round the room, eagerly awaiting the news of who this special guest speaker might be. It was then that Alex Bishop uttered those four fateful words…
“Over to you, Jodie.”
Lesson number 1: always have a speech prepared.
In preparing for this speech, I thought back to my BYPY application. If you look at the achievements of previous winners, and of the 8 we’ve seen tonight, you’ll see that you have to do a lot to win a BYPY trophy. You have to fit a lot into your day. In my interview, one of the scary judges (which, come to think of it may have been Alex Bishop again!) asked me: How do you find the time to do everything? To which I replied, ‘Easy. The average person watches four hours of television per day, and I don’t have a TV.’
I was reassured that I’m not the only one when I had my chance to be a scary judge this year. It was clear from the answers of this year’s contestants that they use their time well, and they’re not afraid to work around the clock to achieve things, even if it means missing Countdown.
Lesson number 2: you don’t win BYPY for what you do 9-5, you win it for what you do 5-9.
I heard something recently that’s stuck with me, about one of Floyd Mayweather’s training habits. Love him or hate him, Floyd Mayweather is an exceptional boxer. In the run up to a fight, he will get up at 3am and go to the gym. It gives him a psychological advantage to know that he is training and improving whilst his opponent is sleeping. So whilst lesson 3 is NOT that we should all get up in the middle of the night to write reports and send proposals, it does demonstrate the extent to which some people will go to get ahead.
My analogy for one’s professional career is a game of snakes and ladders [mentioned here]. Within this game, ladders are those opportunities that take you to new heights, far quicker than just rolling the dice ever could. What your ladder is depends on you, it might be winning a new client, securing a business deal or getting a promotion. For me, a ladder is exactly what BYPY has been. It’s done fantastic things for JC Social Media, for Clever Tykes, but what it’s also done (and is my lesson number 4) is allowed me to create ladders for other people. For young and not so young, professional and not so professional people in Birmingham. That’s what I’ve been doing for this year and will continue to do in the future.
Finally, and my lesson number 5, I will never underestimate the power of who I hang out with. I feel honoured to be surrounded by people who are creative, positive and most of all ambitious. That’s my family, the brilliant JC Social Media team, and everyone who I’ve been lucky enough to work with since the start of my own young professional journey.
It has been my absolute pleasure to hold the BYPY title for this whole year. Hopefully, I’ve done it justice.
My best wishes go out to all of the finalists because I know what a tough journey is it and I wish Katie every success in what will be a fun and action-packed year as BYPY 2015 (including the odd impromptu speech!).