Taking part in the Telstra Business Women's Awards has been the undoubted highlight of my professional year, and until now, I wan't able to say much publicly about it.
The whole process started months ago, when I was nominated to apply for an award in the Start Up Category. The application package was somewhat daunting - over a week a wrote mini essays on topic after topic to do with my business practices, philosophies, and innovation. It was rigorous, thought provoking, and I really did think that would be the end of it.
But months later I got a call. I had made the top 10 in my category and was invited to come to Telstra HQ in Brisbane for an interview. I had to submit financial information about my business too, which I found most daunting of all - I had to look up 'amortisation' in the dictionary to realise I didn't have easy answer to the accountancy questions posed.
I prepared for the interview the night before, by having N ask me questions we thought might come up. I was nervous and worried I'd go blank. I reviewed my talking points, jotted down the key values that dictate how I run my business and the ideas that have inspired my path. The actual meeting was more relaxed that I'd anticipated and I found that I enjoyed it. Again I thought the process would end for me there, but I was grateful for what I'd been through to that point - having to distill what I do in that way was an exercise in clarity and left me feeling more purpose driven than ever.
A day later the phone rang again. I had been named a finalist. I was going to the gala. I had a media training session to attend. I needed to amend my air tickets, cut my holidays short. I needed to find an outfit and write a speech. I was excited - awed really - but still I couldn't tel anyone until the official press release had been sent.
I went away on vacation and didn't think about the awards much. In London, my ma and I went shopping for a minimalist top to match the ball skirt she'd brought from home for me. I came back to Brisbane and, still jet lagged, attended the Telstra networking events and wrote my speech. Two speeches, actually. One to give if I won my category. A second to give in the much less likely event that I won the Queensland Businesswoman of the Year award.
My husband was too ill with the flu to attend the awards, so I my excellent friend and partner in Homeroom Claire stepped in to escort me to the gala awards dinner. Claire, in her navy cocktail dress, was subsequently named best dressed in the Courier Mail that weekend - it was well earned - she looked amazing!
In the end I didn't win. But that didn't take away from the fun of the night, the honour of being a finalist, or the pleasure of meeting so many amazingly innovative, collaborative women.
I was a little disappointed not to have the chance to give my speech, which I thought was rather good. I'm posting it down below because it's my blog, and I can give it here if I want to!