Organisers behind the Westcountry Women Awards say they’ve been so inundated with nominations for the 15 categories that they’ve had to take the decision to extend the deadline for entries.
Breaktime News caught up with co-founder Alexis Bowater OBE. She says extending the closing date from 31 August to 6 September was a big call to make. It shows the awards have captured the imagination.
We’re sitting in a quiet café. Our notebooks and pens are resting next to steaming cups of coffee. The sun is pouring through the window. Today is a good day.
Alexis’ calmness is a real achievement when you think she’s currently co-organising a colossal awards’ event. We might be three months away from the ‘big night’ but her phone is constantly buzzing.
All calls are being answered in a bright, breezy and focused way. Very cool. Very professional.
The Awards were launched at the start of summer and hundreds of women from across the south west have already been nominated for the 15 categories.
Winners will be revealed at a glitzy ‘Oscar’ styled ceremony being held in Plymouth at the start of December.
‘It’s a powerful and public way to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women from across the west country.’
‘These are not just awards about business. These are awards about everybody’s business as categories range from Best Supporting Act through to Combating Violence in Women and Girls.’
‘We believe in lifting up the women we live with and work with. People who are celebrated are less likely to be denigrated.’
‘These are awards with purpose and we are thrilled to be supported by so many outstanding companies, including our headline sponsor, Plymouth City Bus.’
An incredible difference
‘We expect this year to be a successful red carpet celebration which will recognise women’s achievements in the corporate world.’
‘The pandemic put a lot of award ceremonies on hold and so we’re looking to celebrate in style.’
‘The recent Rose report clearly identified that the thing which held back women the most was so-called ‘Imposter Syndrome.’ Awards, like these, are absolutely vital to combat that way of thinking.’
Award winning businesswoman Tess Stuber is working alongside Alexis as a co-founder and co-director of the Westcountry Women Awards.
She recalls the incredible difference it made to her when she was a winner at a separate sparkling and glitzy award event which was held eight years ago.
‘I wasn’t going to attend because I was so painfully nervous and terrified of winning. It couldn’t happen to me. Why would it? I hadn’t done anything ‘that’ special and I certainly didn’t want to shout about it to a packed room of people at Exeter University!’
‘I arrived. Late. On my own. It was pouring with rain and I couldn’t get parking spot anywhere near the entrance. I was soaked when I arrived and everyone was already seated! OMG. Total nightmare.’
Recognition of work
‘I gathered myself, sat down and the evening began. My category was after the dessert, so I had a while to wait.’
‘To cut a long story short: I won! I was so overwhelmed that I actually couldn’t speak, but it highlighted to me how important it is for all people in business to be recognised for their work and the strength that is given to those who are.’
‘The following year, I won the National Award for Green Business and dealt with the process significantly better and even managed a coherent speech, because I had already gained confidence.’
‘I have benefitted from feeling what a winner feels and the recognition that I would never have felt if were not for that first nomination.’
‘I can’t wait to see nominees, finalists and winners have their chance to triumph and receive some recognition for the work that they do every day.’
People can nominate someone for the Westcountry Women Awards via the website: https://westcountrywomenawards.co.uk
Photographs by Poppy Jakes and kindly supplied by the Westcountry Women Awards.