My EVAS Experience - Maura Jackson Inspirational Woman of the Year


My EVAS Experience - Maura Jackson Inspirational Woman of the Year

I remember the days when the thing I yearned for was a Blue Peter badge. Things have moved on since then, now it's business awards!

We often hear the phrases like “don’t brag, nobody likes a show-off and pride comes before a fall.”

Well, there is a world of difference between celebrating and reflecting AND arrogance. The decision to apply for or nominate someone for an award isn’t easy. The processes take time, some more than others but you should believe in who or what you are nominating.

As a recipient of awards, and a nominee but not a winner of others when someone rings you or emails to say you have been nominated it is a lovely feeling. To know that someone cared enough to make that initial effort is a reward in itself.

Going on to be shortlisted and then win is a humbling and exhilarating experience. Going on to be shortlisted and not win is disappointing. But only for 2 minutes and then you can bask in someone else's success and tell yourself it was amazing to get this far, it is true.

2020 and 2021 has been a hell of a year and whatever you have done, you have survived it because you are reading this. Whatever you do, professionally or personally, you must know a woman who has worked her arse off to keep a business going, set one up, help others in lockdown, manage challenges at work, support the community, adapt, and remodel to suit the lockdown guidelines and more. It could be your boss, your sister or you. Get nominating.

If you think it’s silly to nominate yourself, get over it, do it. What have you got to lose?

I nominated myself for an EVA award because someone asked me to. I felt a bit of a tit but did it because a few people had told me I was an inspiration to them. My journey from teenage parent to award-winning CEO is something I am happy about.

Have I increased the size of the charity I lead by 500%? Created jobs increasing staff numbers from 13 – 67? Expanded services for young homeless people so we accommodate 112 at any one time as opposed to 33 in 2013? Did I restructure and develop the organisation and lead us into Investors in People GOLD three times? Yes, it’s not bragging. It is fact. But I did it to tackle youth homelessness. It doesn’t matter what your WHY is.

I then went on to win, from a shortlist of 12 women, many of whom I knew and admired. When my name was called out as INSPIRATIONAL WOMAN OF THE YEAR I was quite drunk. I had many vodkas because I assumed I wouldn’t win, and the awards overran a little bit, so it was late when it was my category.

Don’t assume! I think vodka might have been involved in the decision to apply and writing the nomination. My husband and other women on our table were so thrilled, it was like being at the Oscars. My throat went dry, my heart was pounding and all I could think was to put my jacket back on to cover up my bingo wing arms before any photos. I was escorted to the stage by a young handsome devil in a tuxedo and my soundtrack was playing; Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen. I was so happy.

The involvement and ultimately winning helped my business no end, in my case it is a charity. Backup North West of which I am CEO gained positive exposure, more supporters and I made new friends. Pink Link have become a source of real support and a strong network of women across the NW who now know about the charity I lead who otherwise would have never heard of us.

Plus I have a beautiful award which has pride of place in my office. I don’t let the cleaner dust it! Another benefit is the award night itself, set at Winter Gardens in Blackpool it is a fantastic night. For me, the ultimate outcome is this exposure for the charity. This support all leads to one thing – helping keep more homeless teenagers off the streets and that’s my passion.

Whatever your passion is give yourself or someone else you know a pat on the back and put the nomination in. as they say you’ve got to be in it to win it.

Author: Maura Jackson