Entering awards provides entrepreneurs like Jade McKenzie the Founder of Event Head with a unique platform to scale their business, build powerful networks and boost their profile. It also helps motivate award entrants to set and meet goals and figure out what is needed to achieve them. For finalists and winners alike awards present great opportunities, so why aren’t more women doing it?
As I walk the red carpet into the New York hotel I am inspired by the guiding lights around me; the influential women attending the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. I wonder how the night will turn out. I had entered my online program ‘Workshop Wonderful’ into the best new product/services category and had been short-listed as a finalist. I think of all my amazing clients and how they have energised and motivated me. I wonder how this experience will change me? What will I learn and will this make a difference to my career? I am cautiously optimistic, a little nervous even.
In Australia, more women than men are graduating with university qualifications and there’s been a positive shift in the number of businesses started by women. Yet we also know that fewer women than men enter and win awards. Women’s reluctance to self-promote is well documented. Some suggest that ‘tall poppy syndrome’ is to blame: an Australian cultural trait where those who are successful are often criticized and resented for their achievements.
As I built and grew my business Event Head and coached heart-centred business owners, many of whom were women, I become increasingly motivated to help nudge these amazing women into the spotlight. I kept finding women of amazing talent whose lack of confidence was ultimately impacting the success of their business. Women in particular need to stop apologising for being good at what we do and own it.
This is what I’ve learned from my experience entering the Stevie Awards (and why you should start preparing your application for that award you’ve never dreamed of!):
When you do what you do with heart and authenticity, you should not question the ferocity of your drive or passion. Be courageous and self promote your heart-out. Do not fear the reaction of critics.
We need to support each other
Women supporting women is a powerful force and Biz Chicks is a fantastic example of that. Rally, organise and find a mentor. There’s no need to go it alone.
Yes – enter that award!
Be strategic about the awards you enter. Entering awards takes time, so you need to ensure your investment is worthwhile. I specifically entered an international competition, as I wanted to increase my profile overseas. With ‘Workshop Wonderful’ I knew there was nothing like it on the market. So I knew I had a competitive advantage.
I won silver in New York and I am still buzzing from the experience.
Whilst it’s probably too soon to measure the true impact of this award on my business, I already feel it’s propelled me into a new phase of growth and confidence. The alumni of the Stevie Awards are a powerful network of supporters and prospective clients and I am excited to be connected to them through this award.
So should you enter your business or yourself for an award? Absolutely, 100 per cent yes.
There is one thing I can guarantee you. If you don’t enter that award, you certainly won’t win it.