Behind every successful woman...

HSJ Inspiration Women

10 / 7 / 2014 4.26pm

…is a beaming partner, son, daughter, friend, sister or brother, bursting with pride that the important woman in their life has been recognised by others for what they have known for years. That they are truly inspirational. So it was at last night’s HSJ Inspirational Women event, which myself and six of my colleagues were lucky enough to attend.

It was the second time the event has been held, and NHS Employers was a key sponsor. I know we were very proud to be a part of it.

The evening itself was one of the most understated yet fabulous events I have ever experienced. There was no fanfare, no role call of names, just a room full of people chatting with friends and peers. HSJ editor Alistair McLellan gave a brief but stirring speech celebrating the women on the list, then announced that copies of the supplement that included the names and biographies of the 50 women, was being circulated throughout the room.

Very simple, very low key, and very appropriate. Because what struck me most of all was the humility of all the women on the list. How they were genuinely humble and modest about their achievements, but also very proud to be nominated. 

There was a genuine buzz in the room as everyone read about their fellow finalists. I didn’t notice one woman on the list going to their own name first.

Genuine cries of delight rang out when a familiar name was spotted. It was a breath of fresh air from the self-congratulatory award ceremonies I have been to over the years in my previous PR roles. I could say so much more, but my colleagues want to share their own experiences of the evening too:

Jaquie Eden James, senior communications officer

I felt very lucky to mingle with so many women who’d gone beyond their roles and delivered work that has greatly improved the lives of their existing patients and colleagues, and those of the future.

I spoke to a good mix of people from chief execs and directors, to patient leaders and a student nurse, and even Naomi Campbell (not ‘that’ one, but equally compelling). Trish Anderson, chief officer from Wigan Borough CCG (nominated for her regular championing of partnership working) told me that she “was all about OD”, so I was quick to point her in the direction of our OD diagnostic tool for CCGs. Result: a new convert! (Especially when I volunteered Paul Taylor’s services, sorry Paul).

Confed’s Karen Castille, herself one of the 50, was a great orator, holding court to all six of us. She lamented Dean’s departure, citing him as ‘my hero’ and the man who kick-started her Twitter career. She also had kind words for Paul Deemer saying ‘there’s not enough of people like him around – a true treasure’.

Finally we were slightly starstruck by the arrival of radio and TV presenter Clive Anderson who was there in a supporting role for his wife Professor Jane Anderson.  Whose line is it anyway? The line last night belonged to Jane and the 49 other inspirational women in the room.

Hanna Murphy, senior programme officer, health visiting, education & training

I like inspirational women. I know a few. I was brought up by one; a strong, generous-spirited, hard-working one. So I felt strangely at home in a room full of inspirational women on Wednesday evening.

What’s the collective noun for fabulous women? A ‘pride’? A ‘movement’? We were proud to be in that pride, to move with that movement. I met nurse of the year 2013, Annie Ollivierre-Smith, who was hoping to make the list. I felt starstruck, and chuffed to join her celebrations when she did.

I was able to say ‘nice to meet you’ to the wonderful Dr Alys King-Cole, who I follow on twitter, and had only previously been able to say ‘nice to tweet you’ to. She is doing amazing things in suicide prevention.

There was some mutual shoe and dress appreciation, lots of laughs and a certain TV celebrity, Clive, outshone by his wife, Professor Jane Anderson, who made the list – he wasn’t even invited to audition for that one!

Adele Bunch, senior programme officer, healthcare science

As I walked into the room, surrounded by inspirational and driven women from across many healthcare organisations, it was hard not to feel humble and proud. As the list was announced and biographies were read, it became even clearer why these woman have been recognised for their hard work and determination, which has led to the improvement of patient outcomes. I was particularly pleased to see Angela Douglas, Scientific Director from Liverpool Women’s Foundation Trust, on the list for her dedication in sharing best practice, highlighting the important role healthcare scientists play in delivering safe and effective care, along with recent work in genomics which is crucial to the future of diagnostics and treatment.

Lorna Weaver, assistant pay and negotiations analyst

Just met a marvellous woman called Yvonne Newbold, along with her very supportive partner and son. She has written the Special Parents Handbook - her account of how she brought up severely disabled son and the effect it had on the rest of the family. Yvonne has recently had her own battles to face as she was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. What an amazing woman. So deserving of her place on the list.

So, lots of different perspectives from all of the NHSE ladies who attended, but all of us in agreement that we came away uplifted, motivated and most certainly inspired.

Frances Longley, communications manager.

Read more about the event and see the Storify on our news page.


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