Welcome to #TRVSTLOVES. We curate news, ideas, and inspiration from across the world that demonstrate how real action can accomplish a positive social impact. This time we’re looking at several women in business awards and highlighting influential women who go out of their way to inspire others.
In early March, the finalists were announced for the Women in Social Enterprise Awards, and so we were keen to keep an eye out for the 2022 winners who were announced later in the month. The annual WISE100 list is created by Pioneers Post and collates the top 100 women who have developed social enterprise businesses and are all very worthy of such a prize.
One that particularly caught our eye was Laura North from We Speak. Laura took the “Star of the Future” prize (which we love as it recognizes women who may be fairly early on in their careers but are already making significant change happen).
Laura set up We Speak to address an important and probably overlooked issue: improving public speaking skills for young people from under-represented backgrounds. Public speaking can be a powerful skill to master and a huge confidence builder. With We Speak working directly with schools, universities, and companies, we hope Laura continues to grow We Speak and give people the power to use their voice.
Another worthy mention is the winner of the social business leader of the year, Kim Rihal, from Equal Education. Kim’s business was labeled by Pioneers Post as “the only social enterprise tackling the deeply entrenched problem of educational inequality.”
We took a look at Equal Education, and we can see why Kim was deemed a winner; the company aims to ensure that “no young person is disadvantaged, sidelined or disempowered by the circumstances of their upbringing.” Equal Education is already fully established and very action-driven; they’re building alternative teaching communities, providing tailored tuition, and empowering tutors to deliver teaching programs. They’re well worth learning more about and have a live blog for those interested.
Women in business awards offer a chance to celebrate and showcase some of the brilliant and innovative work taking place that we might not otherwise have an opportunity to learn about. But if you’re a woman in business yourself, or you know someone who deserves special recognition, what are some of the best awards to enter in 2022?
According to CEO magazine, Women in AI is one to consider. This particular award takes place in Europe, North America, and Australia/New Zealand and looks for women pioneers who are “taking the road less traveled; the women who are paving the way for others to reach even further and to dare to dream even bigger.”
If you’re wondering what a Women in AI winner looks like, check out Briana Brownell, who was the North America winner in 2021. Briana’s story is fascinating; her interest in AI grew after discovering self-reference; she uses the example “I am the sentence you are now reading,” which inspired her to consider whether she could write an algorithm to duplicate self-reference in the same way our minds can.
Other noteworthy awards mentioned by CEO Magazine include Campaign’s Women Leading Change Awards for Asia-Pacific and Women in Technology Awards, but it’s definitely worth checking out the complete list.
At TRVST, you probably already know we’re a big fan of Ted Talks, so we were really keen to share this collection of women inspiring women talks collated by Prime Women.
We were particularly drawn to the rather well-known Brené Brown. Her first Ted Talk in 2010, The Power of Vulnerability became immensely popular (currently with 57 million views!) and is still referenced regularly today.
Brené breaks down the myth that vulnerability is somehow a weakness and should be something we avoid showing or sharing. This can be especially poignant for women in the workplace who perhaps find it easier to show vulnerability but then feel immense feelings of shame once they have let their guard down.
This leads to Brené Brown’s second Ted Talk mentioned in this collection, “Listening to Shame.” Here, she talks about the shame she felt after her first Ted Talk went live and how she overcame those feelings.
Another talk from the collection that is well worth mentioning is Dame Stephanie Shirley’s “Why Do Ambitious Women Have Flat Heads?”.
Overcoming adversity from an early age, Dame Stephanie escaped the Holocaust at five years old and came to the UK, where she went on to be a successful tech entrepreneur in the 1960s. What made Dame Stephanie’s business special was that she employed women in roles that would have always previously been considered a “man’s job.”
She set up a software business for women programmers and talks about how during this period, she hit the “glass ceiling” for women far too often: she regularly referred to herself under the pseudonym “Steve” to be taken seriously. In fact, if you Google her, you’ll find she’s mostly referred to as Dame Stephanie (Steve) Shirley!
Rather interestingly, Dame Stephanie pioneered the idea of flexible working and working from home, the importance of which we are all too familiar with given the recent pandemic. When you consider that this was the 1960s, you can see that she was truly ahead of her time.
Sam produces our regular #TRVSTLOVES where she seeks out inspiration, news, and ideas from across the globe that both highlight and celebrate how actions can make for social and environmental change.
Sam is passionate about seeking out small businesses that are implementing remarkable and exciting projects to tackle the climate crisis; she enjoys exploring how their innovation will help change the future of our world.
A degree in English Literature from the University of Southampton has given Sam the research expertise to share and contextualize stories around innovative projects, legislation, and changemakers.