Donna is delighted to be joined by Alison Edgar MBE, also known as “The Entrepreneur’s Godmother” because of her incredible support of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Amongst her many achievements, Alison has pioneered culture change within her five-star global clientele which includes Sky, Equifax, The NHS, and The Discovery Channel, where she has delivered her world-class ‘Intrapreneurship’ methodology to enhance the development of teams by helping employees to think like entrepreneurs.
Alison has also overcome her own challenges to become the successful author of her Best Selling book ‘Secrets of Successful Sales’ which was recognised by The Independent as one of the top business books written by a woman. She has now launched a new book, called ‘SMASH IT! The Art of Getting What YOU Want’ - something we all need to read!
In 2020, Alison received an MBE for recognition of her long-term work within entrepreneurship and business, and I’m delighted that she can join me today to share her inspirational journey and possibly a few tips for us all to succeed in 2021.
Donna O'Toole is CEO of August, she has had the pleasure of supporting entrepreneurs, business leaders and teams to win the most prestigious awards in the world. Seeing first-hand how receiving awards and recognition has motivated teams, solved problems, supercharged brands and raised their profiles, helping businesses to grow and do even more good things for their employees, their industry and their community.
Hi, I'm Donna rohtul, and you're listening to my exclusive winning awards podcast. Over the years, I've had the pleasure of supporting entrepreneurs, business leaders and teams to win the most prestigious awards in the world. I've seen firsthand how receiving awards and recognition has motivated teams, solve problems, supercharge brands and raise profiles, helping businesses to grow and do even more good things for their employees, their industry and their community. In this podcast, I'll be sharing valuable awards, insights, tips, and inspirational stories to make sure that you get the recognition that you deserve, so that you can go on and achieve your dreams. So what are you waiting for, it's time to start winning. Hello, and welcome to our first in a series of the winning awards podcast for 2021. So after all, the hardship of 2020 It was great to see that the New Year's on this list was dominated by deserving recipients who have used their time and their skills, and their incredible spirit to give back to their fellow humans, their professions that industries and their communities in one way or another, often despite their own personal battles. So just some headlines from the Honours List, first of all, and then I'm going to welcome a very special guest. So out of 1239 honours given a new year, over 65% have undertaken outstanding work in their communities, which was either in a voluntary or paid capacity. So that's over 800 individuals, which is amazing 14.8% of honours went to public sector workers, including medics, police, firefighters, and teachers 10%, which is 123 honours went to our incredible health and social care workers, who we all hugely value, and 9%, which is over 100. So 111 honours went to entrepreneurs and business leaders making an impact on business and the economy. And now many of these entrepreneurs and small business owners actually diverted their resources to help others they use their skills to teach others they created jobs, and they change industries for the better. They innovated, they excelled and they supported others and they kept the wheels of the economy moving in a way that's not just purely about profits. And I'm delighted to have one of those incredible people here with me today. So Alison Edgar MBE is also known as the entrepreneurs godmother because of her incredible support of the world's most successful entrepreneurs. amongst her many achievements, Allison has pioneered culture change within her five star global clientele, which includes Skye Equifax, the NHS and the Discovery Channel, where she has delivered her world class intrapreneurship methodology to enhance the development of teams by helping employees to think like entrepreneurs, Allison has also overcome her own personal challenges to become the successful author of her best selling book, Secrets of successful sales, which was recognised by the independent I was one of the top business books written by a woman. And she is now just launching a new book called Smash it the art of getting what you want something that I think we all need to read this year. So in 2020, Allison received an MBE for recognition of her long term work with entrepreneurship and business. And I'm absolutely delighted that she can join me today to share her inspirational journey with you, and possibly a few tips for us all to succeed in 2021. So Alison, welcome, and thank you so much for joining me today. Our Donna, thank you so much. Like literally, you know, you get up every day, and you just do your best. And all of a sudden, somebody reads, so something like that. And it just gives me goosebumps because last year, I still have that. I wouldn't say I've got imposter syndrome. But I still think wow, I've I don't know that. You know, it's lovely to hear that. So thank you so much for having me on. You're welcome. Well, the thing is Allison, I mean, I see you all popping up all over LinkedIn and everywhere and your reputation precedes you. But for anyone who hasn't followed your journey, can you give our listeners a bit of a whistlestop tour of your story so far? So how did you start off in business? And how did that get you to where you are today? So I think one of the key ingredients to the story is I'm dyslexic, so I left school without any formal qualifications. And I think that's a key element that a lot of people would use new to diversity or different areas and think that that was a weakness. I've kind of always treated it as my superpower and I didn't know how powerful the superpower was. But really, I never wanted to start a business. You know, Donna, that was the last thing that I ever really want. wanted to do i worked in hospitality internationally so i worked in cape town i worked in sydney i worked in the channel islands and it was only when i came back to the uk after six years travelling on my own that i got a job working for bt and the first call centre and it was the first direct mail direct response and they opened it in motherwell and i think taking what i'd learned in hospitality and the fantastic training that they gave me that's what really gave me for my passion to want to be like i love sales i love business and i just it energises me and i took that i then worked for directorates the coffee company and then i worked for yellow pages for 15 years it was and again you know those companies give you some of the best training that you can have in seals and what really inspired me to start my own business was you know having spent 15 years selling media and advertising to small businesses they were fantastic when the phone rang and they were you know they could convey their inbound inquiries but they could not do proactive they didn't know how to proactively sail and you know i'd been taught to proactively sail for all those years so i thought well you know what i'm gonna take my knowledge and my skills and impart that on to small businesses to help change their fates and fortunes and that then led me to you know coming back to awards i'm a huge fan of awards and one of the things that i did when fairly early on in the start of the business was i was shortlisted for entrepreneur of the year award at the gb entrepreneur of the year awards and that's where i met some of my amazing clients so so jordan deakin he was the youngest contestant to win funding on dragon's den i'm friends with some of the apprentice winners atlanta spain so that won the apprentice in 2015 i think it was 16 simon crowe other bands hovers so i've got a sort of an amazing client base and that really comes from awards you know bringing it back to the subject that you talk about and specialise in yeah that's amazing isn't it i mean it's interesting actually i've just come off doing another live events and talking about how awards can help you to raise your profile but also connect you with people i mean there's such great communities there we're actually partnering with the great rich entrepreneur awards this year as well and yeah completely agree i mean fantastic community and they've done a great job of building that community as well to support each other so i think it's really nice to see the impact that that's had on you and helps you to move forward and i'm sure you've helped those people that you've met to move forward i get huge i mean i literally feel like i'm part of their family because they started the awards in 2013 i think it was a year 2013 and it was 2014 that i was shortlist and then i won in 2015 so i won the service category and from that i then went on to judge so i'm one of the judges for them and this year again i really sometimes i have to pinch myself donor i was inducted into the hall of fame but i'm end there with people like well king and all the bar and you know some of the big names can your king cbe and and again i look at it and i've always aspired to do that you know i think if you're going to do anything you just want to do it to your best ability and you know you've got to set goals you've got to have big dreams you've got to sort of go for it and but when it happens sometimes you think wow i have like little is in that room with them and you know what's been really fun you don't want to let people go oh you know i'm really you know your success inspires me and you've done so well if this was claiming a mountain i'm still at the first base camp so much farther to claim and but then you know i think it's just it's about working hard really and having to have a plan but also it shows you as well it doesn't matter how experienced you are through your career that recognition means something doesn't it drives you on it is it validates your ideas and and all that hard work that you're doing every year so it's hugely important and i you know i love to see how it motivates people to move forward so i expect then you couldn't have guessed that you'd have been in the queen's honours list to tell us how you found out about that this year what happened and how did it feel so i mean it's really interesting because a lot of my sort of friends in the business arena have gone on or so never been shy in saying that i would love an order but the thing with the honour system like you can't nominate yourself you can't like there's not like an award ceremony where you can get an external person to write your entry you know is it's just one of those things that you can put out there have really loved one. And you just hope that somebody actually nominates you. And there's two ways. There's like the Fast Track route. So if you look at the Honours List, the birthday ones, the ones that came out in October, so you've got somebody like Joe wicks MBE, or Marcus Rashford. MBE, a lot of the times that you can be a fast track MBE, or, you know, as you mentioned, like people go to for community or service. And, you know, this is the thing I really love about the honours list because Jean that runs the allotments in something called Get one for, you know, services to morrow growing. It's it's a lovely, lovely, lovely thing. And so I didn't know I had been nominated. And I, it was during lockdown. So this was me. And it was the bit you know, that you could work from the office, but you could only work outdoors if it was somebody else can. One was in. And we were sitting outside, and this email drops. And I was like, and it sounds to me, but like, how do you get, I get emails from the cabinet office, I will get like, I've got like, I get high profile emails. So I didn't really think that much about about it. And then it was like, and then I started to cry. And I was like sobbing like a baby. And they get all that work from you then on what's happened have no, no, no, I think I might have got an honour. And she said, Oh, I think I might know, because I was the one that put the thing in. And they phoned me a couple of weeks ago to double check your details. She said, but I didn't know when you obviously it's all very confidential. Yeah. Until anybody so it was lawmakers and agree, you know, considering the year that everybody's had a big highlight. And, you know, I know it is an honour, but it's a complete honour and shock that somebody would recognise the work that I do. And, and it's interesting, you know, cuz you look at, you know, I've always had a decent business that always turns a profit. But sometimes I say to my husband, sometimes I feel like I'm running a charity. Like, you're literally you're the entrepreneurs godmother. Yeah. And I said, Oh, and he said, but our son, that's why you you got the honour is, it's about that effort that you make, to make other people be successful. That's why you've got the honour and I went, Oh, that's so lovely, really to get? No, it's fantastic. I mean, the honest, the honest list is there to recognise and reward people for going above and beyond, basically, and that could be in any kind of environment. And what was really nice last year was that they put in place a new list, specifically for people who had had COVID related support as well to recognise what people are doing with the pandemic. But I always find it quite interesting that I think most people think that Queensland is just kind of dropped from the sky somehow. And that the Queen just happens to know what people out there are doing and says, Oh, yes, I have that one. And that one, and it doesn't work like that. And there is a nomination process. And there is specific criteria to fulfil. And you know, it is there for people who are going above and beyond in different areas. And I think because the media always focuses on the, you know, the really high profile names like Joe wicks and you know, people like that, and the sports people and the actors, the actresses and then you know everyone else out there guys, why don't get why they've got it, why did they get in all they do is appear on EastEnders or whatever. But actually, a lot of those people are going above and beyond behind the scenes with their own charity work and things like that. But the other thing is, and and what I think is probably been important for you is, it's about being inspirational, and influential, and being a good role model. Because the more people we can hold up in high esteem and say this person is a great role model. And this award demonstrates that then the more we can encourage other people to do similar good things. So it is meant to be like a virtuous circle and driving good positive impact and you're someone who doesn't listen, without a doubt. You know, and you are the entrepreneurs. Mother, I love that. So it's really funny because people say, How did that name come from that, you know, how did you become the entrepreneurs godmother? And what happened was, and again, I suppose this does feed in to maybe why I got that, you know, I don't know what was in the InChI that I do know that I was actually you know, speaking to go all that had nominated me. It'd been in for three years before this. Yes can take a long time. It wasn't a quick thing you know, and what used to happen the government in sort 2014 15 There was government funding to fund the work that I did with entrepreneurs and startups and small businesses, and the pool the funding, and that's when I thought, well, I have to, I have to pedal even faster now for these guys, because they're going to have less money. So how do I really, you know, how do I help them? That's all, you know, to me sales is quite a straightforward process. But if you don't know the process, you don't know what you don't know. So how do I get that to them? And that's where that's why I wrote the book. That's why I wrote secrets of successful sales, not because I wanted a book, but I knew is a low cost value to get my message to as many people as I could. And then, you know, as a result of that, what was was happening is I needed a different brand. So I've got sales coaching solutions, which is the stuff like that's the training arm that works with teams. Then you've got the other arm, which was to work with the entrepreneur. So I've got one of my little entrepreneurial friends, Ross Butler, is the naughtiest boy donor and we he's very creative, he makes genomics but was Jen and I phoned him up and I went, look, I need to name our snare girl. It's like you know, just not get that. That valve of anywhere up. It's really easy. You're the entrepreneurs godmother. I so I'm trademarking that one. darlin, it's all about me. So I did. And it sort of started can when I Googled God's mother, it means a person of influence in someone's life or organisation. I mean, how apt is that perfect, it does see you. So drawn, it's funny because people go well, is it like the fairy godmother? And I see it depends. It depends how well behaved you've been sometimes it's like you get a horsey head in the bed. It's like that. Things if you've been good or not, so is that balance between the tiara and the ward and the horse, and the beard? expectancy, and it's behind you. I love it. Allison, I think it's great suit. She's so well, she was so warm, and lovely and easy to connect to, as well. And I'm sure that entrepreneurs you're working with, you know, especially over the last year, have, you know, found that a real godsend. So, yeah, I mean, as far it's been interesting over the last year that I've got, like a little pack, so there's like the pack that I've been have been with me and again, they're all like, they're all fairly young. And some of them are in lockdown on their own in their own little space. And, you know, I've gone out of my way to kind of make sure I'm touching base with them, like all the time everybody's okay. But that's kept me going as well. One of the things I think I've missed most about not being able to get out and like do the speaking at events or, you know, do as much training as I had been was a mess business conversations. You know, like, the great thing about these, you know, like, like Ben tears is 21 years old, is already done a multimillion pound merger and his business and he's just literally got VC fund and got funding of 850 grand. So like nearly a million pound in funding the boys 21 years old. He is amazing as an amazing and you know, the brilliant thing is, it's I see myself, obviously I'm slightly older than 21 are. But when it comes to a conversation, a business conversation, we're on the same level, it doesn't each has no boundary in there. And that's really like although I'm the entrepreneurs godmother, you know what they're big supporters of me and I found if I'm doing any changes in the business, and they're the first people that I run it past as well, that is a real mutual connection rather than just, you know, a mentor or whatever. We're really good friends and it sounds a wee bit weird, but we kind of call ourselves the misfits because we're like 80s and you know it, but it works really, really well. Fantastic. Do you know what though? I think I'm just talking about this actually. So I think we're gonna have we're having an entrepreneur's revival now, Army because we're coming out of this situation with people having to cope with very difficult situations, losing jobs, etc, and actually realising that, I think I think a few years ago, people thought they were really safe in a job if they had a job as opposed to run their own business. And now I think that's the whole pandemics kind of flipped that on its head, and a lot more people have realised, well, actually, I've got these skills I could take take this and do this for myself and start my own business now. So I think we've got I think we've got a younger generation coming up as entrepreneurs quicker than ever before, because of the likes of social media and Tik Tok and all of those things. One of my daughter's actually she's 18 and she's got all these side hustles all over. So you know, she makes jewellery she does journaling. She does all kinds of digital media kind of social things, but People, and that just wasn't available. You know, when when we were younger, you you had a market stall or you made something and that was it. And so that combined with a pandemic, I would imagine that that young audience, you've got actually will really benefit going forward as well. Yeah, I think so. And if you look, you know, things have changed, the world has changed. And, like, I'm not a fan of the side hustle. You know, as that, you know, you're especially like, at the moment, there's like people on furlough, and, you know, they, they've got time to really set something up. And you know, when people say to me about what's your top tips, when you start a business, and it will always have a revenue stream. So if you're thinking about starting a business, don't jack your job and to do that, because the first few months will probably be taped to bring revenue in. So make sure that you've still got revenue. But if you're sitting it on fire law, and you don't know that, you know, the future, you've got two choices, you can either just sit and wait for maybe to get your job back, or you could be starting to make a plan now to start a business or change a career or just do something differently. And I think that's, you know, one of the things coming back to the intrapreneurship stuff, and the entrepreneur, you know, what's the common denominator between people who are entrepreneurial, and people who are keen to make change, it's definitely growth mindset that I'm good at that. I don't care if I feel if I feel that's brilliant, because I'll have learned something from it. But what I'm not going to do is I'm not going to miss opportunities in my life. And that's where I see, you know, reading the entries, you know, coming back to awards and things, like for Entrepreneur of the Year awards, some of the ones that when those events is not, they've not got the biggest turnover in the world. But the story is amazing. They've done something out their comfort zone, they've done something to, you know, inspirational. So again, bring it back to owners, it's not always about having a multi million pound turnover. And you know, that kind of, there's a lot of, especially on the internet this whole, would you like to run a business and have six or seven figures? Do you want to be a millionaire, and a lot of money with me. And it's like, that is so not what it's about, you know, you can actually set up a business. And I think there is no such thing as an easy route to market to make a lot of money. It doesn't work like that. The only people that get money, are the people who tell you it's really easy, and they take your money, and that's how they make their money. And then it becomes a big pyramid. So, you know, I would watch out for that anybody that thinks it's going to be easy is absolutely far from the truth. Yeah, and I think with with, certainly with awards as well, something I've noticed more of in the last couple of years, is recognition for entrepreneurs who are being more altruistic. So they're being creative, and they're coming up with ideas that aren't just purely about profits. And actually, they're more than that they're about having an environmental impact or having a social impact, or, you know, in some way, making a change that is better for customers, or employees or whatever that is, but actually making some kind of difference to the world. I think that knows massive because if you look again, as a judge of awards, like I'm looking to see what the CSR policies are, you know, what? Corporate Responsibility, how does that impact? And, again, coming back to the amazing being terrors, like his new business to horror is an app to build communities in business to help mental health for employees, not just young people, but all we use and how do they actually engage using the app? And I think that's where, you know, we need that now, I think that's, that's an expectation as an employee in an organisation is, you know, what is the policies around that, you know, the provision around those those areas? Yeah, it's definitely everything's changed, hasn't it? Everything has changed. I think the landscape, what we expect, what we can expect from our employees, what we need to give them what they can expect, that flexible working, you know, all of that is, you know, in some respects, that the positives coming out of the pandemic, or that kind of collaboration and caring about each other more as human beings, not an employee or a member of staff, you're a heat another human being, we're all we're all the same. I mean, I think it's been really interesting because like coming from a sales background, I was in sales. So I have never actually worked from an office. I don't even know the last time I would have worked from an office because I always work from home or in the car. And, you know, I pop in for the board meeting and things like that. So I've always had that sort of culture, although my business is a small business, like one of the girls is working from Portugal, the other one works from home. But they've always done that if I'm in the office, because we've got a home office, they'll come in, but if I'm in London, or I'm with clients, they've always just worked from home. So it's interesting, why other organisations didn't do that before and I think a lot of that was a trust. issue? No, yeah. And you didn't give people the choice that it was this, you know, my way or the highway. And I think what the pandemic has done, it's it's opened the world up to different ways of working, which work better or worse for some people. But that's an organization's duty to work out. Each one, as you see as a person, not just like a, you know, blanket management. Exactly, exactly. Now, you know, it used to be when I, my children were younger, you if I was working from home, I the guilt, like, you know, and you just knew that your employee didn't trust, you know, that you sort of hide them away as if they didn't exist, because you didn't want and now it's it's so much better. So I think, I think for mums, you know, that's a great thing as well. But that's, that's a whole other conversation. So tell us, Allison. So the difference between the kind of intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial methods, and I know, you work with teams, and you work with entrepreneurs, how does that work? How do you sort of steer that for intrapreneurs versus entrepreneurs? So four years ago, and I think I mean, nearly 10 years ago, not quite, maybe nine years ago, I was asked to pitch to for one of the, one of the UK's largest retail stores, right. And I knew the head of HR just through, I was afraid of his neighbour. And he said, look, we've got some concerns over our customer service, we don't know if the concerns big enough that we would pay money, invest money to do any training, but let's have a little chat around it. You know, what can you do to improve the customer service in our retail stores, which is something like 1000 throughout the country? And I thought, Okay, what did the top performers do? So I have to revisit what I know. So I know that the top performers always run their role as though they run their own business. So you know, the, they do things. They go the extra mile, not because somebody tells them to but the team that prayed that the it's their business, and they're a part of it. So I thought, right, okay, this is this is a nice concept. How do I teach that? So I had to sort of have a look. And what I did was like, what would I do if it was my so that was this sort of umbrella of the content? What would I do if it was my first D. So the thing with that is, when you're on your business every single day as your first day, you know, you can't get on the wall. I'm not doing that today. You're not born here we go another day, let's make a difference. And but then if you're an employee in a job, there was a recent survey, a Gallup poll that said 85% of people heat for job, not just don't like the job hate their job. Whereas actually the 15% that love it feel like it's the wrong kind of thing. So it was what would I do if it was my first day? Then the next part was around how the the treatment customers internal and external customers, and this particular store, the service was dreadful, like literally, there was no eye contact there. It says like, Ah, so it was like, what would I do if it was my granny? So the next part of the concept was, what would I do? If it was my granny? Like? Would you take your granny to a will number two and pick up the flower and do all that you would, you wouldn't see your granny go over the year, we'd ask so many people, especially in a retail environment, they just set them off. And then the third side was what would I do if it was my business? So looking at the sustainability, look at the CSR looking at that, again, it's not that you should work a lot of hours, you know, don't don't work yourself, like ragged, but be more accountable and autonomous to your team and what you do in your team. You know, if it was your business, would you sit there and just chat to your friends all day and not serve the customers? You wouldn't? You know, you just, you couldn't, because that you just wouldn't have a business at all. So I thought, well, this concept is brilliant. And a big, big organisation asked me to speak at one of their events, but not talk about sales. I thought, Oh, we talk about sales. Like, I don't really know what I'm gonna talk about that what and what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna bring this, this content back out again, it needs a name. So I had everything and I thought, well, what's this? intrapreneurship? What's that all about? And I thought this is new intrapreneurship. You know, it's like entrepreneurship. It's all quite a new concept. Tell you what, Donna, the white paper on intrapreneurship was written by a man called deferred pension, the thought in 1978. I know. It's amazing, isn't it? So I just sort of piggybacked off this white paper and the concept of took my concept of what would I do if it was my and as we are, you know, really getting people to think like entrepreneurs to make decisions like it's their own business usually leads to them doing the right thing rather than potentially doing the wrong thing. And that again, you know, by everybody thinking like the run in their own business, but all rowing the boat in the same direction, and it makes people but much more productive, much more accountable, much more, you know, prepared to work together as a team. So Touchwood I've been delivering that with a lot of big companies, and I was due to be in Brussels in March 922, speak to 600 people at the European Commission on the same subject. But unfortunately, that didn't happen. So we're waiting for whenever it comes back. A shame, but it is a great Scott, it is a great concept. And I love it. And I think, because I do run my own business, I think when you do you know, the love that you have to put in? And, you know, I'm very lucky to have a brilliant team who do go above and beyond. But yeah, definitely, we've all been in that shop, haven't we, we've been sent off to whatever I we can't actually find a wonder if it didn't exist in the first place. And, and it but it's always the most simple concept as well that you do the best, isn't it? And then make a test. And I think a lot of that comes back to the dyslexia Donna, because the way that I retain information, I have to have it processed as easily as possible. And, you know, for some people, they go, oh, you know, blah, blah, blah, it should have been a higher like your concept on that. But actually the people that work with let's take retail, for example, the people that work in they don't understand management speak. No, if I talk about like, my version of time management is Allison Edgar's big balls. And I talked about the basketballs, the tennis balls, and the ping pong balls. And if I talk to them, they go, Ah, I really get that, you know. So for example, you know, like the basketball might be that you go into a retailer, and you're looking for a packet flower. And that's your basketball. Whereas actually, the person that stack in the shelf, they've been told they need to pack that before they go for the lunch break and your packet flower, is there a ping pong ball. And again, this stack in the shell. So that's your ping pong ball. And that's how things go a mess is the disparity of the balls. And people go, Oh, yeah, look at that house. And it was big balls. But I do believe that parts of the superpower have dyslexia, that it's easy for me to translate her, I think, into ways that other people understand. And if you found it, you use it. And that's Yeah, exactly. That's what it's really nice to hear you talking about your dyslexia in that way, as well. Because for you know, for for many years, before now, it was something that was overlooked or wasn't diagnosed, or, you know, just people didn't know about and now this, you know, like you say conditions like that can be used to strengthen what you're doing by simplifying and bringing it to life. It's perfect, completely. And you know, it's really interesting, both my children are dyslexic, and both of them have applied for jobs this week. So their own one was on furlough, one had to move like round the uni and coming back. And so that for me is for employment. And one of them filled in a form and I said, What did you put for the device? The diversity box? Did you tell them that you're neurodiverse? Did you check that box? And he said, Yeah, yes, ma'am. I did. Yep. He said, Because it said on the thing, if you check this box, you'll get an interview. And I thought, boy, there you go. And the both diagnose, they both get their, like, their cards that they can wave with as the other one. And I said, What did you check for that box? And he said, he said, I'd rather not comment, I'd rather not okay. And I thought, that's a to me, that's the all skill stigma. You wouldn't want anybody to know that you had dyslexia or autism or whatever it was, in case you were discriminated against, actually, I think knows that as a world, we positively discriminate not not that all of you tick a box, you should get a job. But I think there's more knowledge around it. And like companies like EA, I mean, they've got like big organisations are actively seeking out Dyslexics for the skills that they bring to the party. Yeah, no, absolutely. I think and that's the way it should be. Because we're all different. We're all special, in some way or another, we're all different in some way or another. And it's understanding, understanding yourself, isn't it and where your strengths lie. And confidence as a young person is how it depends on your, you know, what your experience has been of how people have responded to you? Yeah, definitely. And I think, I mean, we do think definitely we do problems. Also, when it comes to like writing awards or winning awards and things. We can always find an angle to include in an award entry that Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, my favourite question when I'm judging presentations is what's your biggest challenge? Because I don't I don't know you don't engage so much with the stuff that goes really well, all the stuff that's really easy. We what we engage with as humans, and as judges, human judges, is the stuff that's really challenging and that you're having to overcome, whether that's once or day by day or However that is you've got to overcome it to then get somewhere. And you're such a great example of that answering them, you know? Absolutely. And it's great that you talk about it as well, because it gives that open forum for other people to talk about it. And yeah, absolutely, it's usually positive. Thank you, Donna. I mean, one of the things that's quite interesting because like even on my LinkedIn profile, now, I'll see dyslexic author and I put the dyslexia at like, near the start of my bio because what was happening even when I use the tools the Grammarly the audio, check out everything, like not always the grammar do aku does it make sense? You know, the things maybe it doesn't read properly? And you know, the vile comments, well, why would I ever want to work with you, you can't even put a sentence together like all that complete and utter vile torture that you see on social media that I feel that, you know, I do have to stand up for people to meet, to be aware that that he is not acceptable to speak to somebody like that, just because they struggle with dyslexia or grammar or spelling doesn't mean they're stupid. But actually, they bring a lot to the car. And actually, that behaviour is not acceptable. So, and I think that that is in every angle of life. No, isn't it that you have to stand up in and be counted and speak up? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Because if we don't you know, who's going to? So no, it's great to see you doing this and, and I'm gonna I for one will be getting the next book and enjoying it. So, okay, so great. That brings us to kind of 2020 So obviously, it's been a tough year for a lot of people. Lots of companies pivoted and you know, transformed digitally, lots of companies stopped and started again, and we're creative. What, what kind of changes have there been for you? And then just sort of finally how what do you think people or entrepreneurs can do for themselves now going forwards to help them to, to strengthen up ready for another year? So I think that, for me, I was I had geared up, I pushed my career in the direction of speaking at live events. And that's that's what I wanted to do and really loved it the backstage getting the content out. And of course, that was like, just closed down. And I think things though, there's obviously virtual events that people are having, and but I think people will still ramp up to get ready to go back to live events, when that will be I don't know. But what we did was we've obviously done virtual events. We also did webinars, and you know, what everybody was doing things for free, I thought I can't do things for free, because I've got a team to pay, like, I didn't follow them. And I chose from our to help their mental health and stability and structure that I decided not to follow them. So everybody had to work. So I had to add to find work to pay for them. And I think that really helped. But I think again, from a leadership perspective, you do you know, you're you're leading them to give that example of what works and what doesn't, and how, like to get what you want, bring it back to the book, you know, you have to have that structure in that tenacity. And, you know, how does that fold into entrepreneurship? And when in events? I think it is, you know, what, if you entered an award, and I've got an example whatsoever, I can't go into too much detail, but I did enter an award for the boot camp, see, you know, I can see a little bit about it. So it was for the book. And I was absolutely gobsmacked because at the time when the book didn't when it already had been a WH Smith top 10 business book, it already been an independent talk book written by a woman, it already had been an international bestseller, it ready had five like over 105 star reviews on Amazon. And you know, it done better than I expected. And when it came to the event, the book wasn't shortlisted. And I, again, incredibly interesting, because as a judge of event, I had written the application, through my story, really, you know what I'm the diversity that I've overcome, and all the other bits and pieces that I gauge as a good entry when I judge. And the book wasn't shortlisted. And I was I was absolutely fuming, Donna literally and and I think one of the things with that was, I had to get some feedback as to what the thought of the book and what as it turned out, they hadn't read the book, and so that you never judge a book by its cover by the cover, the anci and the flick through the book. So I had again, I think it's a choice that I could either be mad and I was mad, but then I had to rational with myself, well hang on a minute, they've never actually read the book. So that's not our personal judgement on me or anyone else. And I think that's the same of anybody that's listening and they feel that they should have won an award. It's What has he learned from that? So I think that I've learned that I won't enter that award again, because there's work if I'm, if I'm going to put it in, I'll check the criteria. Yes, here what the criteria is, before I enter, to see, you know, whether it is relevant for me or not relevant for me. But I think that, again, a lot of people would have been really put off by that experience, and it may have stopped them from writing another bit. And if you, you know, if you really believe that your message is strong, and that you've got something to offer and help other people with, it's your job to step up to the mark, and put yourself out there. So I think that's, you know, that the lesson really is, you know, no matter what's going on in 2020, with your business, you know, don't let it like take you in, let it let it find the strain, and the positivity, and actually just put your foot on the accelerator and put it on the brake to be able to make that difference to help other people. Yeah, and that's what we've been saying as well, I think, in the awards industry, in general. There's been real change has been gross, a lot of awards took in more entries than they ever have done last year, and they really didn't know how it was gonna go. And that is because I think people are realising that in order to strengthen their brands and to, you know, to exist in the next few years that they need to put themselves out there, you can't keep hiding behind your brand name, you've got to be strong. And actually, a lot of what we do with awards is we is actually helping people to put themselves in the right competitions at the right time, so that they do actually do better, because when I said about us, but when I'm judging, I'm not judging award entry. And I think, Wow, that's amazing. But it doesn't fit this category. So I can't make it a winner because it doesn't fit. And then of course, those people don't win. And then they go away and just saying, Oh, well, maybe we weren't good enough, we weren't good enough, you just weren't quite fitting for that particular category. So when we do try and educate and share knowledge about that kind of that kind of information, like you're saying about the criteria and things because gosh, is never give up ever. You know, if you're going to give up on yourself, then no one's going to believe in you. So you have to put yourself forward. I completely agree. And again, I think it is interesting that I think is that self belief, isn't it? And that's one of the things like entrepreneurial people just can, no matter what's happened, they dig deep. But again, sometimes if you're in a role, or you know, it's easy for you to give up. And if you if you're thinking like an intrapreneur then that's where that tenacity will come from. Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you very much, Allison. It's been really really interesting learning your story and finding out more about it. Congratulations again, on what amazing start to this year. And I hope to see you win live events are back back on stage rocking it as always. We can't we I bet Well, we'll see that but say and see you and awards awards ceremony soon, I'm sure. Thanks for having me. Thank you for listening to this episode of my winning awards podcast. If you enjoyed it or found it helpful, please share it on Twitter and LinkedIn. And if you have any questions, please head over to crafted by auguste.com where you can find out more about winning awards and contact me. On the website. You can also take our free awards test, which will identify your award strengths and tell you how likely you are to win. I really hope you've been able to take away some ideas today so that you can go ahead and win awards have an even bigger impact on the world and achieve your dreams.