Inspire Awards 2021 - Voting closed on 26th September
The purpose of these awards is to inspire Guild members and CLC students by acknowledging and highlighting the contributions made to society by the varied and talented membership of Guild.
We received many high calibre nominations and it was very difficult to shortlist the nominees. All nominees have made a significant impact in their field or contributed in a distinctive way to improve the lot of those less able to help themselves.
The shortlist contains four nominees in each category: members aged 30 and under and those over 30.
Guild and Honorary members may vote only once in each category. When voting, please consider the nominees’ actual achievements. These may include:
- overcoming personal adversity
- championing a charitable cause
- achieving outstanding academic or professional success with significant benefit to the community
- driving environmental or social change
- being a pioneer or achieving success in a challenging field with societal benefits.
Voting opens on Friday 10th September and will close at midnight on Sunday 26th September 2021. Please encourage fellow Guild and Honorary members to vote (members must be known to us and have a record on the Guild database).
Results will be issued in the Guild E-Newsletter in October and interviews with the winners will be in the November edition of The Slab.
Thank you for your support with this new award.
Sam Culhane (Ashworth, 1984, Farnley Lodge)
Chairman of Guild
Please make one vote per category, only your first vote will count and be verified with your email address (as recorded on our database of Guild and Honorary members).
INSPIRE AWARD - SHORTLIST:
Eleanor Porritt – Humanitarian Aid worker with The HALO Trust (2007, Glengar)
Frances Scott – Gender Equality Campaigner (1980, Roderic)
Nandini Basuthakur – St Hilda’s East Trustee (1987, St Helen’s)
INSPIRE AWARD (30 AND UNDER) - SHORTLIST:
- Agnes Collier - Entrepreneur/Social Enterprise/Volunteer (2013, St Clare)
- Anna McLean - Adventurer/Fundraiser for Gender Equality (2013, Glenlee)
- Claire Utomi - Consulting/Student/NGO Associate (2019, Sidney Lodge)
- Tabitha Boyton - Founder and Editor of Res Publica/Journalist/Law Student (2019, St Helen’s)
INSPIRE AWARD - SHORTLIST BIOS:
Ele has forged a career in the charity sector and is currently Programme Manager for The HALO Trust in Sri Lanka, a non-political and non-religious registered charity which removes debris left behind by war, land mines in particular. Her sense of purpose is invaluable, as are her enthusiasm and steadfast belief in doing the right thing.
In her current role, Ele supports over 1,200 men and women clearing minefields every day. So far this year the teams in Sri Lanka have destroyed 8,000 mines.
Previously she has selflessly committed to The HALO Trust’s programme in Cambodia as Location Manager and then Operations Manager https://www.halotrust.org/latest/halo-updates/stories/world-humanitarian-day.
Over 64,000 casualties and more than 25,000 amputees have been recorded since 1979 from exploding mines in Cambodia alone. In 2019, the teams which Ele managed in Cambodia destroyed over 10,000 mines.
Ele is moving on to be the Programme Manager of HALO’s Iraq team in October 2021.
Manual de-mining is meticulous work. Contaminated land is divided into grid squares, and checked metre by metre using a metal detector or ground-penetrating radar and a variety of excavation tools. Depending on the terrain, an individual de-miner may clear between 10 and 50 square metres a day. Once a mine has been detected and identified it is destroyed.
The rigour and precision required to do this dangerous task ensure that, when the land is handed over, The HALO Trust can be absolutely sure that it is free of mines so locals can use the area for agriculture and provide for their families without putting themselves or their livestock at risk.
Ele was previously with The Springboard Charity which supports people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to overcome barriers into employment and gain the skills, knowledge and experience needed to improve their confidence and job and career prospects in the hospitality, leisure and tourism fields.
In the hundred or so years since women won the right to stand for election over 5,000 MPs have been elected but only 557 have been women. Currently there are two times more men than women with seats in Parliament. At the last general election only 12 extra women were elected: at this rate, it will take until 2060 to achieve gender equality of representation.
This matters because representation shapes policy and although men can represent women, there is plenty of evidence that men tend to listen to women’s concerns better when there are more women in the room.
Frances set up 50:50 Parliament in 2013. She would like our democratic institutions to draw upon the widest possible pool of talent and experience, including that of the 32 million women who live and work in the UK. She believes that men and women should plan the future together and that a 50:50 Parliament will produce better politics and more informed decisions.
Despite gaining less initial support than she expected, Frances worked to promote 50:50’s name. It was not easy and in 2017 she felt close to giving up after losing her husband. But after eight years of campaigning, it is now a given that there should be gender equality in Parliament. On #AskHerToStand Day, November 21st 2020 the Prime Minister and other leaders made videos endorsing 50:50.
50:50 is the leading national campaign working with all the political parties inspiring women and providing training to those who want to progress in politics. Over 2000 women have clicked #SignUpToStand and many have gone on to be selected and win seats.
Frances spoke at Ted X Brighton in 2019, was named as one of the 100 most influential women at Westminster in 2020 and 2021, and has been short-listed for a National Diversity Awards 2021.
Other organisations have been set up to promote women in public life but Frances was the first to campaign for women to have equal numbers of seats and an equal say in Parliament. She fervently hopes that this might happen in her lifetime.
Jenny has been a volunteer for Riding for the Disabled (RDA) for 19 years, being involved with the Berkeley Vale RDA group in Dursley and previously at the Summerhouse Equestrian Centre Group.
RDA riders suffer from many different syndromes and physical disabilities. Some have learning disabilities, some are autistic; some riders are fairly independent while others need significant support and guidance. Riders include both young children and older adults. Over the years, riders have entered many RDA competitions and some have competed in the National Championships at Hartpury College.
Jenny’s original role was as a helper with the group, which involved preparing the horses for the riders, ‘side-walking’ during the ride, and being responsible for helping and supporting the rider. She is a trustee of the Berkeley Vale group and has been Group Secretary for ten years, requiring her involvement in the following regular tasks in dealing with all the paperwork connected with the riders and volunteers;
- DBS checks
- First aid qualifications
- Safeguarding requirements; and
- Restarting of activities safely in 2021 when pandemic restrictions were lifted.
Jenny also arranges the agendas for the Trustees’ meetings and the AGM, writing and distributing the minutes.
There is a surprising amount to do to run a small RDA group but Jenny finds it very rewarding as the riders derive so much pleasure from their rides which stimulate them mentally and physically and make a huge difference to their lives. She recalls an autistic teenage boy who, before his ride, would pace around constantly, but afterwards would stand beside his horse with his head resting on its neck, a very touching sight.
This is why Jenny has readily volunteered for 19 years in support of this very worthwhile local charity. She has made a significant impact in improving the lot of those less able for a very long time.
Working alongside Nandini as a trustee of St Hilda’s East over the last eight years, it has been evident that, in her capacity as a trustee, as Treasurer and latterly as Vice-Chair, she has had a transformative effect on both SHE’s board and the organisation as a whole.
As St Hilda’s East celebrated its 130th Anniversary, we as a trustee board have had to discuss, debate and address specific challenges such as determining our purpose and how we should evolve in order to continue to meet the needs of our community, as well as establishing our succession plan for key individuals and how to deal with the wider challenges facing the sector in general, such as local government budget cuts and safeguarding of vulnerable beneficiaries.
Nandini’s passion, dynamism and leadership qualities have played a critical part in navigating and overcoming all these challenges: she has a clear vision for St Hilda’s East with Guild at the heart of its culture and heritage. She has diversified the board of trustees and the senior management team by conducting an audit of the various skill sets, recruiting individuals with specific and complementary skills and experience in order to achieve the future strategy.
Finally, Nandini has personally encouraged and assisted trustees to develop new skills by establishing sub-committees to focus closely on key areas such as financial and personnel, digital communications, and stakeholder engagement.
As a consequence, St Hilda’s East has positioned itself as a well-governed, financially-sound, relevant and ambitious organisation, with links to Guild which are stronger than ever, but without compromising in any way the wonderful culture and values that are so prevalent at St Hilda’s East and make staff, volunteers and the community so loyal and supportive.
Nandini has worked tirelessly over a sustained period of time to help St Hilda’s East arrive at this point. She has demonstrated that all of this can be achieved whilst being your genuine and authentic self.
INSPIRE AWARD (30 AND UNDER) - SHORTLIST BIOS:
While Agnes was at College, aged 13, she suffered a severe spinal injury in a car accident in which she lost her mother. The accident left her paralysed and with only limited movement in her arms. Described at the time as ‘truly remarkable’ and with extraordinary determination, Agnes completed her time at College and went on to study for a business degree at Pearson College, London.
While studying she became Managing Director of a social enterprise scheme, Once upon a Doug, empowering women in farming communities in India. Having finished her degree, Agnes set up her own natural skin care brand by Agnes while also volunteering at The Prince’s Trust.
From a personal interest in essential oils, Agnes overcame the daunting task of learning all the benefits and properties of natural oils and has established her own all-natural skincare brand making facial oils from essential oils – by Agnes. Not only has she created the product but has overcome the sizeable challenges of establishing a viable business to promote and sell her skincare range which is available on line at https://www.by-agnes.com.
Once upon a Doug supports women farmers in India where income from cotton farming is unreliable and insufficient to run their households. Not only does Once upon a Doug provide training, a more reliable income and funds for the local community but the women also gain an increased sense of confidence and independence.
With the commitment of its volunteers, The Prince’s Trust is able to offer a support network to young people who are facing significant barriers to employment, education or training. As a Prince’s Trust volunteer, you need enthusiasm and a desire to help which Agnes has in abundance. In volunteering, Agnes is part of a supportive community coming together to transform the lives of young people.
Agnes has shown great determination in forging her own life but, more than this, by running a social enterprise organisation and volunteering to help others, despite personal adversity. This determination to lead a normal life is admirable because it challenges the public perception of people living with disability and is an inspiration.
Anna is a Guinness World Record-setting rower who rowed 3,000 nautical miles across the Atlantic with her brother, demonstrating the importance of Gender Equality. Launching the #sameboat campaign the pair were a living embodiment of just what can be achieved when men and women pull together. Battling for 43 days at sea, the monumental physical, and mental challenge raised £25,850 for UN Women UK, helping to build a sustainable, prosperous, and empowering society for women and men globally: a true inspiration on all fronts.
The Seablings were the world’s first ever sister and brother team to row any ocean. Anna and her brother Cameron competed in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, known as “The World’s Toughest Row”, 3,000 nautical miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua. It took the duo 43 days, 15 hours and 22 minutes, spending more than six weeks at sea in a tiny rowing boat. Even after years of arduous training and survival preparation, this was a true test of endurance as they rowed in shifts, two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep the boat moving. Unsupported in the middle of the ocean, overcoming waves over 60 feet, stormy conditions, seasickness, equipment failures and confined sleeping quarters, they found this challenge was as technically and mentally tough as it was physical. Throughout this incredible and inspiring adventure, oars as well as gender stereotypes were broken in putting to the test what it truly means to be in the #sameboat.
Anna and her brother raised the profile of Gender Equality supporting the charity UN Women UK - the UN organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. Anna became a global champion for women and girls in accelerating progress on meeting their needs worldwide by implementing standards focusing on:
- increasing women’s leadership and participation;
- ending violence against women;
- engaging women in all aspects of peace and security processes;
- enhancing women’s economic empowerment; and
- making gender equality central to national development planning and budgeting.
Claire is a third-year undergraduate student studying business at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and taking engineering courses because she believes in the intersection of disciplines in order to innovate and solve problems. Claire has a passion for helping others to realise their potential and wants to create an environment for Nigerian young people to train in the interim, whilst pushing forward institutional reform in Nigeria’s education system.
Claire believes that education is one of the most pressing issues that needs to be dealt with in Nigeria and she is part of the founding team of a youth-led, non-profit organisation called BUILD Nigeria, where she is currently the fundraising manager and future think tank director. The stated aim of this group is to democratise access to world-class colleges for low-income, first-generation and high-achieving Nigerian youth.
The organisation was formed to improve access to quality higher education opportunities for under-served Nigerians. It does this primarily through operating a “cohort” programme. This provides low-income students with access to comprehensive resources and tutored guidance through the process of applying to renowned universities and securing admission and financial aid.
Claire was also the co-host on the Nigeria History Series run by the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), which is a not-for-profit leadership development institute, established to equip generations of young people with the values and leadership skills to enable them to make lasting contributions to society. The Nigeria History Series creates a forum for discussion, and opportunity for the younger generation and professionals to engage with key historical players from Nigeria’s top industries, such as former Managing Director of Nigeria’s largest and pioneer brewing company, Nigerian Breweries, Felix Ohiwerei.
Additionally, Claire also continues to volunteer for Lagos Food Bank, tackling food insecurity and providing sanitary materials and clothing for women and children in underprivileged areas of Lagos, Nigeria - basic commodities needed before people can embark on education.
All these initiatives are part of Claire’s determination to provide greater access to education for talented but under-served Nigerians.
Tabitha experienced misogyny and chauvinism in the form of sexist discrimination and plagiarism in and outside of her professional life. Instead of giving in, she reflected on her own experiences and the strong women of CLC, and determined what resources and platforms were missing for people who wanted to voice their opinion freely, but struggled to find a platform to do so.
This motivated her to build and lead a team of women in establishing Res Publica (RP), a magazine and digital platform with the goal of breaking down the binary divide between ‘diversity of ideas’ and ‘diversity of individuals’. Her focus is to make politics accessible and understandable to everyone, thereby ensuring informed debates can be had at all levels.
Tabitha overcame a plethora of challenges in establishing RP. She feels that the support she had of women helping women across generations and cultures is the greatest advantage and aspect of setting up any project. RP has published writers and academics from Stanford, Oxford, Northwestern, Columbia and countless other universities, building an engaged readership from over 90 countries. RP has been awarded a High Commendation by the National Student Publication Association Awards. Tabitha was a semi-finalist for Cartier’s Women Initiative and is a Member of the European Youth Parliament.
Tabitha is proud to be an advocate for female empowerment and women’s rights, exemplified in her new initiative, “Your Stories” on how our community has been affected by pertinent topics in order to understand them in depth and use them to inform, educate and inspire. The first topic is “Persisting Patriarchy: Tales of Toxic Masculinity”.
Tabitha worked pro-bono for STRIVE, law diversity network, the Edict legal clinic, and Pacific Chambers. At university, she was the youngest president of both the law and politics societies, a Student Ambassador, and part of the TedxNCHLondon Committee. Above all, she deserves to be recognised for her commitment for her tenacity, philanthropic instincts and public-spirited goals.