When Wellbeing Escapes were approached to support the Women of the Year Lunch and Awards, held on Monday 14th of October, I must admit I didn't really know much about the organisation. On looking further, I discovered this wasn't the usual "Women in Business" type of set up, as in one that celebrates women's achievements in the business world, but was in fact one that seeks out, recognises and celebrates women who use their talent and abilities (be that their head for business, their courage, their compassion, or their creativity) to dedicate themselves to helping others.
Women of the Year have been shining a light on these extraordinary women for 60 years. There were all kinds of women from all walks of life there; social campaigners, volunteers, charity founders, orphanage builders, doctors, nurses, organ donors, pianists, rock-climbers, and bake-sale enthusiasts - all incredible women whose purpose is to make a difference to our world, to give back. I was absolutely honoured that Wellbeing Escapes, who are passionate about women's health, were invited to celebrate their milestone celebration with them.
At the lunch, I noticed that the women there were glowing with vitality and the kind of strength that comes from an inner sense of wellbeing. This wasn't about being assertive and taking on male characteristics in the corporate world, but about dedicating themselves to a humanitarian cause that they feel passionately about. There have been studies showing that people who give and care for others are happier and healthier - this group of women certainly illustrated that.
Formidable women such as Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Lulu, Sandi Toksvig OBE and Chief International Correspondent from CNN, Christiane Amanpour were either part of the organisation or showed up to present the awards. It was a privilege to see such high achievers celebrating a group of incredible women who had overcome difficult circumstances to help others.
Some highlights were:
Christina Noble, Women of the Year Prudential Lifetime Achievement Award
Christina had a tragic childhood in Ireland. This drove her in later years to dedicate her life to helping children out of poverty and she founded "The Christina Noble Childrens Foundation" in Vietnam and then on to Mongolia. Her organisation helps over 10,000 street and abandoned children a year. No wonder they call her "Mama Tina" https://www.cncf.org/
Jack Monroe, Women of the Year DFS Enterprise Award
This young lady lived in Southend as a single mother and was faced with the prospect of feeding her toddler on a budget of £10 a week. This led to the creation of her blog www.agirlcalledjack.com where she posted recipes and used her creativity to create nutritious meals for her and her son within her budget. She is now an active social campaigner and highlights the desperation and humiliation that many of Britain's poorest people are facing.
Fahma Mohamed, Women of the Year Good Housekeeping Outstanding Young Campaigner of the Year Award
Fahma made news when she launched a successful Guardian petition to Michael Gove reminding him of his responsibility as Minister for Education to protect young girls against the barbaric practice of "FGM" - Female Genital Mutilation. This teenager has helped highlight and tackle the "denial" that the authorities had in this country about FGM. An amazing young lady, who oozes charisma and whose eyes sparkle with resolve and determination. http://www.theguardian.com/society/video/2014/feb/26/guardian-fgm-petition-campaign-video
To find out more visit www.womenoftheyear.com