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Leading Wales Awards – what happened next…

In 2013 Director of New Directions Social Care Sarah Blackmore was a finalist for the Leading Wales Awards in Cardiff. This week she was approached by the team at Leaders in Wales to reflect on what the process meant for her and her career since that time. Take a look at her thoughts…

What did being shortlisted for or winning a Leading Wales Award mean to you?

I felt incredibly proud to be nominated and recognised as a leader in Wales. When shortlisted in 2013, I had been in my role for a couple of years and we had experienced a lot of challenges and obstacles. As a manager, you are constantly striving to deliver results and achieve company goals and budgets, whilst developing a team to achieve their full potential. Social Care recruitment is a tough, yet rewarding sector and to be recognised was validation and a celebration of my own personal achievements as well as my team.

Could you write a short blog “how winning/being shortlisted for a Leading Wales Award helped me, my career, business, professional development, staff” which we can then publish on the Leading Wales Awards website?

When I was shortlisted for the Leading Wales Awards, the overwhelming sense of pride was the starting point of a new phase in my personal ambition. As a proud Welsh professional with a voice in my own community – it was an opportunity to start what I can only describe (without sounding too outlandish) as a revolution for leaders within my own organisation.

Leading Wales was a signposting opportunity not only for me, but for others within New Directions. We took the criteria from the awards and all the successes of the winners in 2013 and developed a new perspective on our own teams’ professional ambitions.

Say it out loud ‘Leading Wales’ – for every ambitious organisation in our brilliant and unique nation – this is what we want to become. Thought leaders, innovators and business champions, within Wales and beyond. Since being shortlisted I have realised the potential of the business I have the privilege to direct. When the Leaders in Wales panel met me last, we were a small business with an office in Cardiff. Since that time, we have opened offices in Swansea and across the border in Bristol.

Our staff have developed too – we made some great connections during the process, and as a result our team have a commitment to continuous professional development. Over 80% of our staff have obtained a new qualification. Promotions have become a reality for those who have joined our small revolution and want to embrace the challenge of making our business a leading social care recruitment organisation in Wales.

Above all the Leading Wales Awards helped me realise my own ambition, personally and professionally. It shone a light on what was possible if I invested my talents into our organisation even further.

I would wholeheartedly recommend that any organisation considering participating in the Leading Wales Awards do it. Dive right in and see what opportunities it could afford you and your business.

Specifically, please include in your blog if being shortlisted or being a winner helped you drive further success as a leader for you and / or your business or organisation? (i.e. was there a tangible impact for you?)

I was raised with strong family values and was always told as a child, to work hard and do the best that you could. I have continued to strive to better myself to make my family proud and to be a role model to my daughter. Being a part of The Leading Wales Awards process allows you to meet inspirational people; you learn more and continue to evolve. It provides you with a forum to share best leadership practice with likeminded passionate and professional individuals. Since being shortlisted, I continued to improve my leadership and management skills by completing a few more qualifications. I went on to be nominated for an Investor in People award and I won New Directions Sales Manager of the Year in 2015. I have since been promoted to Director of Social Care and continue to drive further success for me and my team.

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