Grand Awards – Best night out in 30 years

A message from the CEO of the National Centre for Diversity:

What an event our Grand Awards ceremony was!

Now I do admit that when I hit middle age I was no longer the party animal that I once was as a student, and those nights out I did indulge in reduced even further when I became a Dad – the party animal turned into a homely pussy cat, preferring a night in to a wild night out.

That said, the Grand Awards 2018 was just brilliant a night out and everyone that I have spoken to about the event – and that is a lot – has said the same.

We had some fantastic and inspiring speakers such as Sarah Dawes, CEO of Bath Spa Students` Union, Nicky Ensert, Diversity manager at Highways England and Dr Shaid Mahmood, Chair of Governors at Leeds City College.

We also had a surprise act – “SIGNATURE” – as seen on Britain’s Got Talent! They surprised us, mesmerised us and had us all dancing and clapping along. The audience erupted and never came down again.

Then we had the heart stopping suspense of the 2018 Top 100 Index  countdown and our Individual and Organisational awards. Just looking around the room I could see that emotions were running high, including tears of joy and the excitement was palpable – although no doubt there was also some disappointment from those who narrowly missed out on an award.

It was a magical night where some real stars were named and given due recognition of their hard work, passion and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

UK Number 1 Organisation of the Year 2018 went to Huddersfield New College for the second year running – an unprecedented consecutive win.

UK CEO of the Year 2018 went to Lynda Rees from Luton Community Housing. I remember seeing the audience go ballistic as Lynda took to the stage to collect her award.

Principal of the Year went to Emma Johnson, Principal of Oasis Academy Foundry – they also scooped up the award for School or Academy of the Year 2018

UK EDI Lead of the Year 2018 went to Karen Cowan from Ongo, Employee of the Year went to Elaine Ballantyne from South Lanarkshire College, Most Inspiring Individual Award was awarded to Helen Baker from Sage UK, Most Innovative EDI Initiative was awarded to Dan Edwards from Arrival Rail North and the award for UK Resources/ Procurement Manager of the Year 2018 went to Michael Gainlall, from John Ruskin College.

Housing Provider of the Year went to Boston Mayflower – first time winners, having moved up the Top 100 Index from Number 19 in 2017 to number 4 tin 2018 – a phenomenal achievement.

It was also exciting to see that some of our new additions to the award categories were awarded to some new and inspiring faces – UK Retailer of the Year went to international giants Abercrombie and Fitch co. with UK Technology Company of the Year being awarded to Sage UK, with their CEO tweeting:

“So proud of Team Sage for winning two @NCFDiversity awards. @helby28 the most inspiring individual & @sageuk best technology company of the year. #Diversity is one of our core values & to be recognised for that is incredible. #NCFD18”

That was just the start of the fantastic buzz that everyone who attended generated on social media – twitter especially was set alight with messages of congratulations and support to all our winners and there were some fantastic photos as well – search #NCFD18 to see all the excitement.

It was an amazing night – make sure you keep an eye out for future articles from the NCFD Team; as we will be giving you 5 tops tips to get you and your organisation noticed by the Judging Panel for the NCFD Grand Awards 2019.