As nominations open for this year's awards, Alex Paske shares with us her journey from nominee to winner in last year's Women of the Future Awards.
I have recently enjoyed my first insight into the wonderful world of Pinky Lilani’s Women of the Future network and awards programme and what an incredible journey it has been!
I am the Founder and Director of Mintridge which harnesses the power of positive sporting role models (including Pamela Cookey and Drew Sullivan amongst many others) to increase sports participation, support talent and enhance life skills in young people through direct and remote mentoring programmes. It is simply the best job in the world!
The Women of the Future Awards, founded by Pinky Lilani CBE DL in 2006, were conceived to provide a platform for the remarkable female talent in the UK. The awards recognise the inspirational stars of tomorrow across diverse sectors. They are honoured to have HRH the Countess of Wessex as their Global Ambassador, Cherie Blair CBE as the WOF Awards patron, and Sir John Peace, Chairman of Burberry as Chairman of the Awards judging panel.
Previous activities that I have pursued have been met with passion and enjoyment but I lacked a certain belief in myself, however I feel that this has changed with the confidence I have gained through my Mintridge work. This is highlighted by the fact that I nominated myself for one of the Women of the Future awards after being introduced to the programme by one of my ambassadors, Danielle Brown MBE.
Shortly after submitting my application, I couldn’t believe the news that I had been shortlisted in the sports category amongst some incredible female athletes and would soon be joining the Women of the Future team at Aviva in London for the judging day.
Pinky Lilani CBE DL focuses on kindness and collaboration; she has created a wonderful network that I can work with to boost the progress of Mintridge as it grows.
I have been able to meet the rest of the shortlist and alumni at the wonderful array of events that the Women of the Future team host which even included a fantastic reception at Buckingham Palace. Apologies must go to the residents of Stamford that endured a few excitable screams when a letter marked with ER fell through the letterbox!
15th November became a very special day for Mintridge as we celebrated our 100th programme with Olympic Gold Medallist, Crista Cullen at Akeley Wood School in the day and in the evening, I was jointly awarded the Sports Award with Dr Sarah Leiter at the 2017 Women of the Future Awards in association with Aviva, held at the Hilton on Park Lane. The judges said that both winners in the sport category stood out as phenomenal role models and ambassadors for their profession.
In November 1997, I picked up a hockey stick, fell in love with the game and fell in love with sport. I immediately made my goal to play for England. In November 2006, following trials, I didn’t make the U16 England squad and in turn suffered incredible lows, injuries, depression and even fell out of love with hockey. My biggest love of all had become my own worst enemy. In November 2017, I was presented this incredible accolade in recognition of the work that I have done to use my experiences (both positive and negative) to empower the younger generation. This award is the England Cap that I dreamed of and never received. Always follow your dream, but don’t be afraid for that dream to change.
Pinky says to find something in life that is more important than you and devote your life to it, I hope that through Mintridge, I am doing just that.
Nominations are now open for the 2018 Women of the Future Awards. More information on the competition categories can be found on their website. Nominate yourself or woman you know who inspires you and those around her, it's a quick and easy process and very worth doing! To find out more about Alex Paske and Mintridge head to our Launch Pad.