In 2015, thanks to the help of a number of amazing supporters and sponsors, WeAreTheCity ran the first of its Rising Star awards programmes. The aim of the awards was to identify 50 future leaders and role models under a management level across 10 different industries. After a staggering amount of nominations and an intensive judging period, we finally arrived at our shortlist and opened the public vote. The public vote resulted in over 15,000 votes from across 112 different countries and galvanized amazing support from our nominees’ networks, their companies, the press, as well as our own sponsors and supporters. After a final judging process, we identified our amazing top 50 winners and celebrated their awards alongside our sponsors, friends and supporters at the House of Commons in September.

First, we speak with Annie Zaidi, Leicester City Football Club who was one of our winners of Rising Stars in Sport, sponsored by Ladbrokes.

Annie, please tell us what has happened in your careers since winning the Rising Star awards back in September?  

Annie ZaidiSince winning the prestigious Rising Star award 2015 things have been crazy but a good crazy. A few weeks ago, I sadly failed my UEFA by 7 marks. Failing this prestigious coaching award felt like someone had ripped my heart from my soul and I was tempted to throw in the towel and give up. Then reflecting back and staring at my Rising Star trophy, I realised that quitting is not what successful people do. Again reflecting back made me realise that even though failing hurt, I need to get back up stronger and more determined than ever, so now I’m working twice as hard to prepare myself to be reassessed.

I am currently still going to QPR to coach the U21’s, which I love doing and don’t mind the M1 rush hour traffic.

Also since the awards, I have been invited to North Wales to help inspire and empower young girls into realising their potential, to prevent them from early teen pregnancies and risk of being excluded. In two days, I coached 77 girls and now they want to appoint me North Wales Patron of Sports (the first in the making).

Last week I won Sky Sports Inspirational Helen Rolloason Sportswoman award 2015, which was broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 & Sky 1, where I also received a personal message from David Beckham. You can watch this here: 

So what top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

  1. Don’t allow barriers other people put in front of you to become your barriers
  2. Don’t quit at something you love no matter how many times you fail, it makes you stronger and hungrier to succeed
  3. Focus on the journey, not the destination on your path to success

Next, we talk to Alicia Millar of Reed Smith, one of our winners of our Rising Stars in Law, which was sponsored by Reed Smith.

Alicia, please tell us what has happened in your careers since winning the Rising Star awards back in September?  

There was a lot of publicity at Reed Smith for a number of reasons – three employees were nominated for a Rising Star award; the award was in honour of Lynne Freeman and presented by Tamara Box, partner for Reed Smith – all amazing publicity for the company and our amazing women. Since the awards I have been showcased by the company’s internal comms and have featured in our external social media/web PR. I have also been listed in Brummell magazine as one of their Inspirational women in Diversity and Inclusion. I have also been nominated for another award which recognises my achievements.

In terms of giving back, I have nominated others for awards and have connected/shared insights and best practice with others who are just starting out on their diversity and inclusion journey. The key thing is receiving such generous support and recognition from outside the firm and outside the UK.

So what top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

Always do what you know is the right thing to do, always push at open doors and knock politely at any that are closed – they often only appear to be closed.

Don’t restrict yourself when it comes to allies and sponsors – your biggest influencers can often come from the most unlikely places.

Own your success and be genuinely grateful for praise received – this was actually the biggest thing I took from Vanessa Vallely, MD at WeAreTheCity – own your success and your achievements, don’t give them away!

What else? There’s no such thing as “just doing the day job” when you are looking at your value and worth to an organisation and in measuring your performance/success/potential, but the extra mile can be just one small step. 

Finally, we speak to Vinita Ramtri of Barclays who was one of our winners of the Rising Stars in Investment Management category sponsored by BNY Mellon.

So Vinita, what has happened since winning your Rising Star award in September?vinita ramtri

Since the awards I have been featured internally on Barclays intranet and have done more public speaking. I have also signed up for LifeSkills created with Barclays which plays a crucial role across local communities, to help inspire the next generation when they move into work and create a better future for them. I am looking forward to my first assignment, which will hopefully be later this year.

So what top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

  1. Keep good company. ‘Look for three things in a person, intelligence, energy and integrity. If they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two.’ Warren Buffet
  2. Stand up for what you believe in. ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’ Martin Luther King Jr.
  3. Always, find your own answers. Look around for inspiration but when it’s time to act; sit back, think and dig deep.

WeAreTheCity would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of our Rising Stars for sharing their successes with us. I am sure you will agree they are all achieving amazing things and offering sound advice to future Rising Stars.

We look forward to featuring another 3 of our rising stars next week. Please note our Rising Star programme for 2016 opens on February 1stclick here for more details and to register your interest in our awards. More detail will be posted to the site during January.