In 2016, thanks to the help of a number of amazing supporters and sponsors, WeAreTheCity ran its Rising Star awards programme for a second year.

The aim of the awards was to identify 100 future leaders and role models under, management level, across 20 different industries. After more than 800 nominations and an intensive judging period, we finally arrived at our shortlist and opened the public vote.

The public vote resulted in over 27,000 votes from across 110 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 100 winners and celebrated their awards alongside our sponsors at a ceremony hosted by Barclays.

We spoke to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

We spoke with to Ellen Hartley, HR Business Partner at Barclays and winner in our Rising Stars in HR and Recruitment sponsored by Twenty Recruitment Group. 

Ellen Rising Stars 2016
Ellen please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?

It’s been bit of a whirlwind since winning the award! I’ve found the support of the other winners and my colleagues at Barclays incredible; the whole experience has really opened my eyes to some of the other fantastic things people are doing across different companies, and I’m really pleased to have expanded my network further. I’m currently talking to some of the other winners about how we can work together to continue what we’ve started, build further awareness of Diversity and Inclusion and use our experiences to support others – watch this space!

“Winning the award has also opened more doors for me, it’s increased my profile internally and across the industry and I’m now starting to get involved in loads more, which I’m loving. There is a lot that we can individually achieve, and even more so together – I’m looking forward to what comes next!”

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

  • Don’t wait for someone to give you permission, take ownership of your own career, try new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone. A small idea can have the biggest impact, you just have to believe in what you’re doing and give yourself the permission!
  • Make the most of your network, I didn’t realise how many people were interested or already involved in the things that I’m so passionate about. There are some truly inspirational people around us, you just have to ask, and you’ll be amazed at what you learn.

Next we spoke to Julie Thomas, Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing Manager at Zurich Insurance plc and winner in our Rising Stars in Diversity category, sponsored by Aon. Julie Thomas Rising Stars 2016

Julie please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?

“My career has absolutely soared since winning the Rising Star for Diversity award in June. It has been the most amazing platform for me personally. Winning seemed to unlock a confidence that I never knew I had and since June I’ve been asked to present at both internal and external events on my career journey and also Zurich’s approach to diversity and inclusion. In September I hosted a panel discussion with industry experts on wellbeing and also appeared at the DiveIn Festival on a panel talking about mental health. My company has been incredibly supportive and I’m about to go on media training so I can be spokesperson on diversity and inclusion (officially), as I’ve already done a few press interviews now.

I guess the absolute highlight has been that I’ve just been promoted and am going to lead diversity and inclusion for Zurich Group, so my remit will now be international. This is an incredible step up and amazing recognition for me. I’m hoping I can now be an inspiring role model for other women looking to achieve success in the insurance industry.”

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

“Build your network. Your network is you career life-line – your future manager or mentor could be part of your developing network, and it gives you huge pool of experience and expertise to pull on if you have questions or problems you need help with.

Look at non-traditional way to develop your skills. I became a Girl Guiding Leader back in May 2015 as I wanted to develop my leadership skills whilst being able to influence young women and be a mentor at an early age. As well as leadership, I’ve really improved my listening and coaching skills.

Don’t be scared to change paths. I was sure I was going to be in communications until I retired but then I took a leap into HR, working on diversity and inclusion, and it reinvigorated me completed. I found a new passion for work and that energy has turned into the results I’ve seen today. Yes, it takes time to upskill again but it’s so worth it.”

Source: WeAreTheCity Information and jobs portal for business women