Introducing Angela Helleur, the winner of first ever Knomo Award. Angela was chosen from a shortlist of 10 applicants which were reviewed by independent judges and announced on International Women's Day.
The Knomo Award was created to celebrate our 15 year anniversary and to create a platform to give credit to women who are both extraordinary and entrepreneurial. We wanted to find an aspirational woman who lives out the Knomo values of integrity and uniqueness. The knomo team reviewed over 200 applications and we were very impressed with all our entries. We will be running this award yearly after this successful first year.
This inspirational lady was nominated by her daughter, who described her mother as her greatest role model as a hard working single mother of two daughters, whilst working her way up through the NHS. Angela started as a nurse, before becoming Improvement Director and Chief Nursing Officer of two hospitals. Her dedication to improving patient care and supporting equality within the NHS greatly impressed the judging panel to select Angela as the winner.
But don't just take it from us, hear it from the lady herself. We asked Angela some questions about her career and to share her words of wisdom for women in the workplace.
- How do you decide what stays and what goes in your busy life?
Now that my daughters are both at university work is a priority for me. I get great pleasure from work so it's not such a chore. Spending time with the clinical teams and with our patients makes a real difference to my day. I do tend to focus on work more than anything else so I've been trying to get more exercise into my day lately!
- What does winning the Knomo Award for Extraordinary Women mean for you?
It was overwhelming to be told I had won, in particular as it was my daughters who nominated me and to know that I inspire them means everything. I was also up against amazing women so couldn't quite believe that I had been chosen. Nursing and midwifery are not always recognised as a good career choice and I know how much most nurses and midwives go above and beyond so I am delighted to have been chosen because of my career.
- Why did you choose your career path?
I decided when I was very young that I wanted to work in the NHS and have never looked back. The NHS is a fantastic employer where anyone can flourish. Throughout my career I have been inspired by many incredible women who have given me opportunities that have led to my development. The trick is not to stay in your comfort zone for too long and take a risk in doing a role that will develop new skills and expertise.
- How important is it that women lift each up and what does that mean to you?
Women are not always that kind to each other and this puts us at a distinct disadvantage, even today there are significant differences in gender equality. Throughout my life it is women who have supported me, encouraged me and loved me so I wouldn't be the woman I am without them.
- What is the most important message you want to send out to young women starting their careers?
I say this to my two daughters all of the time, with hard work and determination you can do anything you want to do. Do something you love and something that gives back.
- What is the biggest issue women face today in their careers?
Evidence shows us that we have a much harder journey to succeed than men. Even in the NHS, there are very few women at Board level. I think we should stop competing with men, support each other and be who we are.
We were pleased to award Angela the following prizes for her achievements:
- The ultimate Knomo travel bag set
- A £200 Knomo gift card for a new Knomo bag, which we also offered to all finalists
- The Fold offered a VIP styling experience and a £300 voucher
- Monica Vinander offered a £500 gift card for their vibrant and unique jewellery
- A £25 voucher for Sweaty Betty, which was also given to every finalist
View Angela's LinkedIn profile for some career inspiration.
Follow Angela on twitter @AngelaH_LGT
Thank you to our sponsors for their generous donations of prizes for The Knomo Award 2019:
- Sweaty Betty
- The Fold
- Monica Vinader
We are proud to be in partnership with Smart Works charity and we donated 40 sample bags to coincide with International Women's Day and The Knomo Award. Read more about Smart Works here.