When I heard earlier this year that I had been nominated by BMA members (British Medical Association) for the Asian Woman of Achievement I was really surprised…It’s my job and as cheesy as it may sound I enjoy the work, the challenges, overcoming the challenges and working with some super people! The professions category was a short-list of six and hugely competitive.
When I got the email in March to say I had been shortlisted from hundreds of nominees I can’t repeat what I said! I was then interviewed by an eminent judging panel in April and asked – who are my role models? who inspired me? what are my greatest achievements? what would I do if I won…and then the wait.
My grandma always said that five fingers are not the same but you need them all to make the hand work – that has been my inspiration for valuing differences be it in the teams I lead or furthering equality and inclusion.
I love meeting new people so I was excited about the awards evening although I became nervous as the day approached and spent the day practising my best Oscar night loser’s face!
My very excited Mum (who had already informed most of Sri Lanka) and my husband (who is a GP) accompanied me to the Park Lane Hilton for the awards ceremony. Full of glitz and glamour, amazing outfits and even more amazing stories of achievement.
I was too nervous to enjoy the lovely dinner! As the award presentations started a part of me wanted to win (competitive me!) and then a part of me didn’t given the daunting experience of having to speak in front of hundreds of people including lords, ladies, politicians and celebrities.
Baroness Scotland introduced the Professions category ‘… these are women who are at the very top of their game’. Suddenly self-doubt began to creep in.
Then the nominees were read out. ‘The winner is…Nicky Jayesinghe…’ Really? My mum stands up, applauding and crying. The rest is a bit of a blur of both shock and euphoria. My acceptance speech started with #OMG!
It was truly an honour to be among incredible women who are all doing amazing things. To be valued and recognised is fantastic and what a way to be motivated.
I am humbled and inspired by the whole experience. As Ghandhi said ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’ – this evening the Women of the Future network celebrated women who practice that daily.
A night to remember! A key to new opportunities to make a difference.
Three out of the six shortlisted candidates in the professions category
Written by Nicky Jaysinghe, Head of Professional Policy Division