Rising Stars attend the Utility Week Awards 2021

The 2022 cohort of Rising Stars attended the postponed Utility Week Awards 2021 in London at the Grosvenor House Hotel in March – a highly regarded event to celebrate excellence within our industry.

Following the awards being postponed in December 2021, it was great to be able to reunite with my fellow Rising Stars at the re-arranged awards, as well as being able to get dressed up and return to normality with a large in person event.

Having never attended an awards evening like this before, I was unsure what to expect, however any expectations I did have were exceeded. Located in the heart of Mayfair, I was in awe of the venue on arrival; numerous star-studded events have taken place at The Grosvenor House Hotel and it felt surreal that I had been invited to a prestigious event like this.

All dressed in our best glad rags, we made our way to the Ballroom for the drink’s reception, before being shown to our table. The table was hosted by the Institute’s President, Bob Taylor and Chair, Catherine Fearon. It was fantastic to be able to speak personally to Bob and Catherine about their careers and invaluable experiences within the industry. As well as hearing about their pivotal roles that they play being on the Institutes Board of Directors. It was lovely to be able to enjoy this experience with them.

We were treated to a tasty three-course dinner, which was then followed by some evening entertainment before the awards presentation began.  

Much to everyone’s surprise and delight, the awards were presented by stand-up comedian and television presenter Dara Ó Briain, who is best known for hosting Mock the Week, Blockbusters and Robot Wars, and many more. He had the entire venue in hysterics from his quick-witted humour about the utility sector – I am sure you can imagine the jokes that were made given some of the industry’s current climate!

There was a total of 14 awards, which covered Innovation, Customer Experience, Collaboration, Net Zero and Team of the Year just to name a few. With the most prestigious Utility of the Year award also being awarded.

The Industry Champion award was the first award to be given. This was awarded in memory of Audrey Gallacher OBE. Audrey sadly passed away in January of this year, she had served as Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy of Energy UK. She received an OBE for her outstanding contribution to the industry and it was inspirational to hear of the legacy she has left that has directly benefited consumers.

The entire evening was truly inspirational, and I felt extremely lucky to be in a room surrounded by like-minded people in the utility sector who are committed to going above and beyond to help and improve customers lives; it was great to celebrate the stories and achievements from the nominees and winners over what has been a tough and unsettled year.

I have worked at Anglian Water for 5 years so I was excited but nervous that we were up for the biggest Award of the night; Utility of the Year. We were up against some tough competition such as UK Power Networks, Octopus Energy and SPN. I couldn’t believe it when Anglian Water were read out as the winners! I was thrilled and felt so proud to work for such a fantastic company. It really did top the night off for me, from what was already an amazing night.

As the award presentations came to a close, the celebrations began, and we were treated to live music on the dance floor and a casino where all money went to charities such as WaterAid and supporting the crisis in Ukraine. 

It was so much fun to mingle and network with people across the sector that I would not usually get the opportunity to do so, as well as being able to enjoy an amazing evening out with my Rising Star’s cohort. We enjoyed the face painting, ice cream stand and dancing the night away until the early hours, celebrating what was an incredible opportunity for all of us.
It was such a memorable experience, one that I won’t forget.

Thank you to the Institute of Water and Utility Week Awards for the invite and for such a brilliant night!

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