Getting an OBE (and how you can too)

On Saturday I officially received my OBE — not yet from the Queen but it was announced in HM 90th birthday honour’s list, I go get the actual thing at some point in the next six months, (unless my dreams are to be believed and I miss the ceremony due to unforeseen diversions).

Being me and documenting most of my working life in social media I felt compelled to write, but had no idea what to say.

Being a woman, I think it is a gender specific trait, I felt slightly ashamed, uncomfortable and guilty because so many others deserve acknowledgment for all the great things they do, and also those who helped this whole kids and coding movement.

But my forever-devil-conscience Cindy Gallop once more whipped me into stepping up for other women and girls, so that everyone feels that everything is slightly more possible, and my guilt was stuck in a vortex of unforgivable ‘damned if I do, damned if I don’t…’

But then tonight I discovered who put me forward for this honour, and suddenly I feel it is OK to write something.

The lady who put me forward has been my mentor and friend for quite a few years. She has seen me through the tears, the despair, the highs and elation, the uncertainty and the bewilderment. She has also put me on public stages, given me tequila (or ribena, depending on the moment) and she has even involved me in work she is doing that is far more high fallutin’ than my endeavours.

By knowing who put me forward I can feel comfortable knowing that it is from someone who actually knows what it takes to really follow your heart and refuse to accept the status quo, or size of the mountain of success. And I know she meant it, she really meant it.

Another message that resonated was one that said the following…

Kudos to Alice Bentinck Mike Butcher Matt Clifford Saul Klein Emma Mulqueeny Wendy Tan White Sarah Wood for the kindness, talent, and hard work that led you to be in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list today!

And the word that has hit home the most with me this year has been kindness. (Talent (should read blag and attitude) and hard work — I am not ashamed or embarrassed by the hard work side of things, so that’s OK.)…

But kindness from my benefactor got me this OBE and kindness from the community brought Young Rewired State to reality. So kindness really is the quality that I hope drives most people to go above and beyond their day-to-day obligations to family and work.

I am not going to blah on about how hard it all was, or sad refrains of evenings lost to work (like this one!), we all know stuff takes work.


How can you get one? Or how can you nominate someone?

So the day before it was announced I got an email, that I obviously made everyone in the office read because it was suddenly getting real (you don’t know that it is actually going to happen until this point, you just get a guarded note that says you have been proposed and accepted to be put forward by the PM to the Queen, but say nothing and expect nothing).

A part of the email I will leave at the end of this post as my mic drop, they first congratulate you, the first official notification you get that you are in, then they warn you of press queries and finally — this is the important bit, they say this:

We have been very pleased to see an increase in the number of awards to women in recent years. If you felt able to help us to communicate this message, it would be very kind if you might signpost to www.gov.uk/honours to encourage more nominations. Everyone knows someone worthy of recognition. But they won’t receive an award unless someone nominates them!

#kindness Pass it on…

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