The Marie Collins Award.
At the time, I was going through a tough time. In one of those places where no matter what you do to improve the situation, it doesn’t.
Anyway, when Sam reached out to me on Twitter. I remember thinking…you wanna talk to me? She was like well, yes lol. We were going to the same networking event (do you remember those?) And says, shall we travel together? I was like…well, ok.
I remember meeting Sam for the first time. I was like. Oh my god, she’s beautiful. And, I’m like a rag-a-muffin beside her. Thinking she’s going to be like…Nice to meet you…see ya! I didn’t know then this glamorous blue-eyed blonde would become one of my closest friends.
Over the years, I have learnt a lot about Sam. She’s grounded and real. She has an amazing gift when it comes to people. Like an insight, if you will. She’s helped and supported so many people that there are too numerous to mention. So, it isn’t surprising that the Women’s Inspire Network is such a success with Sam at the helm.
It hasn’t been a smooth road for her. It’s been full of ups and downs. And unfortunately, she has had her fair share of bullies. But, she has stayed strong and true to herself. And has never wavered.
Rolling forward a few years.
It’s truly inclusive, warm, supportive and educational. And a safe space to share your difficulties, ask for advice and share your joys. With now over 400 members from all over the world.
She wouldn’t be able to run the network and conferences all by herself. So, over the years she’s built an amazing team around her. One of her founding team members was Marie Collins. Marie was a beautiful woman. She always had time to help and a warm welcome. She had the biggest of hearts and friendliest of smiles.
A little story of how Marie helped me.
I was taking part in the #win17Dublin conference and needed to send in my logo in.
I didn’t have one. Panic hit me. No matter what I couldn’t for the life of me get it together. I think it was nerves. No fear, Marie came to rescue and designed my logo. Just like that! I was amazed. And, thankful. I still use the logo Marie designed today.
I met Marie in person the night before the #win17Dublin conference at the Radisson Blu.
By-the-way, if we ever get back to “normal” and there’s a #win conference come along to the pre-conference get together. It is the best fun! The night is always filled with warm welcomes and laughter.
Meeting Marie was a fantastic experience. Her smile and warmth would lift the most miserable face. I remember walking into the hotel bar, nervous as hell. With Marie striding over to me her arms open. She gave me the warmest hugs and said, don’t be so nervous, everything will be fine. She was 100% right.
The feedback from the speaker gifts was fantastic!
But to our hearts disappointment, Marie passed away suddenly a few weeks after the conference.
With the next, Women’s Inspire Network Conference coming up in Galway.
Sam took the conference to Galway, Marie’s home county. She wanted to create something special to honour Marie’s memory. And, the Marie Collins Award was born. The award recognises members who encapsulated the kindness, support and warmth shown by Marie. And, are made with love and in memorial. Each stroke of the pen is with her smile and warmth.
I am honoured that Sam asked me to inscribe these awards. Calligraphers are generally not the first port of call. Most would go straight to a graphic designer or printers. But, Sam wanted an award that would stand out from the rest. Something that would be meaningful and cherished.
If you’ve never been to a #win conference. I recommend you do! Doesn’t matter if you are a business owner or not. Big or micro or if you are working remotely from the kitchen table.
You will enjoy every moment. They are fun, high energy and full of learning.
Last year, the #win conference went global and online. It was a huge success! Members to join from everywhere around the world. It was absolutely fantastic, a great experience.
I’m really looking forward to the next conference being held on International Women’s Day, March 8th 2021. The topic is about refreshing your perspective and opening your wings to soar.
Would you like to come along? Get your ticket here #win21Refresh and let’s celebrate International Women’s Day together!