In the next edition of our 'What's inspired you?' column, Global editor-in-chief of Campaign, Claire Beale reveals how "basking in the glow of some of the properly good people" was a source of inspiration.
When I get old and have made some money I will pass the early months of every year gently pootling about somewhere warm with good pastries and strong coffee and tables to sit in the sunshine reading books.
Until then I shiver in London. But I did spend one gloriously warming day last month hunkered down in 44 Belgrave Square basking in the glow of some of the properly good people. And it was as nourishing and uplifting as a day in the sun tracing the swell of the sea.
I was judging the IPA’s Women of Tomorrow Awards. So now you’re expecting me to go off on a stream of hyperbolic platitudes about how brilliant everyone was, and how our collective future is safe in their hands. I could do that; everyone I met that day was tremendously impressive - after all they’d made it through a rigorous shortlisting process and had seen off some formidable competition to make it through to the final.
Yet what I found most inspiring about the best of these women - young and, encouragingly, not so young - was a quality that must not be captured by the usual platitudes. It was an honesty and an authenticity that has been far from ubiquitous in our industry as I’ve observed it over the years. These women had every reason to peacock their achievements, to put on a show for the judges, and to slip into sales mode to press their case.
Instead the more impressive of them sat before us simply as themselves, no showiness, with a clear-eyed acknowledgement of their strengths and weaknesses, and a genuine passion to succeed but only on their terms and to their principles, and if it means they can lift others up with them.
Talking to them was so deeply refreshing and genuinely inspiring that I left what could have been a long and gruelling day with the sun shining inside me.
Claire Beale is Global Editor-in-Chief at Campaign
Claire Beale was also Co-Chair at the Women of Tomorrow Awards 2018, which celebrated extraordinary female talent at an awards ceremony on International Women’s Day (8 March) at The May Fair Hotel in London. You can hear from Claire, as well as the rest of the judges in the winner's videos.