KATIE BULMER-COOKE: Denise crowned with award

Katie with Denise Wilson

Katie with Denise Wilson

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Last week saw the annual Springboard GEM (Going the Extra Mile) Awards take place at The Roker Hotel, and I was asked to present the awards for the second year in a row.

This year however, was extra special, for two main reasons. Firstly, this year I was not only there to do the presentation, I was there as patron for Springboard. It was a real honour and privileged to be asked to become a patron, as I’m a huge fan of the work Springboard does in preparing their learners for work.

They place huge emphasis on work based learning and as a result produce successful learners who are fully equipped for the work place.

In my opening speech, I said that in my opinion it’s not always about what you know, it’s about how you apply it, and in my experience of running my business this has always been the case.

A wealth and depth of knowledge is great, but if you can’t apply it to the everyday operations and growth of a business, for me it’s pointless and employers are looking for those who are skilled in the practicalities of work, and are strong in a customer facing role.

At the end of the night I was given the exciting task of announcing the winner of the Lifetime Achieve Award, as Trust Secretary, Denise Wilson, who is about to retire from her post after an impressive 38 years of service at Springboard.

It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve got to know Denise but she has certainly made a big impression on me.

She’s a doer, a brilliant leader and she has infectious enthusiasm for her work at Springboard, the learners, the staff and the supporting local businesses...a total legend, and I hope she throughly enjoys her retirement. I know she will be a big miss at Springboard.

Now speaking of being workplace ready, I couldn’t write this week’s column without praising the wonderful girls that work in my pop-up shop. Anji, Elisse, Gabrielle and Leanne are quite simply the most helpful, friendly and enthusiastic people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, and to top it all off they have the patients of saints!

I’m not quite sure which school of manners a select few people in Sunderland went to, but it certainly wasn’t a good one!

I know this can be a stressful time of year for many, but swearing at my girls because we don’t sell bubble bath or people we have a boutique style store rather than a jumble sale is simply not acceptable, especially when I see them going out of their way to provide excellent service.

Manners cost nothing, and I was always taught that you should treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself.

So come on everyone, let’s spread a little more festive spirit rather than seasonal stress!