Last week on Friday I was lucky enough to attend the Association Excellence Awards ran by the Global Conference Network (GCN) in London. The awards aim to “celebrate best practice and excellence in all aspects of trade and professional Associations.” I work for The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and we were shortlisted for the Best Use of Social Media award for our #9PercentIsNotEnough campaign which launched in 2016.
This year the awards where held at The Hurlingham Club in Ranelagh Gardens in London. The day started off a bit cloudy but later on it became sunny and bright. It was so peaceful around the grounds and made for a lovely post-ceremony afternoon walk.
The #9PercentIsNotEnough campaign was launched last year ahead of the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year (YWE) awards, an annual event supporting women in industry and academia and altering perceptions of engineering as a career in order to attract and retain female talent. Currently, only 9% of the UK engineering workforce is made up of women. Recent research by the IET found that the demand for new engineering recruits remains high whilst the skills gap remains prevalent. Gender diversity is still a huge challenge for the sector; 40% of employers agree that their organisation could do more to recruit people from diverse backgrounds and 60% agree that this would increase the pool of potential engineers (The IET, 2016).
The idea behind the campaign for YWE was to encourage engineers and non-engineers, of all genders, to promote the need for more women to go into a career in engineering. We asked people to take a selfie of themselves with ‘9%’ written on their hand and upload it to social media using the hashtag #9PercentIsNotEnough.
Our campaign enjoyed big success, with hundreds of participants uploading their 9% selfies! This included UK MPs, Robot Wars judge Noel Sharkey (who spoke at the awards), TV presenter Natasha Kaplinsky, and tech reporter Kate Russell (who hosted the awards). Our most successful tweet was retweeted 645 times and had 654 likes. The campaign had 20 million impressions.
I supported the campaign team that developed this project and I was excited to be able to attend the Association Excellence Awards. We sat down to a three course lunch and entertainment from the acapella group ‘The Sons of Pitches‘, who sang their version of Shape of You by Ed Sheeran and a medley of boyband classics. For lunch we had a quinoa salad, chicken with mushroom and potato, and then a chocolate fondant.
We had some photographs taken representing the campaign, holding up hands up with the ‘9%’ stickers – a giveaway for those wanting to take part in the campaign. We did also have some fun with various Snapchat filters and enjoyed the anticipation of the awards. We won a Mark of Excellence in our nominated category, which we were proud to receive in recognition of the #9PercentIsNotEnough campaign. We met BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin, who hosted the awards, and we also took some group photos.
I hope you enjoyed this post about the Association Excellence Awards and the #9PercentIsNotEnough campaign- I really enjoyed experiencing this event!