It’s Sunday morning the weekend after my company’s award celebration and I still can’t believe it even happened to me.
I remember from last year that the Individual Winners were a big deal. For some reason only two of last year’s 10 stuck out in my memory and those two were for good reason: They were both close coworkers of mine (though not on my team) and both of their bosses gave incredibly moving speeches about their work.
This year, I was nominated for – and then damn if I didn’t win – that same award.
Now if you know me, you probably know I have absolutely zero problem being the center of attention… but only when I’m being silly, ridiculous, funny, or making people laugh at me.
When it comes to being the center of attention for serious reasons I start getting anxiety.
Usually I can deal with it by taking control of the situation so I’m good with leading meetings full of high ranking people or presenting to large groups. I just have to get over the first 3 minute hump and then I’m good.
But Thursday night was not in my control. That was a good thing – thank GOD I didn’t have to present a speech. But my boss did… about ME… which meant that I got anxiety around noon and it didn’t go away until 7:30 after I accepted my award and took a photo with my boss and the CEO.
In the end my anxiety was, as usual, completely pointless and the night was *perfect*.
Cody and I checked into a resort and I got zipped into my gorgeous dress by Keepsake The Label. We had some champagne, called an Uber, and arrived literally at the perfect time!
I grabbed wine and hung out with my boss who prepared me for where I was on the list of winners and took a super awkward and probably hilarious prom-style photo with JP, her husband, and Cody.
Then we made our way to dinner and the award ceremony began – before salads came out but while I was on my second martini, so good timing if you ask me because I was relaxed but not cocktailed.
My boss was the last person to present the Individual Awards, and below is a copy of his speech that he gave about me to a room of about 150 people, including all of my company’s C-suite.
Again – I still cannot believe this happened to me.
HI, [my boss’s real name] AND I’LL PRESENT THE THIRD [company name] INDIVIDUAL AWARD.
WHEN I THINK OF SOMEONE WHO IS “BRILLIANT” – I ACTUALLY THINK OF TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF PEOPLE.
THERE’S THE TECHNICALLY BRILLIANT PERSON WHO HAS EXTRAORDINARY INTELLIGENCE IN THEIR FIELD OF EXPERTISE.
THEN THERE’S THE PERSONALLY BRILLIANT PERSON WHO SHINES BRIGHT THOUGH EVERY INTERACTION. A PERSON WHOSE ENERGY AND PASSION IS CONTAGIOUS, LENDING A POSITIVE LIGHT TO EVERYONE THEY SPEAK WITH.
RARE IS THE CASE WHEN YOU COME ACROSS SOMEONE WHO HAS BOTH DIMENSIONS OF BRILLIANCE.
ALICIA [my last name], MANAGER OF ENTERPRISE SEARCH, IS AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF SOMEONE WHO DEMONSTRATES BOTH TYPES OF BRILLIANCE.
FOR THOSE IN THE ROOM LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE MET OR WORKED WITH ALICIA, YOU KNOW THAT SHE IS WHIP-SMART, APPLYING HER EXPERTISE TO SOLVE SEVERAL COMPLEX CHALLENGES. YOU WOULD ALSO KNOW THAT SHE IS SOMEONE WHO CARES. SHE CARES ABOUT THE BRAND, SHE CARES ABOUT THE BUSINESS, SHE CARES ABOUT THE GUEST … AND THEIR DIGITAL EXPERIENCE. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, SHE CARES ABOUT PEOPLE. SHE HAS A WAY OF WEAVING HER KNOWLEDGE INTO MEETINGS WITH A FOCUS ON COLLABORATION AND PARTNERSHIP.
UNDER HER LEADERSHIP THIS PAST YEAR, THERE WERE SEVERAL WINS FOR ALL THE STAKEHOLDERS I JUST MENTIONED.
SHE PARTNERS WITH BRANDS, HOLDS AGENCIES ACCOUNTABLE, OPTIMIZES THE IMPACT OF OVER $15 MILLION OF MEDIA SPEND AND DRIVES RESULTS.
ONE EXECUTIVE SAID: “ALICIA HAS LOWERED OUR COSTS AND INCREMENTALLY DRIVEN BUSINESS.” ANOTHER STATED: “WHAT SETS ALICIA APART IS THE DEGREE OF COLLABORATION AND LEADERSHIP THAT SHE PROVIDES IN AN AREA THAT IS ESOTERIC TO MANY.”
PLEASE JOIN ME IN CONGRATULATING ALICIA FOR HER INDIVIDUAL BRILLIANCE AWARD!
ALICIA, PLEASE JOIN US CENTER STAGE.
At that point I walked across the stage, gave my boss a hug, and stepped down to take a photo with the CEO.
But seriously – can we pause for a second and look at that speech? Someone actually THINKS that about ME. ME! Not only do they THINK it, but they believe it so much they actually SAID all of that – out loud – in front of everyone we work with!
How is this my life? How could I have possibly earned that? And from someone whom I respect enormously. I mean, if I ‘consider the source’ on this one, I have to say the source is legit! I still can’t believe this happened…
I am happy to say that there were more than a few cheers and whoop whoops as I walked up to the stage. And I’m surprised to say how many people walked up to me afterward to tell me a) how much I, of all 10 people awarded, REALLY deserved mine, and b) how badly the team winners hope to receive an Individual Award in the future.
The good news is that I am still very-much able to “be me.” At our dinner table I was seated with my boss, his husband, my Cody, a coworker, and the CIO who my boss reports to and who I have regular statuses with.
My group shut down the restaurant and were literally the last to leave. The CIO was hanging out with the CFO to make sure everyone took their award and grabbing photos with the winners, when I got these two:
So here I am – with my second crystal and aluminum trophy thing hangin’ out in my living room and another 100 shares of company stock. But this time it was for my sole contribution to my company’s success.
I’ve literally reached the very top and oddly enough, I still feel like there’s no where to go but even further up!