It was with great delight that I read the email which landed my inbox from The Department of Business Innovation and Skills – BIS – informing me that I had been nominated for an invite to Buckingham Palace, for one of the three Garden Parties this Spring/Summer. There is also one held at Balmoral.
The nomination was successful and my invitation on a stiff white card arrived in the post. My very busy household was extremely excited. Would I meet the Queen? What to wear? Could they (the kids) come? So why had I been invited? The relentless strive, my work of passion at the Association of Business Mentors – now five years old, is being recognised.
We have a couple of important points to prove
1. A mentor has to have real life experience in the arena in which they are mentoring.
2. A successful business person does not necessarily mean a great mentor. Manner and other skills are equally important.
A serial small business owner myself from the age of 20, I fully understand the vulnerable as well as the confident state of mind one experiences during a business journey. I am very passionate about the calibre of advice that can be received at any time and I have heard some horror stories when poor advice is acted upon and the story ends in tears. Business is livelihoods, how people feed their families and employ others so that they can do the same. Now that mentoring is becoming an accepted form of business support we have to protect the recipient by providing a credibility process and means to showcase successful applicants.
The day itself was grey and rainy after a run of excellent summer sunshine however I plucked my new hat out of its box , donned my frock and after giving my husband a once over in his desperately smart morning suit I felt invigorated with excited anticipation – off to the Palace!
We were very lucky with special circumstances which meant we were driven into the Palace gates at the front joining the others in the inside courtyard. There were roughly eight thousand people invited to attend on the 10th May. Two factors crossed my mind – one; the expanse of the Palace made that number seem hundreds and more importantly two; everyone was there due to work in their communities and industry. Humbling.
As you walk through the Palace and onto the terrace the grounds open up before you . Truly majestic. Although not being presented to the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh we were well placed, very close during the national anthem before she was escorted past to start the two hour walk around the lawn via the royal tea tent, talking, commending, acknowledging. In the rain. A feat most of us would struggle to perform at the best of times. They are amazing.
The tea was delicious which we had post a leisurely walk around the grounds and then before we knew it time to leave via the Palace gates.
A very special trip which has motivated me to crack on!