What does it mean to win the ‘Giving Back’ Award?

Back What does it mean to win the ‘Giving Back’ Award?

Katherine Bailey is a ‘lifer’. An educator and professional credit manager, credit management has been her passion since she took the first steps into the industry. And it’s that passion and commitment that saw her recognised at The British Credit Awards in 2020 when she received the Giving Back Award.

“Being a Fellow of the CICM, the BCA awards was the one I wanted to win because it’s the Institute I’m a member of and they’re the exams I worked hard to complete. It’s the award I’m most proud of, and when I eventually get a mantel piece, it will take pride of place.”

Whilst receiving an award as prestigious as this would, during any normal period, be monumental for Katherine and her company, Valor Hospitality, the pandemic put a tiny pin in celebrations thanks to nationwide shut down of the entire hospitality industry.

“I suppose all of the benefits we could have seen as company from winning an award such as this were subsumed by the pandemic because everything else was far more important at the time.”

However, the award gave her team the confidence they needed to get through a difficult time: “Within the business we celebrated the award completely, and it gave our team a massive confidence boost. Particularly because credit in hospitality is often adjoined to accounts, so it allowed the team and the credit controllers on site to see someone in credit being recognised.”

Inspirational leadership
That inspiration, something Katherine is very well known for amongst her students, resonated with her team, so much so that more awards were soon in the offing. “Funnily enough a member of my team did win an award, after I put them forward for the Apprentice of the Year.”

Now, her team are more driven than ever as Katherine evidenced through their persistence to enter the Credit Team of the Year Award: “Winning has sparked something within the team as a whole,” she says. “Now they’re all asking me if we can enter the Credit Team of the Year Award, rather than me doing all of the flag waving, which just shows how impactful the BCAs can be.”

The mentorship that allowed Katherine’s Apprentices to win a highly recognised award and prompt them to push for entry into the Team Award is one of the main reasons Katherine was put forward for her commendation.

“The win definitely created a new passion point for the CICM within our business. In the wake of the pandemic, we’ve seen more and more people come through into credit management and express an interest in learning and becoming part of the Institute, including some of our Apprentices.”

After nine years as part of the CICM’s teaching panel, educating students in a variety of subject areas including trade, consumer and export credit management, as well as business environment and Law, the CICM appointed her as Chair of the Steering Group for Apprenticeship Standards.

“I’ve been teaching for the CICM for eight years and I love giving back to my students and being there to teach them, not just to pass their exams but to help them develop their career.”

It’s not just Katherine who sees the benefits. To this day she has close relationships with students she mentored many years previously.

“Having ex-students ‘phone me up asking for advice or even to proofread something means so much. Seeing them progress beyond the course I teach and go on to do their Level Five, for example, makes me feel great and very much makes me smile!”

Sue Chapple FCICM, Chief Executive of the CICM said Katherine is an example of a dedicated mentor and someone who continues to put her heart and soul into the industry: “Katherine consistently goes above and beyond, not just for her students but for her local East of England branch and the industry as a whole. She’s an example of someone who has excelled within her career but also someone who has demonstrated commitment to learning and education, a core principle of the CICM.

“We’re extremely lucky to have her within the Institute and she thoroughly deserves the recognition she receives.”