We spoke to Julie Charles, Director of Equalities National Council and Winner of The Lifetime Achiever Award at The Excellence in Diversity Awards 2015 to catch her thoughts after winning this prestigious award.
My legs nearly went under me; it was only at the end that I realised it was me. It was an Oh my god moment! I meant that, I felt elated but overwhelmed because as soon as he said my name people stood up straight away, and the ovation just went on and on and on and I was so humbled by this, I do what I do because I love it and it was just humbling.
How did you feel about the other shortlisted nominees within your category?
I had a chance to say good morning shortly to John Butcher and he was lovely, he congratulated me, I didn’t really have a chance to meet with the other nominees because I didn’t know where they were. Most people boogying on the dance floor were coming up to me congratulating me winning this award.
They were still winners in their own way.
Where are you going to go from here with your work?
I’ve got Mark Shrimpton as a mentor for me and also Linda Allen from the Home Office. Linda and I are going to meet every two weeks as is Mark.
What does Diversity & Inclusion mean to you?
Diversity & Inclusion means so much to me, it’s a way of existence, it impacts on peoples human rights, and it’s to do with people coming together and being one.
Where does this rank within your Diversity & Inclusion achievements?
I’ve had four LA awards and I think this tops them all. Reason being because it was around Diversity & Inclusion valuing people and it wasn’t about race and so that’s why I feel very strongly about the award that I got. It was about Diversity & Inclusion.
Well when the doors opened, my carer came down the stairs to get something while I was getting ready. He said it’s heaving down there. I got dressed went downstairs, saw the lady with the sax, and I thought oh my god, this is serious. When I went into the actual awards ceremony, the whole room was so immaculately done, so tasteful; this could have been done for a wedding and was even better. The certificates were excellent. Jody Cundy even gave me the gold envelope that had my name in as the winner. I have very proud parents at the moment. I was astounded at the end, the whole thing was wicked.