The Responsible Business Awards Gala 2018: An evening of Great Expectations

Amanda Mackenzie, Chief Executive, Business in the Community, reflects on the success of the 2018 Responsible Business Awards Gala Awards Dinner.

Having been to our 2017 Gala dinner, I thought I knew what to expect at last night’s event. But I was bowled away by my second Responsible Business Awards Gala. In a night of ‘great expectations’, it surpassed my own.

From the moment that the choir from Wisbech stepped out onto the stage, I knew that we had created an evening that would speak to the hundreds of business leaders gathered under the iconic roof of the Royal Albert Hall. The singers were a powerful, living reminder of the communities that need our support across the UK – as well as what business and society can achieve in partnership.
 
Of course, it goes without saying that I am really excited to work with all of the Award winners we celebrated with last night, but I know that there’s so much more to be heard from all of our finalists as well and I suspect we’ll see many of them coming back next year for another go.
 
A special mention has to go to Lloyds Banking Group, our new Responsible Business of the Year 2018. The wonderful thing about this award is that it’s so much more than a trophy to put on a shelf at head office. It’s a commitment to co-create, share and learn with BITC and its members over the next year. That’s exactly what Anglian Water have been doing with us over the last 12 months and although I’m sad that their time as Responsible Business of the Year is over, I know that their passion for changing the world through their work has only got stronger over that time. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve with Lloyds Banking Group.
 
Businesses across the UK should be inspired but all of the wonderful stories that we heard last night. In every single one, there are lessons about obstacles overcome, challenges explored and won. I hope that they’re seen as a library of best practice, as markers to point the way to a happier communities with responsible business at their heart.
 
We said so many thank yous last night, but it feels right to say them just one more time. So: thank you Sir Lenny, for your incredible hosting, thank you Anglian Water for helping us to pull off an amazing evening; thank you to all of our finalists and hugely generous award sponsors; and – finally – thank you to Sky, whose support we couldn’t do without.
 
Most of all, thank you Wisbech. You have shown us the meaning of community strength, determination, and hope. You have set great expectations for businesses and communities across the UK. It’s our job to help members to meet them.