The Unsung Hero Award

Unsung Hero Award

Is there someone who’s come up with a really innovative project in your company? Or an idea to change the way you work. Tell us about it, nominate them.

Entry Criteria

Criteria for the Unsung Hero Award category:

– Nominee hasn’t won this award previously

Successful nominations should detail but not be limited to the following:

– Why you think they don’t get enough recognition for their work
– What it is that they do that doesn’t
– Anything else notable that the judges might be interested in

2022 Winner

Claire McDermott

In a digital agency, the spotlight is often on the digital products we develop and who we develop them for. However, increasingly we attract clients based on shared values and cultural fit. And this is why I want to nominate Claire for unsung hero – because she has been quietly working to enhance our agency culture: making us a great team that new clients really want to work with. Claire’s nurturing of our agency culture stems from her project management style. She has always worked extremely hard to build trust in the relationships with our clients. She is honest and empathetic in her communication. As a senior project manager, she often works with multiple high-level project stakeholders to balance competing ideas to work productively toward a shared vision. It is the values that we see every day in her relationships with clients that have underpinned Claire’s support for the agency. Claire is deeply invested in creating an environment where team members can thrive. Claire trained as a Mental Health First Aider about 3 years ago and used her skills to support staff during the stress of the pandemic. She continually raises awareness of the importance of mental well-being and works hard to reduce the stigma for staff who are struggling. Following the pandemic, the agency adopted hybrid working and effective communication between the team became much harder – a deluge of slack messages, and a drought of feedback. Lots of reaction and not much time for reflection. Claire took on the mantle of feedback champion and set about creating a culture of feedback in the agency. Claire wanted honesty and empathy to flourish. She wanted the team to acknowledge when they were struggling and for them to receive appropriate support. There are many ways that Claire has built a culture of feedback. In lunch and learn sessions she started to help us understand how to give feedback – centred around the fact that we hold to key to empowering each other. With the tool ‘Friday Pulse’, Claire wanted to help us improve how we listen to each other, and then with the tool ‘Know Your Team’ Claire encouraged staff in self-reflection. Claire has helped the team to use these tools as a way to provide formal feedback. But we are also encouraged to publicly praise each other. It has been lovely to be able to share the everyday, small successes of the team – successes that we might not otherwise be aware of while we don’t have water cooler moments. Introducing the tools was a fairly big culture change for the agency, but there are lots of other little things Claire has instigated that just help to improve our day. For example, adding slack channels called ‘daily outdoor photo’ and ‘mental health’ where people can share photos they have taken of nature and also share resources to support mental well-being. Claire will also call us on the phone for a chat and to check in on how we are doing. These are small acts, but very valuable for team cohesion and morale. Claire has given the team confidence, given them stability in very unstable times, and given them the motivation to do their best work for the agency. The brilliant work of our dev team will always be noticed. I would like Claire’s work behind the scenes to also get the recognition it deserves.

2022 Finalist

Chantelle Cooper

2022 Finalist

Jane Dafforn