The biggest challenge, and thrill, if I’m honest, was to interview all the finalists on the floor of the main banqueting hall of the Midland Hotel in Manchester. These live conversations were then projected and broadcast onto the big screen so everyone could see the finalists and learn what they were all about.
There were different categories and therefore different types of women who I had to speak to. The thing with awards is, these are very important to the people involved. Some of the women were confident media performers. Indeed, the first lot were quite straightforward – all were media and creative professionals, including Maria McGeoghan, the former editor of the Manchester Evening News who I know and have appeared on the radio with her. The other was Nicola Shindler, who I have long admired from afar. I had a mental block on one of her programmes (Scott & Bailey) which made me look a bit daft, but I have to put that down to early match nerves.
The task with the other 9 interviews was to make these amazing women look and sould just that. I made it my job to go and have a quick word with them all – to make sure they knew what to expect and to “be themselves” and tell their story without being mawkish or inapprorpriate.
I enjoyed it, it was a terrific event – full of passion and emotion as well as supportive energy. Lots of spontaneous clapping at achievements. It’s not something you see at male dominated events too much. It also reminded me that although I don’t write as much as I used to and don’t do frontline news reporting – there’s still something to be said for my journalistic DNA.