Vale Women’s Business Network announces winner of the ‘Spirit of Giving’ Awards
Life coach and Vale Women’s Business Network member, Allyson Gale has been named as the winner of the VWBN’s first ever Spirit of Giving award at a ceremony hosted by Minister for Business and Budget, Jane Hutt AM, in the Senedd on Wednesday 17 March 2010.
The VWBN launched its search in 2009 for the female entrepreneur, manager or businesswoman who had made the most significant contribution to her business and community. The awards were launched in memory of Yvonne McDermott, a former VWBN member who sadly died from breast cancer in 2008.
Allyson Gale of Brackla, Bridgend, originally trained as a Biomedical Scientist and worked for 26 years in NHS management. In 1998, health problems, related to a pituitary tumour, caused her to retire very early but she is now self-employed as a life coach. She joined the VWBN in 2003. For several years Allyson has also worked as a volunteer, running a local support group for the Pituitary Foundation, a national charity for people with disorders of the pituitary gland. In this role she has been able to use her own experiences, together with her coaching skills, to help other patients and carers. In addition to this, she has also run several coaching-based workshops for the charity, at national level, and now writes a coaching column for their national magazine, Pituitary Life. When she is not working, Allyson enjoys line-dancing and singing with a Ladies Barbershop Chorus (of which she is currently chair) and an acappella quartet.
“I’m humbled and honoured to win this award in memory of Yvonne who I knew very well,” said Allyson after being presented with the award. “Everyone knows it’s a challenge to balance your professional life with something that you feel passionate about in your personal life. I believe wholeheartedly in volunteering because the qualities you bring to one aspect of your life are just as valid in the other, and you can give in so many different ways; a little bit of time goes a long way as does giving understanding and support as and when it’s needed. I’m really thrilled to have won this award because of my work with the Pituitary Foundation.”
Jane Hutt AM, who is also Patron of the VWBN and who presented Allyson with her award, said, “I was proud to help launch the Spirit of Giving Awards to recognise the distinctive contribution of women involved in the Vale Women's Business Network in their own businesses and in the community. So many women are multi-skilled and multi talented and are committed to sharing these skills and talents for the benefit of the economy, their families and friends, as well as the wider community. I am glad that this award can recognise their special and unique contributions. This year I would like to offer my congratulations to Allyson Gale whose generosity and tireless commitment to helping others is an inspiration to all of us.”
Chris Lee, designer and property manager who helped to judge the entries, said, “Just like Yvonne, whose memory the award honours, Allyson too is an inspirational woman who has shown generosity and giving in both her professional and personal life. The VWBN was founded on the principles of giving support to others and Allyson has shown to have this quality in abundance.”
Llantwit Major businesswoman, Julie Robinson was also named as runner up. Julie, who was described by the judges as “inspiring”, has been a committed fundraiser for Bridgend Samaritans for at least the last 10 years. With a young family, she has also set up two businesses, one successfully establishing the first holiday property in Llantwit Major. The award ceremony was part of an event which also played host to award-winning photographer and VWBN member, Anna Proctor’s latest exhibition called ‘Coast’. Anna’s work is on public show from Monday 15 to Monday 22 March 2010.