15 Aug 2014
This week I took part in the judging panel for the Inspiring City Awards, which we deliver in partnership with the Herald - in association with People Make Glasgow. Magnus Llewellin, the Herald's editor, masterfully chaired what could have been a very tricky judging process.
The ICAs were set up last year to acknowledge both individuals and organisations that had made a notable contribution to the city of Glasgow and its people, and the result was a fantastic awards evening.
Now I'm not about to give away any secrets on this year's Award winners. I just wanted to say just how uplifting the experience was, even though there were over 650 pages of nominations to absorb.
We asked for nominations, and boy did we get them. It's very clear that Glaswegians want to point out where their fellow citizens are making a difference.
For many years here at the Chamber we have held the Glasgow Business Awards, which celebrate those businesses that have been successful in our city. We don't apologise for making a bit of noise about business brilliance - we all know and understand that a growing, thriving city like Glasgow depends to an enormous extent on how well its businesses are flourishing.
Wealth creation can and should benefit everyone. The Evening Times has been a fabulous partner in helping to make that noise, not least because they know so much about the nooks and crannies of every part of Glasgow - and we will bang our drums for Glasgow business in October.
The ICAs, though, are something different - marking out those folk who have made a direct difference to day to day life in Glasgow. We look at education, sport, culture, industry, civic life and the environment and we look for contributions by people who have gone well beyond the normal expectations of their day to day jobs.
We initially planned for the awards as an encouragement to philanthropy; we wanted the city to know where business people have genuinely gone out of their way to give something back. But it has turned out that Glaswegians want to tell us about lots of different ways that people and organisations, not just those in business, have gone that bit further or been that bit more creative in making life better. So we redesigned the ICAs to respond to that demand.
Reading through those 650 pages confirmed two things I already hoped, indeed knew, were true about this city. Firstly, this is a big city, and it's impossible to know everything that's happening at any one time - amongst the nominations were several people and organisations I knew absolutely nothing about. Secondly, this is a warm city - some of the nomination forms were genuinely funny, but all were equally determined to get across just how much the nominee had helped to make that difference.
I hope you'll see what I mean when the Herald and the Chamber together announce the winners on September 11. Check out the ICAs website if you're encouraged to come along on the night to join in the deserved celebrations. We look forward to seeing you there.