Winners and Highly Commended from the 2019 Asian Women of Achievement awards were invited to a special celebratory dinner at Drummonds Bank, hosted by Julie Baker and Yvonne Greeves at NatWest.
The dinner bought together the Award winners and highly commended to continue conversations and build relationships.
AWA 2019 Sport winner Archie Kalyana shares her experience..
And the winner is Archie Kalyana….
As I heard those words I literally sat frozen in shock! I heard my best friend Farah say ‘Oh my gosh you’ve won it, you’ve won it!!’ and before you know it I was walking up to the stage, trying to be elegant in my mum’s beautiful net saree and frantically trying to compose myself. It’s still a bit of of a blur although I did have a ‘moment’ as I sat in my swanky hotel room on Park Lane in my Wakanda Forever pyjamas, glass of prosecco in one hand, hugging my best friend and crying happy tears. At last someone had recogised the twenty two years that I had been toiling away in production. From being fired in my first TV job for speaking my mind to watching the UEFA Equal Game TV commercial that I had given my heart and soul to during the Champions League Final, I finally felt I’d earned my stripes. The following morning on less than 3 hours sleep, I boarded a plane to get myself to work in Austria via Vienna for Red Bull. I thought it would be great to get a snap of a British Airways member of staff in uniform holding my award. Instead I got an invite to the cockpit and sat in the captains seat holding my award!! I later worked out that I’d travelled 2,000 miles with my new shiny friend as I retured two weeks later, exhausted and ready for my next adventure.
Fast forward six weeks and I found myself in the beautiful surroundings of Drummonds Bank overlooking Admiralty Arch and Trafalgar Square. As our host filled us in on the history of the bank founded in 1717 and its connections to King George III and more recently the Queen Mother and Margaret Thatcher, I stood in complete and utter awe.
I’d spent the day filming with Christian Louboutin (on a non-sport campaign) and was now transported to the most remarkable environment to meet my fellow winners. Could my life be any more surreal than this?!! The on set make up artist had managed to make me look presentable after a long day of filming and I stood mingling and chatting with some of the most amazing and inspiring women that I’ve come across. The awards night was so nerve wracking and I barley spoke to anyone as I sat wondering ‘what on earth am I doing here?’. Tonight was about speaking to each other one to one, letting it all sink in and gaining strength and positivity from the other Asian Women of Achievement. As we shared stories of our personal struggles, career victories and future dreams, I realised that I was now part of a very special movement with a huge responsibility. As I looked across the table at these bright, charismatic and beautiful women, I remembered how vacant that place for professional female role models was for me growing up. There was no one in TV sport who looked like me. There still isn’t behind the camera and I need to change that.
Since winning the award, I feel I’ve finally got the visibility that I so badly wanted in the male dominated area of sport. I sit on a special Innovations panel at the ECB and finally have the kudos to back up my credentials. I’ve had some fantastic moments, from the private messages of support from my peers to the 2,688 views of my rambling acceptance speech on LinkedIn. I can stand tall (at 5ft 1) amongst my male colleagues and say ‘Back of the net that one!’…