By Stephen Bediako OBE
I feel honoured and humbled to share that I’ve been awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Queen’s Honours for innovation in charity and social enterprise.
I was not expecting this but am grateful to whoever nominated me! I want to thank God and dedicate this to my mother who despite tough challenges did her best to raise me until I was 13, and in memory of my father. May they both Rest in Power!
I want to thank my brothers and sisters and my friends, colleagues, allies, coaches/mentors over the years. There are too many to mention and I can’t bear the thought of missing anyone – so you know who you are, and you know I love and respect you deeply. The reality is this award is not really mine. This award belongs to the aforementioned, to the various teams I work with day-to-day – past, present and future – who have put up with me, believed in me, challenged me, disagreed with me, and stuck with me through thick and thin.
Finally, I want to thank the families, young people, entrepreneurs, schools, businesses, civil servants, philanthropists, politicians, charities and their leaders, and so many more that I have touched and worked with over the years, and who have in turn influenced me. It has been an honour to serve and work in the space of public good. I grew up experiencing public provision from a variety of angles (both good and bad), which shaped and informed my choices to work in this space – a space where I have always tried to do my best whether I got things right or wrong during that time.
I plan to use this recognition to continue that work and be a platform for the next generation of social impact leaders. I’m driven more than ever to be a catalyst for collaborative and eclectic teams, as well as to encourage greater representation in leadership for our society.