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“This is a huge honour and very humbling” – Sue Brown on winning The Watson New Leader of the Year Award

Jun 19

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19 June 2018 14:40  RssIcon

By Sue Brown, Watson New Leader of the Year Award winner 2017

So, 11th December 2017, I’m sitting on my brother’s patio enjoying the Canary Islands winter sunshine when an e-mail from Honor (British Exploring Society’s CEO) drops into my inbox telling me I’ve been short listed for The Watson New Leader Award. For someone who is never short of words, the only thing that leapt into my brain at that moment was wow!


Sue Brown receiving her Leader of the Year award from Teddy Watson at British Exploring Society's Celebration Evening

Fast forward 3 months to the awards night at the Royal Geographical Society and I’m sitting with some of my awesome colleagues from our 2017 Amazon expedition, two of whom were shortlisted along with me, fully expecting one of their names to be called. After all, they perfectly epitomize what it is to be a British Exploring Society leader – passion for life, enthusiasm for adventure, and a desire to inspire the younger generation and empower them to discover just how awesome they can be. To my mind they were, and still are, totally deserving of the award and the frankly overwhelming feeling of shock when MY name was called still hasn’t left me.

"Without Sue and her wonderful Basecamp our 2017 Amazon expedition experience would have been very different. Sue was truly at the beating heart of the expedition. Her hilarious sense of humour, manifesting magnificence, master-chefery and basecamp karaoke prowess were key to the success of the expedition. And she doesn't even like jungles!" - testimonial

To be recognised by your peer group for an award such as this is a huge honour and very humbling at the same time.

It also makes me realise how lucky I am to have found my niche amongst such a talented bunch of leaders who show all of the attributes necessary to make these expeditions come to life. There are hundreds of different definitions of leadership, but my personal favourite is the simplicity of John C Maxwell’s words, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. British Exploring Society is pretty darn good at picking those people to lead their expeditions.


Amazon 2017 expedition leadership team. Sue, 5th in from the right was the expeditions Basecamp Manager

I'm incredibly proud to volunteer with British Exploring Society. 2018 sees me off to Iceland with the Dangoor Next Generation and Expeditionary Year programmes and I’ve already thrown my name into the hat for 2019 selection. My advice to anyone who is thinking about getting involved with a British Exploring Society expedition as a Volunteer Leader is DO IT! Find a way to make the time, put your heart and soul into it 100% and the pay back you will get is so much more.

"Sue's commitment and hard work towards the success of this year's Amazon expedition started long before the expedition departed. She is authentic, enthusiastic and unflappable with all the time in the world for her fellow leaders. Conscious at all times that base camp needed to be a home from home for the Amazon team, her contribution to the wellbeing of everyone on the expedition cannot be over-estimated." – Testimonial

As a leader you get the opportunity to push boundaries you didn’t realise existed, be part of an amazing team, learn so much about who you are as a leader, make friends who will light up your life and lastly but by far most importantly play a part in shaping our future generations. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Click here to find out more about British Exploring Society's Leader of the Year Awards

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