Back button

2nd July 2019

What’s it like to win an Acorn Award?

Last month, Liam Hatcher was one of 30 Acorn Award winners, an award recognising 30 young rising stars in the industry. We caught up with Liam shortly after the winners’ weekend to find out more!

What does it mean to you winning an acorn award?

Winning an Acorn award was amazing! It is such a great accolade that will be invaluable in my career. However, I also want to use the recognition that I have got to now inspire other industry leaders of tomorrow and help drive more rising stars in CH&CO towards winning this award too!!

What did you do at the winners’ weekend?

Where do I start? The weekend began with all of us ‘Acorns’ enjoining a tasty lunch at Coworth Park – this is where the rapport began among the winners. We then enjoyed an afternoon of ‘team building’ activities which consisted of human tenpin bowling, yes you read that correctly. Having been secured in a zorb ball, I became the human ball that went hurtling down a hill towards the tenpins….we of course got a strike!! It was great to see so many people together having such a great time! The day ended with a beautiful BBQ in the amazing gardens followed by lots of singing, laughing and conversing with fellow winners and supporters – the whole evening went by in a flash.

Who did you meet at the weekend – who from the industry was there, was it just contract catering or a mix of the industry?

I met some great fellow Acorns from across the industry. There were only three individuals (including myself) out of 30 winners from the world of contract catering so we need to make sure our sector is represented again next year. There was a real mix of people from sales directors in the hotel sector to operations managers from stately homes. What really stood-out to me was the People Acorns – people development was very well represented with 4 of us in total. I’m looking forward to having a coffee with many of them again soon.

What was the best moment from weekend?

The best moment of the weekend for me was being presented the Award by Terry Waldron as CH&CO was the headline sponsor. It also meant I had some other family members with me over the weekend so a massive thank you to Matt Symonds, Deborah Homshaw, Berenice Pretlove, Rob Burden and Hannah Robson for being there!

What has been the response from your colleagues, peers and other people in the industry?

It has been huge!! I kid you not, I have been on cloud nine… the recognition and celebration from my colleagues and industry peers has been fantastic. It has also re-connected me with people I once worked with. The response and encouragement has reminded me of why I chose to work with people in our amazing industry in the first place!

What are your aspirations? Have they changed getting an Acorn?

My short-term career aspiration is to continue influencing and developing our great team, continuing to be a role model showing our talent that they can achieve whatever they set out to, whether for our clients, customers or themselves. My long-term aspiration is to lead a people team ensuring that wherever I work, the organisation fosters a culture of inclusivity, drives people development and ultimately encourages success which results in the organisation being the place to be!! So to summarise long term, I WILL be a People Director one day and the Acorn has helped re-affirm that the career path I’ve chosen is still the path for me!

Would you encourage others to enter?

Absolutely!! It goes without saying, we need to celebrate success and recognise talent – it’s the right thing to do!

How would you sum up this achievement in three words?

Inspired, Determined, and of course Fabulous!

And finally, I hear that you’ve been shortlisted for the ACE Robyns award too.

That’s true, I found out that I was in the shortlist a few days before the Acorns and I am of course as proud and excited. But, there is a lot of talent in this industry so the winner could be any one of us. We’ll find out at the ACE summer party that takes place on 10th July, so watch this space!