It has been another strange and difficult year for so many, but through these challenges we have glimpsed the heroes, those who keep going, help out others and find new and inventive ways to support the community around them. Last week, l was fortunate to meet some of those heroes at the Digital Technology Awards 2021 and present a very special award to Stephen Wilson at Netli. He was awarded the ‘Unsung Hero’ award which honours those that have done something truly special for the tech community, going above and beyond without need for reward or recognition.
Stephen is a truly remarkable man - overly generous and giving up his salary and pension during the pandemic in order to continue to support the care industry, for which he has a clear passion. He continued to advocate for the sector, creating jobs and raising awareness of its issues on a national scale. His company Netli wants to tackle some of the largest issues within health and social care.
It was a different awards ceremony this year, with it being virtual, but l still managed to meet Stephen before the presentation and have a good chat (little did he know, he would later be picking up our Unsung Hero award). Although the event was a success, It wasn’t quite the same as sharing a drink and a canapé, but we did manage to navigate the digital table, work out how to use the chat function and have a bit of a laugh together. Next time we meet Stephen l promise l will make it face to face!
The awards were held on the Remo platform, which I found to be a good virtual representation of how an awards event can be hosted, given the current restrictions we face. It offered a chance to socialise and mix before and after the awards themselves, and l liked the idea of us sitting at individual tables where we could talk to our companions before the event, as you would do at a face to face event.
I am glad the awards were able to go ahead this year as it is so important to recognise the good work people are doing and give people a chance to celebrate, even if it is remotely. In the tech sector we are in a unique position to use our digital and technology expertise for good as the world moves more and more online. In Sopra Steria, my own organisation, we have set up a Tech For Good Hub where we provide our people with skills based volunteering opportunities that have a positive impact on communities and social good organisations, using our digital technology, innovation and business expertise to drive this.
Our involvement in the Micro-Tyco programme is a perfect example of this, we work with children from local schools with the aim of teaching them about sustainable business and helping them to create real-life solutions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Working with the kids always amazes me, their fresh thinking and inventiveness is truly a sight to behold and it’s a privilege to be involved in the fantastic work achieved.
We don’t have to wear capes and our pants outside our trousers to be heroes, we just have to look at the skills we have and work out how best to put them to good use to help our local communities. So put on your own virtual cape and see how you can use your skills to help others.