Conference award winners share the secrets of their success

July 20, 2023

The ILM Annual Conference is always an opportunity to reward success and none more so than this year, when the winners of ILM Legacy Professional of the Year 2023 and ILM CiCLA Mentor of the Year 2023 were announced.

The awards are sponsored by Legacy Futures and this year we were delighted to welcome CEO Ashley Rowthorn to reveal the names of the winners.

Stepping up to collect the trophy for ILM Legacy Professional of the Year 2023 was Alison Rirsch, from WaterAid. Alison joined the charity five years ago as the sole legacy administrator, and since then it has seen some of the highest five-year growth rates for legacy notifications (8.5%) and income (16.1%).

Her nomination praised the “warm, conscientious way she approaches her work” and highlighted examples of how she has helped both the charity and families deal with complex issues, ensuring that the intended recipients received the legacies they were due.

Her nominee Zahraa described her as someone with “great passion and dedication for legacies”, noting her commitment to constant learning and support for colleagues. Calling her “an amazing mentor”, she added: “Alison deserves this award as her passion and dedication for legacies permeates not only her work, but also onto those in the administration process and the wider organisation too.”

After receiving her award, a delighted Alison said: “I am absolutely delighted, honoured and very proud – it was lovely to have that moment in front of my peers.

“I think the judges were looking for the ILM’s values to be represented in the nominations and, when I am line-managing Zahraa, I try really hard to be kind, to have time for her and to mentor her so she can do her best. A huge thank you to Zahraa for nominating me and to the ILM and Legacy Futures for this award.”

ILM CiCLA Mentor of the Year 2023 was Helen Prosser from Parkinson’s UK, whose nominee wrote a moving statement about how Helen had first introduced herself at last year’s ILM Conference and had supported her through a very difficult period in her life.

“Helen was kind and supportive on the day and has continued to be ever since,” said the nomination. “She has provided a constant source of encouragement, along with helping with her extensive knowledge of the legacy role and CiCLA content and process…and she is always on hand to answer queries and help me extend my legacy administration knowledge.”

Thanking the sponsors, after being presented with her award, Helen said: “When my nominee and I first met, she had just signed up for CiCLA. I mentioned I was a mentor and she emailed me afterwards to ask if I would be her mentor.

“I’ve been in the legacy sector for seven years, I started as an administrator and worked my way up, so it is nice to help people who are going through that same process themselves. It is very much about being a sounding board, giving tips and advice and being there to help with any questions.”

Currently mentoring five individuals (including her nominee) Helen said part of her motivation comes from the fact that when she studied for her CiCLA programme, she was part of a bigger team and had someone to turn to. Now, having changed charities and working within a smaller team, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and helping others to grow their skills.

Ashley commented: “Congratulations to Alison and Helen for their very well-deserved awards. The annual ILM awards are always a highlight of the conference and it was a privilege to be involved. These awards are especially meaningful when they are nominated and judged by ILM, and there is no better community to be recognised by than the legacy sector. A big well done.”