ILM Annual Awards – Meet the 2022 Winners

March 9, 2023

Interview: the winners of the ILM Awards 2022 talk about how their success boosted confidence and motivated them to achieve more

With nominations closing on 17 March for this year’s ILM Awards, the ILM is keen to encourage as many entries as possible.

Legacy Professional of the Year and CiCLA Mentor of the Year are both highly sought-after accolades and the winners will be announced at the ILM Conference on 12 May.

ILM Award Winners 2022We asked Bethany Dowell, (Legacy Professional of the Year 2022) and James Fernandes, (CiCLA Mentor of the Year 2022), to reflect on their successes and found out how much winning the awards has meant to their careers over the last 12 months.

First however, we found out a little bit about their roles:

Bethany Dowell joined Battersea in 2016 as the Legacy Executive (now the Legacy Assistant role), moving to her current role as Legacy Officer in 2017. She is responsible for a caseload of residuary, specific, pecuniary, discretionary and reversionary legacies. Bethany also deals with more complex estates, including contentious and international/cross-border matters, as well as estates in which Battersea is named as Executor or acting as Administrator of a supporter’s estate. She recently had the opportunity to start line management and is leading on an exciting project looking at how Battersea can maximise the journey of its legators’ family and friends.

James Fernandes joined the charity sector in 2018 as a Legacy Management Executive at Cancer Research UK and completed the ILM’s Certificate in Charity Legacy Administration with a Distinction during his first year. James says it played a crucial role in his career, as along with having brilliant mentors at CRUK, it enabled him to develop the expertise required to become a Legacy Management Officer, which was his goal. He is now utilising the skills and knowledge gained in his current role as CRUK’s Legacy Operations Manager.

Bethany (BD) and James (JF) tell us more:

1. What did winning the award mean to you?
BD: Winning the ILM Legacy Professional of the Year Award was such an amazing surprise! I honestly still can’t believe it. I don’t have a legal background, so everything I have learned about legacies in the past seven years I have learned through my colleagues and peers – this award is really an acknowledgment of the support and education I’ve been fortunate enough to access throughout my career and of those who have helped me.

JF: I felt really honoured to receive the CiCLA Mentor of the Year award. I was just proud to be nominated, as I know this sector is full of passionate people who do incredible work. I’ve been lucky to have some amazing mentors who I value so much because of how they’ve impacted me and helped me to develop in my career. To know that I have been able to play a role in helping someone like my mentors helped me, to the extent that they would take the time to nominate me for an award, is really rewarding.

2. What was most important to you?
BD: It was so lovely to win this award for many reasons. As I mentioned above, being relatively new to legacies, I am always learning and don’t always feel I have the knowledge or experience that others do. It’s been an important message to me that what I have to contribute is valuable to my peers, that I’m on the right track, and that being kind goes a long way.

JF: I remember meeting the team of Legacy Case Handlers when I joined in 2018 and feeling overwhelmed with how vastly knowledgeable and skilled everyone was. I was particularly in awe of their ability to utilise their legal knowledge to maximise CRUK’s legacy income. I’m grateful to have learnt from a brilliant and collaborative Legacy Administration Team at CRUK (past and present). Therefore, receiving this award was a real sense of achievement; it made me realise that by being respected as mentor, I had developed the expertise I aspired to when I joined the team.

3. Has winning the award made a difference to your career and/or the way you work?
BD: It’s been such a good motivator to continue learning and educating myself. It has also given me the confidence to take on new challenges, to feel capable of mentoring new team members and helping colleagues with particularly complex casework or day-to-day legacy challenges, and to voice my opinion to my peers with more certainty.

JF: Being seen and valued as a mentor has really given me the confidence to see these skills in myself and embrace them. It helped going into my first management role and has pushed me to be the best mentor and manager that I can be. People do seek me out for advice or a second opinion more after receiving this award, which I like because I enjoy being able to help people and share my knowledge and experience whenever I can.

4. Has the award also benefited your charity and/or your colleagues?
BD: The award has really helped to raise awareness of the work that the Legacy Administration team does within the charity, which in turn helps us work more cohesively with other teams in the organisation. Within my own team, it has given us an opportunity to celebrate our successes and motivate us to continue to learn and apply our skills.

5. What would you say to those thinking of nominating someone?
BD: Definitely nominate them! It is such a nice feeling to know that your peers feel you are doing a good job, and being nominated is a great confidence booster. Everyone has different skillsets that are valuable and vital to the successes of our respective organisations, and being recognised for those skills can be incredibly beneficial both personally and professionally.

JF: Don’t hesitate to nominate someone that has made a difference for you. Being nominated really meant a lot to me and the ILM hosting these awards is a great way to show your appreciation to someone. Receiving the award is such a memorable moment and something that can make a huge a difference to someone’s confidence and career. I’m really grateful to the ILM and my mentee for my award.

6. What’s the one piece of advice you would give to this year’s award winners?
BD: Working in legacies has unique challenges that requires diverse skillsets – remember that your award is a recognition of the unique skills and knowledge you in particular bring to the world of legacies, and that this is valued and respected by your peers. It is a great opportunity to use this recognition, and the confidence your peers have in you, to meet new challenges and help and support your colleagues.

JF: Take the time to reflect and celebrate the achievement, this is a huge sector full of dedicated and skilled professionals, so it’s really special to be selected to win an award.

Find out more and make your nomination online today.