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Championing the changemakers: an interview with Change Awards founder Margo Waldorf

Margo Waldorf has long felt that change managers don’t always get the recognition they deserve for redefining an organisation’s processes, systems and ways of working. Then one day, she decided to change that. Margo created the Change Awards in 2021 to celebrate the unsung heroes in change management and showcase the talented independent practitioners, innovators and corporate change managers who are helping to transform organisations for the better.

This year’s awards will be held on Thursday 20th April and Investigo is delighted to be the main sponsor. We spoke to the leading change manager and innovator about why she set up the Change Awards and how Investigo’s helping her make a difference to the world of change management.

What inspired you to come up with the Change Awards?

“I’d been toying with the idea for two years,” said Margo. “There are a lot of awards across the transformation space but there’s nothing really to celebrate change management talent. There are some awards about adoption and change management but they’re set up solely to recognise companies adopting change, not recognising the people who are behind it.”

“Change management is sometimes perceived as fluff but it’s really not. It’s a young profession, the market’s maturing and some are further along the journey than others, so I thought why not create a vehicle for professionals to make change management more visible and valid? People are not to be forgotten as it’s people who are doing everything. I set up these awards to lift those unsung heroes of change, people who deliver change management, very often behind the scenes. If the work’s done well, nobody even knows our name.”

Why do you think that’s the case?

“Change management is now getting more attention and people are seeing its value and success, but people definitely notice the project more than they do the people behind it. I’m an adopting change manager working with clients and the majority of my colleagues in the field are independent consultants, which means they’re not recognised externally and as they don’t work for the company, they’re not recognised internally either.”

You’re now into the second year. What are you planning for this year’s ceremony?

“This year’s awards will be at The Polish Hearth, a private members club in South Kensington. It’ll be black tie with canapés and cocktails followed by the awards and a reception style meal. Then it’ll be a great networking opportunity for everybody. There will be people coming from across the UK and Ireland; not just individuals but entire change management teams who want to celebrate their profession together.”

How did Investigo become involved in the Change Awards?

“I’ve known Kieren Stevens (senior partner in Investigo’s change management practice) for five years and he’s always been supportive of change and transformation. I told him about the awards in passing: ‘I’ve got this idea but it’s not tangible yet.’ He was unbelievably supportive from the start and full of ideas.”

How have you spread the word about the Change Awards?

“There are a lot of people helping to make things more visible: the judges, friends of the Change Awards, people like Kieren supporting on LinkedIn. I’m really pleased that at this early stage, Investigo wanted to stand behind this. They recognise that change management is part of every organisation’s core and I know it’s really important to Investigo. I was introduced to Graham Pile, director at Investigo and we’ve had a fantastic partnership since then.”

“Investigo have been really proactive and extended their hands to help. It’s so important to have the partnership, not just to have their support for a brief moment. They want to work together to get it right for people who truly deserve to be recognised across the industry. That’s why I’m so proud to have Investigo at my side.”

The Change Awards is an annual awards programme held to identify, recognise and reward individuals doing exceptional work in the change management arena. If you want to find out more about the Change Awards, please contact Margo and her team.

If you’re looking for your next change management position or for a talented individual to come in and help you transform your organisation, please contact our change and transformation practice.