On this blog we have already profiled a wide-variety of Queen’s Honours recipients. Among others, we’ve looked at academics, community leaders, teachers and entrepreneurs. Except for a profile of Baroness Lane Fox and her ascent to the upper house, we have yet to look at those who have been at the forefront of the evolvement of Britain’s burgeoning digital sector.
Given the rapid growth of digital enterprise in the UK in the past twenty or so years, it seems very reasonable to assume that we can expect to see more and more individuals receiving a gong for their contribution to the growth of the digital economy and Ecommerce.
In recognition for her services to digital technology and innovation, Mary McKenna, received an MBE in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List. An accountant by profession, Mary traveled the globe, working with many leading high-tech businesses. Hailing from Northern Ireland, for the past three years she has chaired Digital Circle, the representative body for the digital economy in the region. Ms McKenna has also played a central role in Digital Derry, an initiative striving to develop a centre of digital creativity. Mary has been closely involved in forging collaborative partnerships between Digital Derry and Tech City in London. This initiative is showing real promise and it is destined to provide significant economic benefits in the future.
Also on the list at the beginning of 2014, for her highly influential contribution to entrepreneurship in social and digital development, Penny Power, was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Penny established one of the world’s first social media business networks. Launched some five years before LinkedIn, six years before Facebook and eight years before Twitter, Ecademy grew to more than 650,000 members. She is also the founder of the Digital Youth Academy, an organisation promoting e-skills among young people. She is also the author of ‘Know me, like me, follow me: what online social networking means for you and your business’, which is well worth a read.
John Higgins (pictured above) is among the most influential contributors to digital Britain. Although he received his CBE for services to the UK IT industry some time ago, his CV and record of achievement is so great that he deserves a mention. John is currently the Director General of Digital Europe, the association for digital technology in Europe. He was appointed to this position in 2011 following nine years leading its UK member association, Intellect. John is clearly a very busy man. Alongside leading Digital Europe, he is also a member of the governing body of the University of Warwick, chair of the cross industry association council of the CBI, a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts and a board member of the UK’s digital sectors skills council, E-skills. In congruity with many other recipients of Queen’s Honours, John is no stranger to awards. He was presented with two personal awards for outstanding contributions; in 2004 by the Trade Association Forum and in 2008 by Computing Magazine. Finally, a year before receiving his CBE, John was appointed President of the European Commission’s Strategic Policy Forum on Digital Entrepreneurship – Fueling Digital Entrepreneurship in Europe.
When considering whether to nominate someone for an honour, look not just at their achievements in the context of others, but at the impact of their life and work, and those deserving recipients will soon stand out – no matter who they are and what they do.
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