Who needs Oscars when you have Impact Champion Awards? We will keep repeating it until we breach into the mainstream, replacing actors with impact people as role models. Torino was the Beverly Hills of Impact for a brief moment, as Impact Europe (formerly EVPA) awarded not one, but three Impact Champion Awards during Impact Week.
The concept of the Impact Champion Awards is quite straight-forward - to offer some glory to the best of the best, the shining beacons of hope, the pioneers, the innovators. Those who overcome the obstacles where others falter, the risk takers, the brave.
Lama Amr of BuildPalestine is one of those people. She is at the head of BuildPalestine, an organisation that supports social entrepreneurs in Palestine, and one of our partners in the Impact Together! project. It goes without saying that Lama’s task has been a challenging one, especially over the last few months. As conflict and grief dominates the region, BuildPalestine has been quick to switch up its approach and to be a real champion of social enterprises and organisations that are working with and for their local community. Our prize committee commended her bravery.
As stated, Lama Amr was not the only person receiving the Impact Champion Award during this year’s Impact Week. Joining her as laureates were Eleni Theodorou and Alejandro Oñoro Medrano.
Eleni is the managing director of the We Share Forward foundation, which champions SDG-focused innovation by social entrepreneurs and students. Working with Eleni means working with a great connector. As a visually impaired person, she fully understands what it is like to come from a marginalised community. Her tireless efforts to overcome these barriers and to enable real connection have not gone unnoticed. She is also one of the driving forces behind the Community of Practice of Healthcare Impact Investors, an initiative born out of our own Impact Europe community.
It is therefore unsurprising that in her speech to the audience, she stresses the importance of listening, a skill that is often mentioned but rarely fully mastered. “If you remember anything from my speech today, I hope that it is that being kind and being strong are not mutually exclusive”, said Eleni. “You can be both at the same time”.
Alejandro Medrano closes our list of laureates for 2023. He is the CEO of ILUNION, a large Spanish company that works with people with disabilities. In doing so, he combines economic and social profit, showing the world that both can (and should!) exist in the same space. Alejandro is clear about what the future of ILUNION should be: “Build a better world with everyone included.” For his active leadership in a unique project that adds economic and social profitability, and for betting on sustainability at the center of the strategy, we honour Alejandro.
Together, the three laureates embody those elements that constitute a real champion of the impact space: bravery, cooperation and inclusivity. They follow the footsteps of Anne Holm Rannaleet, Katinka Greve Leiner and Deirdre Mortell, who took home the much coveted awards in 2022. Congratulations to all, and many thanks for the countless beautiful nominations, that made the life of the prize committee both more difficult and more hopeful at the same time.
See you next year in Bilbao for another round!