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National Happiness Awards 2018 - More Judge's whats and whos

From stripping down to underwear in a school office to investment bank farts - get to know the happiness awards judges a little bit better as they answer some 'probing' questions!


 

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan

 

1. What's made you laugh a lot recently?
My partner is one of the happiest and most optimistic people I've ever met.  I can completely be myself with him and he makes me laugh.  I also laugh a lot with my 14-year-old daughter. I love dancing and I practice with my face (because I'm sure it's anti-ageing - isn't it). She pretends to be disgusted but she loves it really and we usually end up laughing hysterically. 

2. What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you at work?
OK I’m going to be honest here - farting mid-presentation in front of 200 people in an investment bank. I tried to blame my fellow presenter but he stopped mid-sentence and looked at me in shock which made it pretty obvious that I was the culprit.  

3. What makes you truly happy?
Being myself. Dancing.  Being in nature.  Being active.  Doing the work that I do and making a difference for people.  Standing on a stage and being 100% myself while feeling completely connected to my audience. Making my daughter happy.  Sitting and daydreaming and doing nothing in particular, but feeling completely comfortable in my skin and at peace.    

4. What's the worst bit of corporate jargon you've ever heard?
I can't be specific here but there's so much BS in organisations. I once worked with a fee earner in a law firm who nearly lost a kidney because she was so dehydrated from not drinking enough water at work. Why wasn't she drinking water? Because her boss - the Partner - didn't like her leaving her desk to go to the loo - she was losing the firm valuable billable minutes.

People would be so much happier and hugely more productive if they could come to work and be themselves, no masks, and without fear. Also, if they were allowed to stop and take breaks - laughing breaks perhaps. 

5. What would be your superpower and why?
My superpower would be to just look at someone and in doing so immediately remind them of what is really important to them. Too many people mistakenly think that happiness comes from material possessions, going on holidays or how many social media connections they have. They've lost touch with real heart to heart connection and the simpler things in life.

6. What advice would you give your younger self?
Nerina stop being so hard on yourself. Laugh a bit more. Drop your shoulders. Unclench your jaw. Reeeelax….  Less effort for greater results.
 
7. What would fix the world?
If everyone could know and feel that we really are part of one big 'soup' and that everything we do - every choice, we make - affects everyone else. This might sound airy-fairy but if each of us holds that thought when we wake up in the morning and greet our family or leave our house and encounter strangers - I think we would be kinder and more compassionate.  And this would spread like a positive contagion.  

8. Who would be on the fantasy guest list of your dinner party?
My great-grandmother who had a hard life as an indentured slave working in the rice fields in Guyana.  She lived to 104.  I'd say to her: 'Look how far we've come'.
Mahatma Gandhi - I'd ask him what he thinks of the smartphone
My late sister - just so I could give her one last hug.
Isabelle Allende - I'd ask her to tell me how to overcome my writing procrastination!


 

Ian Gilbert - ITL


1. What's made you laugh a lot recently?
America.
 
2. What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you at work?
To do a really crap after-dinner speech for MENSA of all people. 
 
3. What makes you truly happy?
Sitting in my garden, glass of good wine in hand, regardless of the weather. 
 
4. What's the worst bit of corporate jargon you've ever heard?
Schools financial efficiency: metric tool.

 A tool to provide schools in England with an indication of their efficiency compared with similar schools.

5. What would be your superpower and why?
The ability to relax at will. Or fly. Easy either way.

6. What advice would you give your younger self?
No-one's staring at you and even if they are, who cares. Just be who you want to be. 
 
7. What would fix the world?
An education system that addresses the things that are breaking the world. 

8. Who would be on the fantasy guest list of your dinner party?
Just Frida Kahlo and my wife. I'd cook. They'd talk.
 


Sue Blyth – Fourfields Primary School


1. What's made you laugh a lot recently?
My husband and daughter who both think they are the Kings of Banter and don’t realise how very silly they are!
 
2. What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you at work?
I ripped my dress at work on the day we had our Local Authority Adviser in school for quite a ‘heavy’ day of Learning Walks. She offered to sew me back into it but this involved stripping down to my underwear in my office, so she could do a better job. Unfortunately, I didn’t tell my secretaries who walked straight in with cups of tea to find me sitting at my desk in not much clothing!!
 
3. What makes you truly happy?
Spending time with my family, all together, playing games and sharing food.
 
4. What's the worst bit of corporate jargon you've ever heard?
“Let’s go and press some flesh!” I had no idea that meant I was supposed to go and shake hands with a crowd of people and found it utterly disgusting!
 
5. What would be your superpower and why?
The ability to eat whatever I wanted and never put on weight! That would save me a lot in money spent at the gym and improve my wellbeing as I have to deny myself cake in the staffroom!
 
6. What advice would you give your younger self?
This too shall pass. When I first started in this job, I worried about everything and lay awake at night over the smallest of issues. Usually nothing turned out to be as bad as I had made it in my head and even the tough days and major incidents that have occurred in school are soon written on the history pages and we have moved on. Things always get better.
 
7. What would fix the world?
If everyone tried to make their small part of the world better by showing kindness, acting unselfishly and looking out for others we might have an impact.
 
8. Who would be on the fantasy guest list of your dinner party?
Piers Morgan, because I have a secret crush on him, Gary Barlow, for the same reason, Barbra Streisand and Julie Andrews, who in my younger days, I aspired to be like and all of my grandparents who I didn’t get to spend enough time with.
 
 

 

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