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The Categories

Please note that the Leadership Awards are now closed.

The CO3 Leadership Awards are an opportunity to recognise some of the fantastic leadership that exists within the Third Sector.

In Northern Ireland there are thousands of Third Sector organisations working 24 hours a day,  7 days a week:  housing the homeless; feeding the hungry; caring for the sick and dying; and helping the most vulnerable in our society.

As we work to deliver these services on a daily basis, we have a tendency to forget the great work and leadership that exists in the sector.  The CO3 Leadership Awards presents us with a rare moment to reflect back on the achievements of the past year, and recognise people who are doing fantastic work.

The Award winners will win an amazing prize of a 3 day leadership exchange trip to Stockholm, Sweden.

There are now nine categories that you can nominate in.  Please see below for further information:

Inspiring Leader of the Year
Leading People
Leading for Impact
Social Innovation
Trustee of the Year
Social Entrepreneurial Leader
Best Newcomer
Leading Forward on Health and Social Care Reform
Leading Organisation Change
Lifetime Commitment to the Third Sector



Inspiring Leader of the Year

sponsored by Ecclesiastical Insurance

The CO3 Inspiring Leader of the Year embodies the value to inspire others to achieve great things. The nominees will place quality at the heart of everything they do; they are innovative and value their staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and external partners. They recognise the value of developing others and work tirelessly to lead change for the benefit of all.



Leading People

sponsored by Personnel and Training Services  

For this Award, we are looking for role models who create a positive impact in the development of those around them, through their leadership style and willingness to help others to be the best that they can.

Finalists in the category will have invested in their staff to strengthen leadership capability at every level of their organisation. The impact of which is that people are inspired and motivated to achieve their potential by leaders that lead by example to drive the organisation forward.

This Award is open to both Chief Officers and Senior Managers/Directors.


 Leading for Impact 

sponsored by  Inspiring Impact NI

This will be awarded to a Chief Officer /Senior Manager/Director who clearly demonstrates strong leadership in adopting impact practice into their organisation.  The Nominee will have created a culture of willingness, openness and honesty to develop an effective approach to impact practice.



Social Innovation

sponsored by Building Change Trust

The award will recognise and celebrate individuals who have harnessed innovation to help people live healthier, happier and more prosperous lives. Social Innovation comes in many shapes and forms, from inventing and building life-changing products, to devising far-reaching policies and campaigns, to creators who have come up with new answers to age-old issues. Social innovators are embracing digital technologies and unconventional thinking to drive forward social change.  This award is open to Chief Officers and Senior Managers/Directors.  It will reward creative ideas and approaches (both old and new) which drives social change to achieve a real impact.



Trustee of the Year

sponsored by Quilter Cheviot 

Have they gone that extra mile? Have they made a big difference to your effectiveness? Nominate them for the title of Trustee of the Year 2018.

Awarded to a Third Sector Trustee who has made the most outstanding contribution, demonstrating strong leadership and performance of the organisation during the year.



Social Entrepreneurial Leader

sponsored by Department for Communities

Focusing on the contribution of a dynamic, creative and visionary leader, this award recognises an enterprising individual.  They will have achieved the highest and most sustained levels of growth as well as financial and impact performance through a culture of innovation, market knowledge, and leadership development. 

This Award Category is open to a Chief Officer or Senior Manager/Director who has significantly developed the sustainability of the organisation including its impact measurement, commercial activities, income, funding and investment streams to build a strong operational model.




Best Newcomer

sponsored by OCN NI

Awarded to a leader who has made an outstanding contribution to their organisation, or the wider sector, during their short time in post (less than four years).  Finalists in this category will be able to show outstanding passion, dedication and solid commitment to the Third Sector and the organisation they lead.  They will have a clear understanding of how to develop and implement long-lasting strategies that positively impact on the Third Sector.




Leading Forward on Health and Social Care Reform

sponsored by Department of Health 

This award is open to a Chief Officer or Senior Manager who has demonstrated a pioneering approach which has transformed the way that health and social care services are delivered.  The Nominees will demonstrate how their innovative ways of creating change in Health and Social Care is supporting the reform agenda, with a particular focus on preventative care models and care delivered in the community. 





Leading Organisation Change Award

sponsored by Baker Tilly Mooney Moore

This award recognises successful and structured transition involving major, sometimes transformational changes in how an organisation does things.

Areas that will be assessed include; identifying the need for change, making the business case for change, the communication, implementation and measurement of change.

Award criteria includes;

  • An innovative change/transformation programme that makes a clear business case for change
  • How effectively the programme is communicated, implemented and measured, including how it identified and overcame any resistance
  • The role of leadership in designing and delivering the change
  • Evidence of success: the impact of change on organisation performance using metrics and data to substantiate the change effect.





Lifetime Commitment to the Third Sector

sponsored by CO3

This category is not selected through a competitive process but awarded by the CO3 Board.  This change in approach was driven from previous feedback we received from a significant number of CO3 members. 

It will be awarded to a person who has role modelled effective and committed leadership. The person will have demonstrated dedication, professionalism and integrity throughout their career, and who has produced an identifiably profound effect on the sector through their leadership over at least a 20-year period.