Here at MSL we are always amazed when we speak to fabulous women like Caroline Jackson Levy. Not only is she the Managing Director of UBM awards, where she organises over forty awards ceremonies every year, she is also a wife and stepmother to four children. Her love for her work and family is palpable, and she clearly enjoys the challenge of juggling her fast paced professional life with the responsibilities she has at home.
As a young girl, Caroline dreamed of one day becoming Shirley Bassey. Realising that this vision may prove difficult to achieve, she decided to combine her love of theatre with her incredible business skills and has forged a career which keeps her motivated and inspired. Her favourite moment is the spine tingling second when ‘the curtain goes up, the host opens the envelope and there’s a moment of silence…and then you announce the winner and they punch the air. You’ve done something good, you’ve created something beautiful and you’ve made someone very happy.’
Caroline fondly remembers the way she felt when wearing a bright floral dress at the age of six, and is glad to have returned to the self confident woman she once was. She introduces her second treasured item as part of the ‘armour of Caroline Jackson Levy’. Wearing them devotedly since the age of eighteen and having gained recognition from Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and Elle Magazine for her dedication to them, it seems only fitting to present us with a pair of shoulder pads. Still embracing 1980s power dressing, she uses them as a way of presenting the Caroline she feels ‘comfortable and confident with in a business environment’. However, she also wears them unashamedly in her nightdress and swimming costume, declaring them to be pure ‘glamour’.
Her vibrant personality is charming and endearing, yet she confesses that it has taken a long time for her to feel comfortable presenting herself to the world as a woman with real feelings and skills. Having built a protective shell around her, a large part of which is made up of some extravagant clothes and jewellery, often people have taken her image at face value- and it has taken courage and time to be prepared to let people in to see the real woman underneath.
The close relationship she has with her mother, a ‘feisty woman’ of Spanish descent, has allowed her to maintain a strong moral compass which has kept her standing. Her considered advice to her younger self, and us, is touching: ‘though there will be difficult times and the dress may have to be put away for a while, there will come a day when you can wear it again with confidence. Keep the faith. And even if they’re not quite as fashionable as you’d like, when you need that extra bit of confidence- pop in a couple of shoulder pads- they can do wonders.’