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Pioneer Zoe Jackson Awarded With an MBE

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Pioneer Zoe Jackson Awarded With an MBE

Pioneer Zoe Jackson, Director of The Living the Dream Performing Arts Company, Hertfordshire has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with an MBE. Here she discusses her journey:

On 13th June 2015, I was honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with an MBE for services to
young entrepreneurs and the performing arts.

I am immensely proud to have received this incredible accolade and I am eternally grateful to Virgin Media Pioneers and Sir Richard Branson for believing in me and giving me many extraordinary opportunities to raise my profile and that of my business, Living the Dream.

Three years ago, I was selected by Sir Richard Branson to be part of the Control Shift Campaign which culminated in the Government implementing the Start Up Loans scheme. I have spoken at Sir Richard’s book launch, shared a platform with him at Global Entrepreneurship Week and performed a flash mob for him at a Virgin Media Pioneers event, even teaching him a few dance moves!

I have always been inspired by Sir Richard Branson’s ethos about doing good and his commitment to making a difference through business. Two years ago I thought I had achieved the highest honour possible, as my performing arts company Living the Dream were invited by Her Majesty the Queen to perform at Westminster Abbey for Royal Commonwealth Day. Richard Branson was sitting in the front row cheering us on.

Then, in January this year, I was awarded one of the first ever Queen’s Young Leaders Awards which celebrates the achievements of young people all over the Commonwealth who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in the communities.

I would never have imagined that now I would be making not just one, but two trips to Buckingham Palace this year. Living the Dream now has a school of performing arts which has over 300 students, a professional dance company that performs at events, does flash mobs and teambuilding workshops and a talent agency. Closest to my heart is my charity, the Dream Foundation.

I set up the charity as I know the arts have the power to change young people’s lives. I wanted to give access to young people at a disadvantage and give them the freedom to express themselves through the arts, the empowerment to grow in confidence and the inspiration to believe in themselves and their dreams.

Achieving an MBE, as well as the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, will hopefully help my charity and company achieve even greater things. I have big plans for the future including opening a performing arts centre, taking the Dream Foundation’s ‘I Have Dream’ project on tour and seeing our dance company and agency champion talent and entertain audiences worldwide.

This recognition from Her Majesty The Queen will help me on my mission to achieve my dreams and change peoples lives.
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Congratulations, very inspiring!