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Recognition according to the Cake Fairy

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

Let me share a little secret with you . . . my village has a fairy! And not just any fairy, but a cake fairy that bakes the most gorgeous cakes, and secretly delivers them to people in the village who’ve helped others throughout the pandemic, thanking and recognising them for their contributions or just if they need a pick-me-up!

And although it’s a secret who the cake fairy actually is, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to have a phone interview with her. In it, she shared with me her inspiration and tips on recognition. . . . here is what she had to say:

Question: Why did you decide to become the cake fairy?

🧚 I grew up in a village with a cake fairy, in fact we also had a flower fairy, beer fairy and crochet fairy. I was bemoaning the fact that I lived in a village without one, so in a lightbulb moment I thought to myself “If you want to live somewhere with a cake fairy, perhaps you should be the cake fairy”.

As time has gone on I realised that this also has a lot to do with my mum, who died in October, and who I miss dreadfully. Mum taught me to bake from as soon as I could stand on a chair next to her in the kitchen, and often we’d have massing baking sessions. It’s become a way of feeling close to her, honouring her memory and having something positive to focus on and distract me.

Question: Why do you think it’s important to thank and recognise others?

🧚 The world, especially now, can be a bit of a grim place, so if you can make people smile and be happy by recognising them, it can make such a difference.

When I’m not being a cake fairy, I work at a hospital, where I do my best to recognise people for the work and contributions they make, especially those that don’t normally get the credit or attention, as they too make such a big difference.

Question: Can you ever give too much recognition?

🧚 Absolutely not. Just because you told someone they were fabulous one day, it doesn’t mean that if they’re fabulous again you shouldn’t tell them. It never hurts to hear it again, especially when life is tough and we all doubt ourselves from time to time.

Question: Everyone gets cake and postcards, why?

🧚 I give out cake because I love it, and I just assume that everyone else does. I give out handwritten postcards so that the person knows who’s recognised them and why, which is just as important as the cake. In fact, I don’t care if someone throws away the cake as long as they see the message of recognition.

It’s been lovely to see posts on the village Facebook page where people share the cakes and postcards they’ve received. I think it’s motivated people to say thank you more often to one another.

Question: How does it make you feel to be the cake fairy?

🧚 It gives me such a warm feeling to know that I am able to brighten the days of so many people in the village. Through such tough times, I’ve been able to make people smile. And, I love hearing all of the nominations and the brilliant things people are doing to help one another.

I feel like it’s helping to make a kinder community that values its members.

Question: Do you have a favourite story?

🧚 The sweetest nominations have come from children, who have sent them to their friends who they’ve missed during lockdown, with messages such as “I can’t wait to play with you again”. It’s even more special as they believe in fairies, so there’s the magic behind it as well.


About the author:

Debra Corey is a highly experienced and award-winning HR leader, world-class speaker, three-time author, consultant, and was named one of the top 101 global employee engagement influencers. She’s had a varied career, working for global companies such as Gap Inc., Merlin Entertainments and Reward Gateway, where she’s developed and delivered HR strategies in a rebellious way, pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo to truly drive employee engagement.

In 2019 Debra founded her own company, DebCo HR, where as Chief Pay It Forward Officer she’s inspiring and helping others to bring out their inner rebel and drive business change.


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