Don’t Panic’s MD, Helen, sums up the Year!

2021 is coming to an end and as always, we are spending some time, along with our teams, reflecting on another year. It seems to have passed with lightning speed and we are thrilled to be leaving it with some incredible highlights, after what has been (as for most industries) the most challenging 18 months we have faced. 

At points during 2020 we did wonder if we would ever have the luxury of delivering a live in-person events again, and I have to say the biggest highlight of 2021, for myself, and all of Don’t Panic, is that we have! This year we managed to deliver six live, in-person events which may seem a small number given we organise over thirty each calendar year, but I think it is safe to say given the current circumstances and the restrictions we have faced, the number six is huge.

This year we celebrated turning Sweet Sixteen and have grown with some amazing additions to our team. We have welcomed Sue Johns Chapman as our resident Content Manager, Dan Kilburn as our Web Developer, Jo Diver our Data Analyst, Stephanie Gianfriglia our new Account Executive, Leenesha Friend our new Marketing Manager, Emily Winders our Event Assistant and Kate Humphries our Event Executive. All of whom have played pivotal roles in the success of Don’t Panic’s 2021.

Aside from turning sixteen, we had more reasons to celebrate. 2021 saw the return of our Senior Event Manager, Sarah Belcher, who spent some time on maternity leave after the birth of her gorgeous little boy Ellis. We celebrated the birth of Otis, our Senior Event Manager, Alex Rimmer’s, new baby boy. Operations Manager Sarah Power got engaged! We feel Sarah will be in good hands for any wedding planning that she needs support with! And I got married to Mark, who got Don’t Panic’s blessing and honorary team member status on our last social night out, and became Helen Barklay.

Another highlight of this year has been the successful implementation of our judge feedback process, which provides all entrants, whether winners or not, with transparent and qualitative judge feedback across all of their entries. We are committed to being the most ethical and transparent awards provider and want to further expand on this offering by delivering content-driven educational pieces and insights into what exactly our judges are looking for in a 2022 award-winning entry.  Our aim is to ensure all our entrants are supported through the entry process, from beginning to end, and are recognised in the fairest and most ethical way possible.

Possibly the overall highlight of 2021 has been the celebration of YOU, and all the incredible campaigns, tools, software and agencies, located around the globe, that enter each of our awards.  We have been inspired by your entries, joined you online to applaud your efforts, laughed at some of your questionable dance moves at our live events and had one too many Jägermeister shots with you….it has been a joy to be a part of, and exactly why we love every part of what we do. 

Whilst we round up our highlights, on behalf of Don’t panic I would like to thank all of our entrants, sponsors, media partners, judges, clients and suppliers, as your commitment to our events is hugely appreciated and without your support, our awards simply would not be possible. In particular, I would like to personally thank David Edmundson – Bird our Chair of Judging Standards, Richard Gregory our Non-Executive Director, our Award Ambassadors and Judith Lewis who continually help shape and grow all of our award programmes.

The last highlight of 2021 for me is being appointed as MD of Don’t Panic. It has been an incredible 6 months in post, and I have the team to thank for that. Nicky Wake’s shoes are incredibly tough to fill, but I can safely say each member of the Don’t Panic family have made it that little bit easier. So, my last thank you goes to the incredible team I am lucky enough to be surrounded by each day, thank you for being committed, innovative and above all fun!

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