As 2023 draws to a close I wanted to take a moment to reflect on and summarise what has been an incredible year here at Don’t Panic.

Firstly, I am personally delighted and thrilled to be back in the driving seat as Founder and Managing Director. Some of you may know I took a little time out to launch a passion project, my new tech start-up, Chapter2, a community and dating site for widows and widowers.

Thankfully I’m blessed with an incredible team at Don’t Panic and this enabled me to temporarily take a step back. However I’m back with newly renewed enthusiasm and commitment to leading and building the world’s most ethical and credible awards company to celebrate and recognise success around the globe.

It was great to bounce back from the COVID era as a stronger, efficient company with a bright future ahead. It hasn’t been an easy couple of years and it was great to be back delivering face-to-face in-person events again.

Here are a few of my personal highlights of the last year.

After a two-year hiatus in Dubai where we had to pivot to virtual events, we kicked off 2023 in style with a swanky networking party in Dubai for the digital, marketing and PR industry in the MENA region. It was great to reconnect in person with old friends and make some new ones, we announced our intention to return to a live MENA Search Awards which we successfully delivered in November – who doesn’t like an excuse to party in Dubai?

Our team needed their passports as then it was time to deliver European Search Awards in the beautiful city of Lisbon. This is our most hotly contested award attracting over 800 entries and attended by the great and the good of the search awards at a sell-out event.

Then we headed to Paris to deliver the Global Search Awards at a spectacular venue, guests flew in from around the globe to celebrate in person, this was particularly special as it was the first time, we could deliver this as a live in-person event in a spectacular venue.

Next up was our second largest sector awards, the UK Agency Awards held at a new larger venue, The Sheraton Grand. It was a completely sold-out event and a memorable evening celebrating the very best agencies in the UK.

In October, we headed to the USA to deliver the US Search Awards in New York City, a change of location for this event, we’ve previously delivered this event in Las Vegas. The spectacular rooftop venue in Tribeca was a hit with guests and judges and we’ll be back.

Finally, we ended the year on a personal event, literally my favourite event we have delivered in 19 years of Don’t Panic it was the near-legendary 14th UK Search Awards. The sold-out event was a who’s who in search, a truly memorable evening! Who can forget the conga before dessert, Alex Brooker as MC and the after party till 5 am with countless Jaegar bombs?

Thank you to all judges, entrants, attendees, sponsors and the entire Don’t Panic team who were part of the incredible year that was 2023.

Looking forward to 2024, I cannot wait for…

  • Northern Digital Awards in Manchester taking place in Manchester for the first time this year, we’ve always been in Leeds previously. It’s a great way to end Dry January and kick off the year.
  • APAC Search Awards will be live for the first time and in Melbourne, Australia. We’re excited to be heading down under to celebrate the best in SEO and PPC in the APAC region.
  • European Search Awards and Global Search Awards will be back bigger, bolder, and better – we’ll be racking up those air miles in 2024.
  • Finally, UK Search Awards will be 15 years old so that will be one hell of a party…

We wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year and look forward to celebrating and rewarding your achievements – now go enjoy the festive season and hopefully a well-earned rest!

Do reach out if you want to connect, I’m always available for a coffee, lunch, or red wine.

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