The StrategiQ Annual Awards 2020

21 min read by Charles Craik 21 Jan 2021

Buckle in people, it’s going to be a long and emotional one! That can only mean one thing… it’s time to announce the winners of the StrategiQ Annual Awards!

Our annual awards are handed to members of the team who have stood out over the past 12 months. The winner of each award is determined by things like client feedback, training commitments, impact on clients, MVP nominations and, of course, nominations from the team for their People’s Champion – the MVP of all MVPs, if you will. Each award winner gets a break for two and a fancy certificate to pop on the wall, to remind them that they’re amazing.

For us as individuals, the annual awards are an opportunity to nominate one person from the team as our MVP of the year, reflect on the past 12 months, share our “well dones” and hype each other up for the coming year. This is the main reason we decided to push ahead and present them virtually, rather than waiting until we could all be together in person.

In another period of lockdown with no clear end date, working from home can be quite lonely and demotivating, so whilst it was difficult not to celebrate properly with the winners, it was a much-needed boost and helped us start the year off on the right foot. In true StrategiQ style, it didn’t stop us having a laugh, or a little cry, and really celebrating some of the excellent things we did last year, pandemic or no pandemic.

Let’s take a look at the categories, the shortlists and our winners!

The Categories

  • CEO’s Champion
  • Marketer of the Year
  • Marketer of the Year (Production)
  • People’s Champion

TLDR: The Shortlists and Winners

  • CEO’s Champion – Gemma White, Ash Thrower, Phil McEwan
    Winner: Gemma White
  • Marketer of the Year – Poppy Mace, Hatii Shuttleworth, Emma Squires
    Winner: Poppy Mace
  • Marketer of the Year (Production) – Sean Scannell, Adam Pescod, Be Peters
    Winner: Sean Scannell
  • People’s Champion: Keiran Buchanan (plus a whole bunch of nominees).

clapping gif

Here are just some of the amazing reasons why these incredible marketers found themselves shortlisted and accepting their prizes, in the form of modern dance. I’m kidding, they’re nominations. That’d be cool though.

Category 1: CEO’s Champion

The reward for the winner of Andy’s CEO’s Choice award is a lovely UK break for two and a super fancy certificate, as well as the smug feeling of knowing you’re the boss’s favourite! This is the one that nobody but the man himself knows anything about until the day! We’ll get right into the shortlist and some nominations from the wider team.

Gemma White

“Gemma has worked tirelessly without exception on client service this year, as well as supporting every single person working on account management and direction. The results speak for themselves with our client survey outcomes to date; she contributes to every account in a way that’s impactful and supportive, while encouraging development and self-belief! She demonstrates an incredible work ethic, is focused, committed and always delivers – and it all seems to come so naturally. The ability she has to juggle every single account, client and member of the team is something to admire, and she always has time for a smile and to ask how you’re doing – and that’s incredible too. I’ve worked closely with her on a couple of accounts, and it’s been a real pleasure professionally and personally. Her client etiquette is superb, which is not something that should ever be taken for granted, and I’ve learned so much from working with her; even the accounts I’ve not been directly involved with, there is always something to learn in the way she directs the team and the results she helps them achieve. During lockdown I sometimes felt that while the world was falling apart Gemma was completely together and helped me stay that way – which ultimately impacted on my development, decision-making, productivity and the service I was able to deliver my clients.”

Ash Thrower


“Expertise, maturity and humility. Ash is one to watch and has shown an ability to do brilliant client work while simultaneously listening, learning and developing virtually in real time. Ash is showing a level of ambition that is awesome to see, and I have no doubt he will realise these aspirations!”

Phil McEwan


“I don’t think Phil quite qualified for an annual award last year, but he would have deserved to win after less than six months in the business, such is the phenomenal impact he had both on client delivery and direct sales revenue. Unsurprisingly this continued into 2020, as Phil’s relentless work ethic and unquestionable marketing talent helped us win multiple clients, even at the height of lockdown. Alongside this, he has continued to drive our own marketing alongside Ian, demonstrating as much genuine care for our brand as he does for all of his clients. Since supporting in an account director role, Phil’s expertise has been felt by colleagues and clients alike, to the extent that clients have had no reservation about investing in marketing or other additional work.”

And the winner is…

Gemma White! Congratulations Gemma, you’ve been an absolute pillar of support, love, care and inspiration through the last 12 months, and the team and our clients would 100% not be the same without you.


Category 2: Marketer of the Year

The Marketer of the Year award recognises the achievements of one member of the marketing team, selected from a shortlist of three contenders. The award winner is decided by Andy Smith, Sarah Smith and James Bavington and takes home a UK break for two and a *VERY* special certificate!


Let’s take a look at the shortlist and winner for Marketer of the Year.

Hatii Shuttleworth

“I love how passionate Hatii is regarding her clients and projects. She fights for perfection and will walk through walls to make sure her clients have what they need. She gives the best service she can. She is never afraid to ask questions or challenge something when she feels it can be improved, but will also listen to other’s points of view and take it all on board if it means a better service for her clients. It is evident that Hatii lives and breathes our values. She has so much energy and has worked so hard all year! If the word for the year is relentless then Hatii fits the bill perfectly.”

Emma Squires

“Emma has been top of the training league all year. Her focus on evolving her skills and to be a better account manager every day is always evident. Her work ethic is second to none and her commitment to our values sets the standard for everyone. We’ve seen her grow into her role throughout the year and is truly deserving of the Marketeer of the Year accolade.”

Poppy Mace

“My choice for annual MVP is someone who has made a huge impact with minimum fuss or fanfare. There is a seemingly effortless detail and diligence about Poppy, coupled with a steely focus on results that has made her THE outstanding team player over the course of the last year. At times juggling a huge workload, Poppy pushed our paid social offering on into a credible and high-performing service line (during the first lockdown), furthered her personal brand with an industry talk and earned a well-deserved promotion. Handling several of our biggest paid media accounts with great grace and tenacity, Poppy has powered through the year undeterred by any setbacks while moving home and coping with lockdown with the in-laws! Above al, Poppy is just a very, very nice person and a real embodiment of our values. She cares deeply about her colleagues and client results, has shown an exceptional commitment to developing her expertise and is always commercially focused on the numbers that matter. I hope that winning an end of year award goes some way to fulfilling some of the ambitions that she is often too polite to talk about! Well done, Poppy. You’ve been a star.”

The shortlist was a range of top-class marketers at StrategiQ – but who won? Our winner is a tenacious, dedicated, humble, cool and collected and lovely person to be around. That doesn’t help really does it? She’s also quite a lot into paid media! Got it yet? Yep, our Marketer of The Year 2020 is none other than Poppy Mace!

“Poppy is a joy to work with or simply be around. She is cool, calm and collected even under the greatest of pressures. Poppy embodies our values with every atom of her being, and her smiling positive outlook is infectious. Here are four reasons Poppy aligns with our values: Ambitious – Within her first year Poppy rose the ranks from paid media executive to senior paid media manager even when juggling social media tasks during the summer. Commercial – Poppy’s relentless hard work results-focused mindset and confidence to say when something is not right has made her a valuable asset to both us and any client she works with. Expertise – Outside of smashing her day job, Poppy has shared her expertise with the StrategiQ Insights videos and her involvement in expert webinars. Caring – Poppy not only cares about each of her teammates, but also all the clients she works with. There isn’t anyone at StrategiQ she hasn’t had a positive influence on. #PoppyForTheWin”

Congratulations Poppy, a certainly well-deserved win!

Let’s move on to the next category…

Category 3: Marketer of the Year (Production)

This category goes the same as above, where the winner is awarded a UK stay for two and a lovely fancy certificate, as well as the knowledge that they’re the best damn production team member for 2020. What a statement!


And the shortlisted nominees are…

Adam Pescod

“Adam always impresses me with his tireless work ethic, literary wizardry and dedication to improving his craft. All year he’s gone above and beyond in delivering top-quality content, whether working with Ash to create fleshed-out brands, creating award-winning entries for clients or even his proactivity in finding courses to develop and challenge the way he works and thinks. Often an unsung hero, for me Adam fully deserves recognition with an award. I know you love to travel, Adam. Hopefully Stonehenge hits almost the right spot as Seville.”

Be Peters

Be’s natural leadership skills, relentless passion for excellence and infectious determination astounds and inspires me on a daily basis. We talk a lot about living our values, but Be embodies what it means to be a StrategiQ expert every second of every day. It has been fantastic to see Be’s journey this year, as she has developed her personal brand, embraced a problem-solving/marketing mindset to her design process, and her exceptional brand vision work. Be has continued to develop her skills month-on-month and provide fantastic quality work across all projects types, including web, print, social, email marketing, paid advertising and her agency-wide contributions with introducing and training XD to the marketing team. But while Be’s voracious appetite for success has meant she’s made great strides personally as both a designer and marketer, she’s been just as committed to uplifting her colleagues and pushing them to be better, by being a friendly shoulder to lean on and by creating and hosting our very own weekly reading club – Power Up. This year has been a great success for Be.”

Sean Scannell

“I think Sean deserves to win an award this year. I remember at the Christmas party in 2019, we had a really quick conversation about how he wanted to aim for this in 2020, and boy – has he done that and more. Sean’s expertise has shone through, and I don’t think there’s anyone in the team that hasn’t benefited from the high standard of work he’s produced throughout the year. Whoever and whatever it is, Sean has always asked the right questions, communicated perfectly, and delivered work that goes above and beyond delighting the both us as a team, and the client. There’s nothing that Sean can’t put his mind to, and absolutely smash out of the park. What a legend.”

And our winner, often lovingly known as Walt, Jeremy, Scannell, S-Dog, The Notorious S-E-A-N, The S-Meister and many more (ok, I may have made some of these up) is, of course, Sean Scannell!

“This year has been a tricky one to pick just one person who gets my vote for MVP of 2020. I’ve literally had to cycle through all of the names of the team and consider each person’s impact on the team and how they’ve developed their own expertise and represented our company values through and through. From my experience having worked closely with our entire production team this year, I feel like one member of the team has been consistent steadfast and really progressed as an individual. Having won their first MVP in 2020, this person has gone from strength to strength and really been there to support all of their colleagues and clients. In terms of aligning with our company values… AMBITION – continually pushing their own technical ability to keep up with the aspirations of our clients and designers, developing their skills in the process. CARING – finishing things off during weekends and evenings and not being afraid to ring the bell when help is needed. EXPERTISE – a master within WordPress, full-stack development and an expert right-hand man to our head of development. COMMERCIAL – awareness of deadlines, striving to make them happen and putting the blood, sweat and hours in to do so. My nomination for 2020 is Sean. There are so many other credible colleagues who could easily take my nomination and the title, but it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge a member of our team, family and a friend who shares my own values, passion and commitment to excellence and hard work. Well done, Sean.”

Congratulations, Sean. Sorry about all your new nicknames.

Next up, it’s arguably the most exciting of all the categories!

Category 4: The People’s Champion

This award is a little different. This time around, everyone in the team votes for a colleague who has stood out to them, the votes are counted and verified, and the winner receives a UK break for two and a lovely certificate to say how they’re everyone’s favourite. How about that! This category is always the most emotional, as often those who might not be expecting nominations find out that they have their very own stans in the company, and it spurs on the motivation to do more.


Here’s some of our favourite nominations:

“My nomination for the year goes to Roisin because every time you work with Roisin, she is ON IT. Roisin has been an absolute trooper since I started, and she has been so diligent delivering great work for clients. Roisin has also really set the bar for quality showing the standard that work needs to be at with her expertise in all aspects of marketing. She is commercially-minded, always looking to better clients’ performance by building strong relationships. She has been on a mission to deliver incredible services to our clients and she is always the first to come up with ideas, taking the initiative, making stuff happen and generally being an all-round badass. Taking on her new role will be an exciting challenge for Roisin, but one she will absolutely smash. She has been a great influence on us all; in her ability to strategise, plan and nail the day-to-day. This is showing the quality that we should expect from ourselves when delivering for clients. I’ve taken a lot from the way Roisin handles situations and comes up with solutions, always with a client-first approach. Roisin has clearly put a shift in this year and deserves to be recognized for being on top of her game, not just for the month but for the year. Hats off Roisin, you deserve this award!”

“After much deliberation, Levi is my annual MVP winner! 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, but Levi has relentlessly lived and breathed our values. She’s continued to generate incredible results for clients, and watching her self-belief and expertise grow over the last 12 months has been a pleasure to witness. A particular highlight for me has been the development of her Women in Tech SEO mentorship. Within just a few short months, this relationship has helped her confidence and ambition grow. She’s delivered insightful industry talks and provided great content as part of StrategiQ’s video series. Whilst she’s becoming an incredible SEO, let’s not forget that Levi has been responsible for writing the majority of our 2020 blog content. How she continues to find new puns is beyond me! Well done, Levi – whilst 2020 hasn’t been the best year for everyone, I hope you look back on the last 12 months with pride! (I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank you for keeping the office stocked up with delicious sweet treats. Just another reminder of the caring person Levi is!)”

“So it’s that time of year again where I have to write down my nomination for the BIG vote. As ever this has been really tough and my selected name has changed about four times over the last week whilst I weighed up in my mind who deserves this illustrious title. Well what a year (don’t worry, I won’t use the ‘U’ word), but despite the craziness of the events of the last 10 months there has been one name that has consistently stuck out to me, and that name is Tyler. Throughout the year and the constant sudden change of events, Tyler has been relentless in not just his focus but also in his ambition, constantly evolving our processes and introducing massive changes to our toolset, all while constantly keeping multiple projects on track and supporting the account management team and everyone else around him, a truly impressive feat. Even though sometimes he and I haven’t always seen eye to eye on certain things, I’ve always known that ultimately he’s looking after the interests of both StrategiQ and our clients’ businesses, always truly aligning to our standards. Hell of a year big lad, here’s to a better 2021.”

“After a crazy year it has been incredibly hard to pick my vote for MVP this year, as so many of the team have put in a real shift this year. However, that been said, there has been one person who has lived up to our values, day in day out. It hasn’t been smooth sailing; however he has been relentless at every turn. Working through some very technical projects on Magento and taking on the main responsibilities of the service line for the second half of the year was not a small task. Whilst managing these projects he has also made time to support account managers regularly which often pushed work into the evenings. Duncan is a real asset to this company who will run through brick walls for StrategiQ”

“There are some incredibly talented, hard working, caring and ambitious experts in our company; so choosing one wasn’t easy. Honourable mentions must be given to those who deserve credit. Josh, you blow my mind with your data knowledge, application, friendly demeanor and helpfulness. Sophie – everyone can see how much passion and motivation you have to learn, your willingness to help and drive to inspire others – a ray of sunshine and a breath of fresh air! Tyler, hands down an absolute trooper and surely under some incredible pressures, but you never have anything but positives words to say! Always calm, collected and happy to find a solution to help people. Not to mention the HODs, without whom we might not all be where we are today in these times – thank you for keeping the business not just afloat but excelling every expectation of 2020, and allowing some stability when the world around us is almost falling apart. (Only slightly dramatic, but true!!). But my MVP to end all MVPs has to go to someone who I’ve recently been totally inspired by. IMO Phil, hands down, deserves to win the crown of MVP 2020. His knowledge, understanding, application, motivation, focus, support (should I go on?) has been nothing but impressive. An absolute asset to StrategiQ and a marketer I’d aspire to be.”

But who won? (I mean, you know, it’s right up the top, but work with me here). Such an incredible array of nominations, and that’s certainly not all of them! But there can only be one winner, and that winner took the votes by storm. Our winner has a generally quiet, dark horse demeanour, with a witty sense of humour, an eagle eye for anything seriously bloody cool, and loves a good rave to some techno. That’s right, the people’s champion for 2020 is our beloved silly goose, Keiran Buchanan!

“This year, my people’s choice goes to Keiran. For me, he has grown the most as a designer and in improving his animation expertise has opened up new opportunities not only for him but for us as a business and our clients – he’s truly flourished as a designer and animator. Keiran is loyal, and an incredibly hardworking person who dedicates time before the day begins to work on enhancing his skills so he can deliver solutions to clients needs in a creatively ambitious way. Keiran is so unbelievably humble in all that he ventures in and cares about the positive impact he has on our clients and our company. I hope that in winning an award it will allow Keiran to remove some of the pre-presentation nerves that can distract him from the amazing work he consistently delivers and furthermore enable him to truly believe in himself, his capabilities and see what everyone else sees in him. A pleasure to work with and I’m super excited to see him grow even more in 2021.”

Congratulations Keiran, you’re a superstar!

And that concludes StrategiQ’s 2020 Annual Awards! Congratulations to all the nominees, winners and the fabulous team for making it so special despite the digital circumstances. Hope you all enjoyed reading all the wonderful things that the team got up to, and thank you all for coming on this journey with us in such an uncomfortable and unusual year. Our team and business is the way it is thanks to this incredible team of marketers! Here’s to 2021!

Wanna be part of all this? Get in touch with us or check out our careers page.

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