Emma Tweedie, director of Teacake Tuesday, has been named winner of the 2017 Suzy Spirit Inspiration Award. Euan Steedman, press officer for the BBC, has been chosen as the winner of the Suzy Spirit Rising Star Award.
Gorkana, in association with LEWIS, launched the Suzy Spirit Awards four years ago in memory of Suzy Ferguson, who worked for the PR agency and who passed away from bowel cancer in 2012.
Like Suzy, the awards honour those who have made a difference to others in the PR industry, and look to acknowledge individuals of exceptional character, principle and integrity, rather than those who are ‘just’ outstanding at their day jobs.
After a tough decision process, which included the finalists, as well as those who nominated them, meeting the judging panel, the winners were finally revealed at a special awards ceremony held in London today (17 March):
The Suzy Spirit Inspiration Award
The Suzy Spirit Inspiration Award is aimed at established PR and comms professionals who set a shining example through mentoring and championing others.
Four finalists made it onto this year’s shortlist, with Emma Tweedie, director of Teacake Tuesday, named as the 2017 winner.
With more than 15 years PR and marketing experience, Emma Tweedie launched her own agency, Teacake Tuesday, in 2009, and has worked with leading UK brands including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Toyota GB, McDonalds, and Tesco.
Asked to describe what it was like to work with Tweedie, one of her former employees said: “She took time to ask me about my development and what courses I wanted to go on, and subsidised this even when the agency was very new and budgets were tight.
“Even now, I still pop her emails asking her how best to handle things, or who I should contact about something, and she always makes time for me.”
Tweedie also has a long standing relationship with Live to Love, a charity which focuses on providing clean drinking water to people in remote villages across the world. She donates her time to this organisation, despite running a PR agency full time, often working late into the night to balance the needs of the charity with her paying clients.
As well as taking a keen interest in those around her, Tweedie also spends a lot of time on sustainability issues, and, at one point, ran the UK’s largest eco fabrics library. She has since given various talks to textile students on the importance of choosing eco-friendly options for their collections. “Even her wedding was completely sustainable”, said one of the four people who nominated her for the 2017 Suzy Spirit Inspiration Award.
Asked to describe what made her stand out, her other nominators said of her:
- “Someone always helping out friends”
- “She’s instilled a real work ethic in her team”
- “I don’t think anyone meets her and does not remember the chirpy little Irish woman who likes to chat.”
The finalists for the 2017 Suzy Spirit Inspiration Award were:
- Claire Foster, deputy head of news, Direct Line
- Polly Kennedy, director, APCO Worldwide
- Camilla Swain, PR manager, Girlguiding
- Emma Tweedie, director, Teacake Tuesday (winner)
Find out why the four finalists made it onto this year’s shortlist HERE.
The Suzy Spirit Rising Star Award
The Suzy Spirit Rising Star Award is for an industry newcomer, who may only be at the beginning of their career, but has already demonstrated Suzy’s qualities and characteristics in their everyday work.
Three young people were chosen to be shortlisted for the first Suzy Spirit Rising Star Award, with Euan Steedman, a press officer for the BBC, taking home the prize.
After graduating in Scotland, Euan Steedman decided to move to London and quickly started building his PR career.
At the age of 21, Steedman applied for the Communications Trainee scheme at the BBC, but instead was offered a full time role.
Since then, he has been promoted and given wider responsibility, including issues around diversity and sustainability – “areas that Euan is truly passionate about”, according to his nominator.
Last year, Steedman volunteered to work on communications activity for the Queen’s 90th birthday, and has also been accepted to study a CIPR award at the PR Academy later this year.
Asked why Steedman deserved to win the Suzy Spirit Rising Star Award and how he has demonstrated Suzy’s qualities and characteristics, his nominator said:
“When I was struggling with my own role and development, Euan encouraged me to take the initiative and first steps to progress and to achieve my full potential.
“He’s enthusiastic, professional and just a little bit sassy. My working life would just not be the same without him.”
The finalists for the 2017 Suzy Spirit Inspiration Award were:
- Connor Mahon, account executive, FleishmanHillard Fishburn
- India Smyth, media relations manager, Barclays
- Euan Steedman, press officer, BBC (winner)
Find out why the three finalists made it onto this year’s shortlist HERE.
Judges for the 2017 Suzy Spirit Awards judges were:
John Carter – Suzy Ferguson’s father
Alex Ferguson – Suzy Ferguson’s husband
Jeremy Thompson – CEO, EMEA and India, at Cision (owner of Gorkana)
Sally O’Neill – VP International at LEWIS
Henry Playfoot – 2016 Suzy Spirit award winner
Jeremy Thompson said: “Gorkana has been incredibly proud to be the media partner to the Suzy Spirit Awards since its inception in 2014 and every year they have grown in size and reputation. In an industry full of awards, this one is different in that it recognises more than just business performance. It’s about showing an ability to inspire and mentor others, as well as those softer qualities which often make people successful.
“Euan and Emma epitomised those qualities and stood out from a highly competitive field in 2017. Congratulations from all at Gorkana to both of them.”
Sally O’Neill added: “It’s fantastic to see the Suzy Ferguson Spirit Award growing every year. Choosing the winners for this year’s Inspiration and Rising Star awards was a tough decision as all the finalists showed such dedication, strong ethics and clearly inspire everyone around them without even realising it. It’s this spirit that we want to encourage, and Emma and Euan are very worthy winners.”
The official charity for the Suzy Spirit Awards is Bowel Cancer UK, which aims to save lives and improve the quality of life for all those affected by bowel cancer.
Last year the Suzy Spirit Award went to Henry Playfoot (2016), founder of Pitch Doctor and former strategy director at Claremont Comms, who was chosen from a shortlist of five.