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“If there is a cause you want to champion or a voice you want to amplify, I’d say do it because you will be surprised by how much one person can change”: What we learnt from the PPA 30 Under 30 Awards

By Sorcha Mondon

6 Oct 2021

On the 5th of October we gathered to celebrate the industry's 30 brightest stars at the PPA 30 Under 30 Awards. Speeches from Editor-in-Chief of Insurance Insider, Catrin Shi and Editor of TTG, Sophie Griffiths inspired the audience, telling them about the key industry changes they have spearheaded.

Under the green fronds of exotic plants in The Barbican Conservatory, 30 bright young things under the age of 30 came together to be celebrated for their achievements over the last year. 2020 was a challenging year across the publishing sector, and the 30 Under 30 award winners were still able to make waves at their relevant publishers. You can remind yourself of our winners here.

The wonderful event was made possible by headline partner Shutterstock Editorial, PPA Strategic partners, Air Business Pensord and YM Group, and event partners Denmaur Paper Media and PLS.

Though the evening's primary focus was to shine light upon the successes of these individuals, speeches from Editor-in-Chief of Insurance Insider, Catrin Shi and Editor TTG, Sophie Griffiths gave our award winners the chance to look forward to the future of their careers. Fittingly, both speeches focused on the power individuals within the sector have to make real tangible changes to the world we live in.

Firstly, we heard from Catrin who charted her career from its beginnings at The Worthing Herald, her time at which she described as “a crash course in human beings and how to report on human life”. She later moved on to S&P Global working as a financial journalist. It was here she made contacts from Insurance Insider, to which she moved in 2015. The following 6 years saw Catrin climb the ranks to where she is today. She spoke of the power of the B2B side of publishing and what a privilege it is to have “a really engaged and loyal readership,” which is also a great responsibility and “underlines the importance of accuracy.”

She told our 30 Under 30 winners about a particular career highlight at Insurance Insider, launching their diversity and inclusion forum, Insider Progress. She told the audience: “We needed talk about diversity differently and we needed to change the conversation. She also commented on “existential threat of not being diverse in our workforces.” Catrin described the frank conversations had in these forums that inspired and implemented the change across the insurance sector. Catrin’s closing remarks spoke of the responsibility that our award winners have in making their corners of the world better places. She said: “If there is a cause you want to champion or a voice you want to amplify, I’d say do it because you will be surprised by how much one person can change.”

With the audience feeling suitably inspired by Catrin’s message of institutional change, Sophie Griffiths took to the stage to share a message of inclusion. She had the audience laughing within moments, sharing a hilarious anecdote about an investigative writing piece gone wrong involving a hidden dictaphone falling out of her sleeve. She commented: “If my previous experiences had given me crucial training, it is my time at TTG where I think I have evolved and learnt to be a true journalist – one that not only reports truthfully and accurately on stories, but who fights to do everything we can for our readers.”

Sophie spoke about her publication, Trade Travel Gazette, with warmth and passion, reflecting on the exceptionally strenuous year the title has had, discussing their transition to digital in the depths of the pandemic and then eventually making the hard decision to move from a weekly print issue to monthly, all the while supporting their loyal readership.

Before offering her top tips to the winners, Sophie shared the work TTG is doing to be more diverse and inclusive, with a particular focus on LGBT visibility, launching TTG LGBT, the travel industry’s first LGBT network. She said: “We realised that either LGBT people were getting to the top, but didn’t feel comfortable being out, or they were our but somehow getting stalled on the career ladder. Either way, we felt this simply wasn’t good enough.”

Finally, she shared her best advice on tackling imposter syndrome, discussing the importance of owning up to mistakes and concluded: “Never be afraid to voice your ideas – some of them might not work, but some could be incredible. I was really nervous to suggest the idea for TTG LGBT to my boss back in 2015 but he loved the idea, and within four years it had evolved into an industry-leading D&I programme.”

Both speakers focused on the progress they have initiated in the industry in their senior positions. An inspirational message that resonated with the 30 Under 30 winners that are sure to be changemakers too.

You can view all of the photos from the event here.

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