If someone had told me in 2001 that I would be standing in front of so many friends and clients, both past and present, celebrating 18 years of SQN I would have found that hard to believe. No one starts something out thinking it’s going to fail but it was always a risk! When I left corporate life back in 2001, I gave it six months and if it worked, I would continue and if it didn’t, I would just get another job.
Fast forward to Friday 6th December at the iconic Ministry of Sound venue in South London, and there we were. Enjoying a glass of Prosecco after an afternoon filled with insightful presentations and panels from some of country’s most innovative companies. That programme also included our first speaker Mark Gallagher, nowadays most often found on stage with David Coulthard or on a podcast with MIka Hakkinen but who, when I went to him as Marketing Director at Jordan Grand Prix and told him of my idea to set up a sponsorship agency focussed on purely on tech, encouraged me to go for it.
It was also a pleasure to welcome Bijaya Basu from Tata Communications, whom we have worked with for the past two years on their MotoGP partnership, as well as Sam Seddon from IBM and Grant Dall from Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Together we discussed a topical area that has been close to our hearts since the formation of the business, ‘Digital Transformation in Sport’ and the use of data within it.
We recently announced that we have partnered with US based Init Sports Management to create Init Esports with a specific focus on encouraging female participation in this growing industry. As part of our education around the industry we welcomed Heather Dower (ESL UK), James Forster (Fnatic) and Guillaume Vergnas (Renault F1). With our Head of Digital, Dan McLaren, helping to shed some light on some of the challenges and opportunities surrounding the industry at the moment.
The event also allowed us to introduce our non-executive team at SQN with Keith Taylor former executive at Oracle, CSC and Cable and Wireless and Andy Westlake. In his capacity as Chairman of the European Sponsorship Association (ESA), Andy very kindly took to the stage to share his views on the sponsorship trends to look out for in 2020. A great way to close our first ever SQN conference and lead us into the very important, and restrained, party afterwards.
Client longevity is something on which we pride ourselves and for SQN client relationships are everything. We were especially delighted that Neill Ewen could be with us as one of our very first clients, along with our friends from Cosworth. Sadly, our colleagues from Hyundai Motorsport couldn’t be with us as they were at the Rally Show in Monza busy celebrating their first WRC World Championship title! A journey that we have been on with them too having been appointed by the President before they even had any staff.
Likewise, Toyota Motorsport for whom we have worked since their days in F1 through to today in the World Endurance Championship. When you have multiple clients that have been with you in double digits, I believe that speaks for itself.
We were also delighted to welcome Paul, Geraldine and Hayley from our partner, Greenpower Education Trust. Practising what we preach, SQN is proud to have become the official communications partner of Greenpower and fully support the great STEM work it does with schools encouraging children to build and run their own cars.
Suffice to say, with the rapid pace of development of the industry and with tech now in all sports, not just motorsport, I believe we have an even greater opportunity to make our mark as a full-service integrated communications agency. Our foundations have been built on creating real business impact, aspiring to excellence in our work and going the extra mile for our clients. Those values hold firm as we move now into the next chapter and the next decade.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be publishing clips from the talks mentioned, so make sure you keep an eye on our LinkedIn page and here on the website to relive what were some really stimulating and fascinating talks.
Thanks again to everyone for their support over the last 18 years, and here’s to many more successful years to come.