On Friday the 4th annual DANI Awards took place, celebrating the best in the digital industry in Northern Ireland. For me the awards are one of the highlights of the year, where so many of my friends and colleagues in the local digital industry get together to have a great time.
This year it was extra special for me, as I was shortlisted for the final award to be handed out that evening: Digital Industries Person of the Year. It was between myself, Louise McCartan from Search Scientist, and Victoria Hutchinson from Ardmore.
As you can deduce from my smug grin on the following photo, I won.
Being awarded such recognition for what I love doing is pretty awesome, but – as with everything in life – it’s never a purely self made achievement. In my 17 years of working in the digital industry, so many people have helped me out and given me such great support, advice, and opportunities, it would be impossible for me to thank them all.
Nonetheless, whilst commiting the unforgiveable sin of leaving out so many that should be mentioned, I do want to highlight a few people who’ve been there for me over the years and without who I’d never have come this far.
First and foremost I want to thank the team – past and present – at The Tomorrow Lab and the Pierce Partnership who are arguably the best collection of industry experts out there and who I’ve enjoyed working with immensely.
Next a big shout out to everyone involved in the Digital Exchange networking group, who’ve had to endure more than a few of my rants, and who welcomed this vocal and slightly obnoxious immigrant warmly in to their midst.
The lovely folks from the University of Ulster’s DMC programme, you’re all awesome and it’s my honour and privilege to contribute, however modestly, to the education of the next crop of digital marketing superstars.
There’s so many more to mention, but the list would go on forever and I’d still manage to leave out names that deserve thanks, so I’ll just conclude with the most important people in my life: my friends who keep me honest, my family – Mom, Dad, Marlies, Monica, and Jackson – who always got my back, and my wife Alison, who is the reason for everything I do.
Ever since I arrived here a bit more than five years ago, Northern Ireland has been incredibly welcoming and kind to me. This wee country punches way above its weight, and I’m immensely proud to call it my home. Northern Ireland has brought out the best in me, and I’m nowhere near done yet. :)
Onwards and upwards!