Activate Group Australia Chairman and CEO (and Joe Berry Award convenor) Keith Quigg says judging for the Joe Berry Awards was like a homecoming.
“Walking into the Coca Cola offices after a three-year gap and seeing the perfectly readied room, Covid spacing and all,” Mr Quigg said. “Morning tea and coffee waiting and a stream of new and experienced judges meeting and chatting in expectation. Eventually herded by Patron Bernie Brookes AM, the judges were ready to decide.”
“What we got was an accidental day. Why accidental? Because we could not script the experience we were about to have,” he said.
“The Joe Berry Award finalists are selected through a blind judging process. Essays go out to over 65 industry executives for reading and scoring. The results are tabulated and the best six essays, from so far unknown writers, are in the final.
“What we got was amazing on so many fronts. Three young women, three young men, three from retailers, three from supplier. A nutritionist, a meat specialist, a disabilities analyst, a food service category lead, a stores operation executive and a national business manager. A mum from just three weeks ago, ethnicity, English as a second language, personal disability openness and an education that none of us expected but we needed to have,” Mr Quigg said.
“Amy Knight, Kieran Best, Laura Moller, Enrico Coquico, Benjamin Jacobs and Julia Wood wowed us with a quality of presentations we have not previously experienced. Six presentations that made selection difficult, although each one told us that they have talent that will ensure a vibrant industry for years to come.”
“After sixteen years as Director of this event, I have seen some wonderful talent emerge but never seen a group where every presentation deserves such applause. The judges were left to contemplate where their businesses need to lift, to keep up with the lessons they had just been given,” Mr Quigg said.
“The message? Brad Banducci, Steven Cain, Alex Foster, Kinda Grange and Graham Dugdale – don’t let these talented young executives out of your sight.”