Photo: Des Good presents an  EVCOM Fellowship Award to Naga Munchetty

This December we returned to the iconic House of Lords for our final event of the year: The Fellowship Awards Lunch. Guests included EVCOM’s Board members, our membership community and Patron members who offer support to EVCOM across the year.

Guests were welcomed with a drink of fizz before making their way through to the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace, where they could enjoy a view of the Thames in winter sunlight. It was then our pleasure to announce our three 2021 Fellows, all of whom have been selected in recognition of their contributions to the communications industries.

Photo credit: Leo Wilkinson

Introduced by Charlotte Gentry (Pure Comms Group), first to be announced was Michael Hirst OBE, who currently sits on the BVEP Executive Committee as Immediate Past Chair. He has fifty years’ experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, and was appointed OBE for services to tourism. He is a former board member of the Ladbroke Group Plc as Chairman and CEO of Hilton International, and was also a consultant to CBRE Hotels, the world’s leading hotel real estate advisory firm. He served as Chairman of The Tourism Alliance, the industry’s umbrella trade body and continues to be a member of its Board. He was voted “Personality of the Year” by readers of Meetings & Incentive Travel and awarded the Joint Meetings Industry Council Unity Award, recognising individuals who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of the Meetings Industry and its level of professionalism.

Filmmaker Tim Langford then introduced our second Fellow of the afternoon, Patrick Russell. Patrick heads the non-fiction team at the BFI National Archive, where he has worked since 2000 and has led several major archival projects drawing on the British tradition of documentary and non-fiction filmmaking. Patrick’s curatorial specialism is the history of industrial and sponsored film, and their equivalents in today’s contemporary corporate media. Among the archive’s rich holdings in this field, he cites as his favourite the film and video collection of the National Coal Board. He co-edited the books Shadows of Progress: Documentary Film in Post-war Britain (2010) and The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon (2004) and is the author of 100 British Documentaries (2007) and several chapters in edited collections. Patrick has been a constant partner and friend to EVCOM sharing his encyclopaedic knowledge of the sector. He has regularly hosted and been involved with our Talking Picture events at the BFI and more recently our webinars.

Des Good (GROSVENOR Films) then introduced our final Fellow, Naga Munchetty who is a journalist and presenter on BBC Breakfast, the UK’s most popular breakfast news programme. As well as making sure that the audience stays informed during breaking and developing news stories, she enjoys asking questions that the audience would like to ask. Naga has grilled countless political heavyweights from Hillary Clinton, to David Cameron and Tony Blair. She also enjoys the lighter side of the job, with favourite celebrity interviewees including Mick Jagger and Benedict Cumberbatch.

She thrives on challenges, notching up some big sporting achievements. She took up golf in 2008 and now plays off a handicap of 9. She ran the London Marathon in 2013 and cycled 100km for Ride the Night in 2015. Away from the sports arena she appeared in the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2016, and was a judge on the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2016.

Naga’s favourite subject at school was maths, but her love of reading won out and she studied English at Leeds University. After that she took a postgraduate degree in Newspaper Journalism, which led to her first jobs writing for the city pages at The Evening Standard and The Observer. Her first job in TV was at Reuters Financial Television, followed by stints at CNBC Europe, Channel 4 News and Bloomberg Television. Her authoritative coverage of major news events including the collapse of Northern Rock and the US Federal Reserve’s introduction of “quantitative easing” won her many fans, and she joined the BBC Working Lunch team in 2008.

Each Fellow shared their thoughts on the industry and spoke about their journey so far, including challenges and highlights, addressing our guests for the first time as EVCOM Fellows. Unfortunately, Naga was unable to join us in person, but she filmed a video for us where she spoke about the importance of communication, of making sure voices are heard, that the message gets across, especially in times like these.

We then all sat down to a three-course festive lunch with all the trimmings, a perfect opportunity for teams to celebrate the end of another unusual year and an incredibly busy quarter. It was a pleasure to see you all there, and we thank you for joining us to celebrate our industry, our Fellows and the close of 2021.

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