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Informa Exhibitions colleagues across the world have been coming together to take part in this year's Walk the World initiative, striding together to connect with colleagues and raise lots of money for local charities.
Each year, Walk the World encourages colleagues in all locations to spend time together outside the office, to have fun and to raise money for local charities. In 2018, the wider Informa Group succeeded in walking over 40,000km (24,000 miles), the length of the Earth’s Equator!
The initiative saw fantastic efforts from offices in all corners of the globe: from Dubai and Singapore to London and New York, colleagues have been putting their best foot forward.
One colleague who had more reason than most to be excited about Walk the World is Chris McGurrin from our Boulder office, who was selected as one of seven WTW Connections winners to fly to London, explore the city and join the London walk on 21 June.
We sat down with Chris whilst he was in London to get the lowdown on his work in Informa Exhibitions, why connections are so important and what he enjoyed most about the British capital:
Q: To start off, could you give us a brief overview of what your role involves?
Chris: I work on the conference and education side of our events, specifically within global health and nutrition on our Natural Products Expo East and West, World Tea Expo and Club Industry shows. In my role, I work with speakers and help to curate the educational content that you’ll find at these trade shows and expos. I also help with the NEXTY Awards program, which helps promote new products for brands that exhibit at our show, and awards the most innovative ones.
Q: What do you like in particular about the health and nutrition market which you work in? What makes it such a great industry to be working with and supporting?
C: Good health and nutrition is something that I hold really dear to me. I’d say that for me, my ‘purpose’ is to try to educate people, and guide them in leading a more happy and healthy lifestyle, whether it’s through exercise or food, or through holistic health. I feel very lucky to be in a position where I can help influence an industry or a market which can then help and educate the wider population.
Q: What is it about our events in particular which you think sets them out as the place for the industry to meet?
C: The teams that I work with have a high attention to detail: we don’t overlook things, and we truly take the time to curate our content. We’re not passive about how we select speakers or sessions. We believe that if we can empower people and industries to learn how to overcome their obstacles, then we’re doing something right, and so we do everything we can to make sure we look at every business’s supply chain within that industry, and strive to address the issues which could arise for them.
Q: That said, what do you think you have learned on this trip which you can take away to help you better serve our customers?
C: Well, meeting the Vitafoods team was great. We talked about their show: they serve a slightly different market in the natural products industry than my team do, focusing on supplements and ingredients rather than finished product. It was very interesting to learn about how they cater to the European market versus the Asian market. I can see the natural products industry gaining prominence in Asia, and having seen what Vitafoods does in this region, I now feel more confident and motivated about the possibilities there. It’s really reassuring to know that we have people in our company who are already operating successfully in this market.
Overall, I guess the main thing which I learnt is how large our company is! I think that if we can find ways to communicate and share information between each other, that’s where a lot of our strength will come from. Now we’re this truly global brand, we can work and collaborate with each other to strengthen from within, and subsequently support our customers better.
Q: Have you visited London before? What's your favourite thing you've done whilst you've been here?
C: No, this is my first time! Well, I do love tea a lot, so having afternoon tea at the House of Lords with Group CEO Stephen Carter was really incredible. It was my first afternoon tea, and I now truly understand why people in the UK love it. I'm also very much looking forward to visiting the Emirates stadium, as I'm a huge Arsenal fan!
Q: And finally, how was your experience walking the world?
C: Well, I was going to mention WTW as a close contender for my favourite thing. Even though we got a bit lost and it took a long time, I loved how I was able to see so many different parts of London. We kept saying to each other: 'what are the odds that if we weren't doing WTW we'd be seeing this?'
Thanks to this trip, I've seen the huge network that Informa possesses. Once I get back home, I'm going to speak to my team about all the connections which I've made, and relay everything I've learned back to them. Applying for the Connections competition is the greatest decision I've made: I went for it, and I'm so happy that I did!
Chris McGurrin, Walk the World Connections Winner