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Our 2020 publishing heroes

This year has particularly highlighted the impact we can have as individuals. With a lot of challenges thrown our way, who were the people who really made a difference for us at Penguin?  

From being a cheerful voice at the other end of a phone call, pivoting publicity campaigns, pushing creative ideas and making working away from the office possible, here are our 2020 publishing heroes, nominated by their colleagues and friends.

Shazam! Our heros of artworking

Becky Stocks, Design Studio Manager
nominated by Katy Banyard, Senior Production Manager

Becky has always been a superstar at ensuring our designers deliver final art for our Penguin Press books in time whilst overcoming many a creative, technologicial and logistical challenge.. She is very much our unsung hero.

Tony Maddock, Creative ArtWorker

nominated by Isabelle Hanrahan, Production Assistant

Tony is the dream artworker. Speedy, zero fuss, top communication - he makes my job easier every day. From a lot of barcode extenders and foil conversions, to spine changes and ink limits, he simply cannot be fazed. That's hero stuff to me!

Facilities assemble: the biggest helping heroes

Lee Barnett, Facilities Manager
nominated by Siena Parker, Head of Creative Responsibility

Lee always goes out of his way to help other people, both in his Facilities role in the office and more recently in his Sustainability role. He is one of the most positive and passionate people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, always looking to make things better, and get stuck in. He truly cares about Penguin and the people who work here, and we are very lucky to count him as our colleague.

Christina Voigt, Facilities Manager
nominated by Kate MacDonald, Studio Manager

Christina has been totally amazing in helping us set up the Penguin Studios for recording audiobooks in our new office at Embassy Gardens. Her and the rest of the facilities team have been really accommodating and we couldn't have done it without them!

Technology support saved the day (many times)

Karanjit Virdi, Support Analyst
nominated by Roy McMillan, Audiobook Executive Producer

Endless patience (along with his colleagues in Technology Support) as I struggled with new email systems, new phone, new apps and new problems with every bit of technology. Generous and supportive and kind whenever I trouble him.

Technology Department
nominated by Rowena Skelton-Wallace, Managing Editorial Director

To get the whole company from working in the office, to all working from home overnight with the skill and patience they did was amazing – it really can't have been easy. Things didn't always run smoothly but they near enough do now – and that's all down to them. Always cheery and working incredibly quickly to make sure everybody had what they needed: hardware, information, help, a calm voice on the phone!

Flying high, our heroes of consistent creativity

Simon Armstrong, Publicity Manager
nominated by Emma Jones, Commissioning Editor

Simon works on some of our most demanding books and never runs out of drive or creativity. He is level-headed even in the most stressful of situations and is such a fun person to work with. He's been a key part of some of our most important PR campaigns, is a favourite with our authors, and was the first person that came to mind when thinking of someone who has made this stressful year a lot better!

Julia Teece, Head of Marketing and Brand
nominated by Frankie Gray, Publishing Director

In a year that has required endless pivoting and required plans that change at the drop of the hat, Julia has been the epitome of calm - totally unflappable. She always delivers brilliant campaigns for her authors, but this year she has actually done so several times over in numerous cases, making new plans for the same books when the situation warranted! She has done it all with such good cheer, teamwork and a smile. No task ever seems too much for her - she is a hero!

Our friendly neighbourhood mentors

Emily Lunn, Commissioning Editor 
nominated by Lily Lindon, Assistant Editor 

Emily has been my mentor this year, and she's been so brilliant. However big or small the problem I came to her with, I always leave our meetings feeling buoyed up about what to do next. I wish everyone had a mentor like her!

Asmaa Isse, Assistant Editor
nominated by Sian Pratley, Production Controller

Asmaa has been my rock this year and one of the pillars of our network for colleagues of colour – Colour[Full], through a really taxing time for us. She's also a powerhouse of an editor and acquiring some amazing books and making them a beautiful reality! I can't even begin to thank her enough for being so kind and supportive this year.

and finally... Up, up and away! The heroes that went above and beyond

Sharon Grant, Warehouse Duty Manager
nominated by Simon Goldstein, Head of Operations

Sharon has been the beating heart of Grantham Book Service operations (part of our distribution division) through this most strange year.

The first to volunteer when we had a full lockdown in March, she rallied colleagues to perform great things with 40 other volunteers. Her energy is contagious to the point that she inspires colleagues to go above and beyond. Although we are one team, great individuals make a great team and true leaders are humble in appearance, that's Sharon.

Felicity Box, Marketing Analyst
nominated by Claire Deverley, Marketing Manager

There are so many reasons to nominate Flic, not least because she's always smiling (and ready with a spirit-lifting anecdote), but because she is forever willing to go above and beyond. Whether it's answering a confusing data question or fixing a broken spreadsheet, she makes my life - and the rest of the Audience Development team's lives - so much easier. In particular, her recent sales report means we can directly track and filter our book sales by activity and campaign, which has been immensely helpful in lockdown. Most of all, she's just a joy to work with.

Sarah Curtin, Inventory Controller
nominated by Kirsten Cranfield, Personal Assistant

Throughout the autumn we had a number of authors coming into the offices to sign copies for our customers. This was a huge logistical exercise, involving a lot of liaison between sales, production, printing and publicity, and of course things did occasionally go wrong, but Sarah was amazing throughout the whole process - patient, competent, reliable, and amusing. We could not have pulled off the number of signed copies we managed without her incredible input.

Nathalie Coupland, PA/Paralegal to Group Legal Director & Legal Team
nominated by Gwyllym Tilbrook, Brand Protection Lawyer

Nathalie is the keystone in the arch of the legal team and a true hero. Juggling an exceptionally busy workload making sure our books get the right legal support they need whilst taking care of the myriad of other things she deals with on a daily basis, Nat has caught every curveball 2020 keeps throwing! Her 'above and beyond' work to get us up and running, troubleshooting every remote working challenge and her unwavering willingness to help on any issue ensured business unusual has always remained business as usual.

Katrina Whone and team, Managing Editorial Director
nominated by Susanna Wadeson, Publishing Director

Quietly, steadily and brilliantly, Katrina and her team ensure that Transworld's books make it to production. This year the circumstances were particularly difficult and a huge load of work fell on Katrina's shoulders at a time when she was managing all sorts of other challenges and should have been on holiday. She is self-effacing and heroic.

Tell us about the heroes you've worked alongside in 2020 over on our Penguin Random House LinkedIn channel.

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