The announcement of the Honorary Achievement award provided an emotionally uplifting finale to the official awards ceremony – especially as it was presented to Ged Mace (md of The Art File), someone who is respected and known by so many.
The Honorary Achievement award is decided as a result of nominations received from those in the industry. No finalists are announced prior to the ceremony and the recipient has no idea that they are to be presented with the accolade.
Jakki Brown, joint md of Max Publishing delivered a speech, which gradually revealed more as to the winner’s identity, with a huge roar of cheers and applause erupting when it was announced and Ged made his way to the stage.
Jakki said: ‘Tonight we honour someone who has spent over 35 years at the forefront of our UK greeting card industry. A heady combination of a passion for product, innate business nous, understanding of retailer needs as well as a strong altruistic leaning has seen them quite rightly earn the respect of all.
Starting out in their twenties, as a humble rep, for one of the most successful greeting card publishers of all time [Accord Publications], they absorbed the pearls of business wisdom given to them by the company’s owner, embraced the benefits of teamsmanship, learned quickly of the importance of forging strong relationships with retailers and standing by your word.
Back then, the industry was no way as competitive as it is now, and it was growing like topsy and our honorary achiever lapped up all the opportunities it presented, going on to join the UK offshoot of an international publishing business [The Ink Group], before using their experience to help drive a smaller start-up [Portico Designs] on their journey to success.
But their entrepreneurial yearn was too strong to ignore and so back in the late 90s, they left the security of employment, and together with their partner [Karen Mace] set up a tiny art card publisher.
Fast forward to today and that tiny company is now a £multi-million pound publishing business has become a byword for quality design, innovation and indeed commercial success revered by independents and multiples alike the world over.
Still at the helm, though with a strong team alongside them, despite the impressive growth curve of their business, the individual we honour tonight has always been incredibly generous with their time to help others, selflessly sharing their insights with small publishers for absolutely no personal gain. Their deep-rooted commitment to this sector is also evident as a long serving and very active member of the GCA Council and former president, ever keen to come up with ways of future proofing our industry and forging stronger links between publishers, retailers and consumers.
The business they head up has recently won a top accolade from the Queen for its export prowess and this year the company is celebrating its 21st anniversary. Well tonight we give another reason for celebration.
Having had the good fortune to have known him for almost 30 years, I can honestly say he is a thoroughly nice man who stands head and shoulders above so many others, both physically and metaphorically.
The Honorary Achievement Award 2018 goes to Ged Mace, md of The Art File.”