February 24, 2024

Meet the 2022 winners: Rising Stars

As nominations open for the 2023 People Awards, we chat with the three joint winners of the Rising Star category in 2022

Sinead Ryan, Head of Account Management UK, Altour

I’m delighted to have won the Rising Star 2022 Award. I’m very fortunate to work for an organisation that has nurtured my talent and continued to support me in my professional development. For anyone looking to progress within the travel industry, my advice is to take any opportunities that are presented to you and work hard; it always pays off.

It was quite overwhelming when the winners were announced. Some of our senior management team were visiting from the US, so it was a very special moment to have them there supporting me as well.

My family, friends and colleagues were over the moon for me. They’ve witnessed my dedication and hard work over the years so they couldn’t have been happier with the result!

My profile has definitely heightened since winning the award, both internally and externally within the wider business travel community. I’m also very excited to be a Business Travel Ambassador and cannot wait to go into local schools, colleges and universities to encourage potential candidates to pursue a career in the sector.

My award is standing very proudly on my desk. I often look at it throughout the day and it always makes me smile.

My advice for anyone considering entering this category is simply that you should absolutely go for it. It’s a great experience and your profile is instantly heightened. Just be yourself, demonstrate how you have worked hard, and your talent will shine through.

Biog: Sinead has 10 years’ experience in corporate travel management and has held various roles including implementations, commercial support and most recently, account management. In her current role, she manages a team of UK account managers, as well as a key global account across 11 markets. Sinead graduated with a First-Class Honours degree in Tourism Management in 2013 and has just completed a Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.

Laura Garton, Sales and Marketing Executive at Synergy Global Housing

To receive a highly coveted award like the Rising Star award is incredibly humbling, not to mention very motivating. For me it’s the start of my journey in collaborating with some of the best leaders in the industry to really challenge the status quo and continue making a difference.

On the night of the awards I was on a business trip in Singapore so I actually woke up to the news. I was disappointed I couldn’t be there on the night, but receiving the news alongside my APAC colleagues was one of those moments in my career I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

I received the news by text so there were lots of exclamation marks, pictures of the event and celebration emojis. Everyone just said how proud they were of me and that they weren’t surprised I won, which was really nice.

Winning the award has allowed me to meet and connect with people I probably wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to get in front of if I hadn’t have won. An award like this really substantiates your achievements at work and across the wider industry, and I think it really helps you to become more widely recognised and respected across the industry.

If you’re thinking of entering, I would say just go for it, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Some of us get really embarrassed at the thought of going up for an award, but I think we need to back ourselves more often and grab every opportunity that comes our way with both hands. 

Biog: Laura is a dedicated and action orientated marketing professional with demonstrated success across the global business travel, relocation and hospitality industries. A passionate writer, Laura currently holds the position of Sales and Marketing Executive at Synergy Global Housing for EMEA and APAC, where she has played a pivotal role in the internationalisation of the brand. Laura graduated with a first class degree in Marketing from the University of the West of England. She is also a Business Travel Ambassador.

Georgia Suttie, Venue Find Operations Manager, Agiito

To be listed as one of the industry’s rising starts is pretty mind-blowing. Even now have to pinch myself. When my name was announced on the night I was pretty emotional, full of happy tears! Having also won the Venue Find & Events Team of the year earlier that night I was bursting with pride.

My family, friends and colleagues were so incredibly proud. I was showered with messages of congratulations and pressies, it was very surreal. The award has pride of place in my home office, reminding me everyday how far I have come.

Since the People Awards, I have also gone on to win a mia (Meetings Industry Association) individual award, Fast Forward 15 Alumni Star and become a Business Travel Ambassador. For the wider industry, I have been selected as a Generation BTA Advisory Board Member, responsible for assessing how the BTA and the industry appeal to a wider and more diverse demographic, which is a key priority for the BTA to ensure the industry continues to grow and develop.

For anyone considering entering this year, I would say go for it. Tell your story, but even if you don’t win, competing for an award is a worthwhile exercise that will help you reflect.

Biog: Georgia was immersed into the industry from a young age as her father was a hotel general manager, so she was brought up living in hotels and/or in-house accommodation. She started her career working in hotels, restaurants and event offices. After a taster working in Dubai managing events, Georgia caught the bug. She joined Agiito in 2014 as a conference consultant in business travel.

Eight years on, Georgia is now the Operations Manager for Venue Find. Taking hold of every opportunity that comes her way, Georgia’s drive for improvement is consistently recognised – winning awards almost every year. With 2022 being her most successful year to date, Georgia also graduated Fast Forward 15 mentorship programme, raised £11k for Mind Out charity, and won miaList 2022 – Individual Awards winner

Nominations are now open for the 2023 Business Travel People Awards. Enter now