Allotment assignments led to a blossoming international career for go-getter with deep North Herts roots
- Credit: Archant
It was back in 2004 when, fresh out of university and working in the finance sector, Antony Reeve-Crook decided to take a change of course and become a journalist.
The 36-year-old from Hitchin cut his teeth as an intern at the Comet before taking a vocational training course and taking the first steps on a varied career.
Antony’s hard work and determination was to pay off and, after gaining more experience on newspapers as well as stints in television and PR, he took on a new challenge working for exhibition and conference magazine publisher Mash Media only four years later.
He said: “I started off as a features writer and then within four months I was editor of a magazine and was tasked with turning it around.”
Antony relaunched Exhibition World magazine and became editor of Mash Media’s international magazine portfolio, winning awards from the Professional Publishers Association in the process. And after seven years at the company he was commissioned by managing director of UFI – the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry – to write a book on the field.
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Antony said: “I put everything I’ve learned over time into the book – I wanted it to be definitive for the industry, something that’s used in universities and something that is available to all.
“With exhibitions come united equal opportunities for employers like you wouldn’t believe, from the chamber maid cleaning rooms and the hot dog vender selling his stuff to big business, so people from international cities who could possibly set up a base or host an exhibition in your city – this book is commissioned to get across that message.”
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Antony wrote most of the book – titled Where Markets Meet, The Story Of The Modern Exhibition – from his office space at the Stevenage Business & Technology Centre, provided by the start-up and small business support company Wenta.
He said: “Sharing space with others – also embarking on new ventures – had huge advantages over hiding away at home or overdosing on caffeine at local cafes.
“In many instances it was feedback and conversations with Wenta’s team and other friends in the office that gave me a great deal of insight into what enables new businesses to thrive.”
The book was launched at the MICO congress venue in Milan, but was produced by a book binders in Walthamstow and printed by Falkland Press in Letchworth.
It will be released in different languages for audiences across the globe, including Spanish and Mandarin.
Antony recalls that it hasn’t always been easy juggling writing the book with his home-life including his relationship with jewellery designer wife Becky, who is part of the team at Weston-based jewellery experts Harriet Kelsall.
He said: “I almost lost my wife over it! I was working on it for 18 months and it was based on seven years of research and expertise – but she’s happy as it’s gone down well.”
When he’s not jetting off to speak at international conferences, Antony is very much involved with Stevenage and North Herts.
“I’m in a shared office in Stevenage and I attend business meetings and work with the local public speaking consultant here – there are loads of Stevenage businesses in the BTC and I help them where I can.”
Now with so many achievements under his belt, Antony summed up the advice he would go back to give to himself, or anyone else starting out on their journey.
“Keep your options open and then specialise, find something you can be interested in, and throw it all in.
“Never say no to a meeting, because you never know where it’s going to take you – I took this book on in addition to a full time job so I was doing it my spare time, but by launching it, people are coming up to me with new opportunities.
“If you have serious self belief you can get where you need to be – and I’m grateful that it was the Comet who gave me my first start.
“We’re all here to knuckle down and make an impact and that’s what feels really nice to me about having written a book because I’ve had an impact on an industry and everybody seems to be really receptive to it – and it all started with local allotment stories.”
For a copy of Where Markets Meet, The Story Of The Modern Exhibition – which is due to go on sale via Amazon in the near future – contact UFI via www.ufi.org.