Highlights from a hard year | Hardie Grant Media

Highlights from a hard year

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2020 was an emotional rollercoaster but at Hardie Grant Media there was also a surprising number of highlights. Here are the incredible moments and lessons to remember.

Scott Elmslie

So, 2020 has been and gone. Like most, I’m sure, I was glad to get to the invisible marker of midnight on New Year’s Eve, put the year to bed and to start to look forward.

The year that began with mass swathes of Australia burning out of control took us on an emotional rollercoaster that will live long in our memories. 

It’s all too easy to write off the year and focus on looking forward but underneath all the challenges we’ve faced there were some really great moments that need to be remembered and reflected on.

So, as we get off and running into 2021, I wanted to take one last look at 2020 and pull out some of my highlights from the year because individually and collectively we still achieved so much. 

Here are some of the things I want 2020 to be remembered for.

A screenshot from a video meeting. Ten people are working from home and chatting about work online.

Last year our team was so in sync working from home that sometimes we wore the same outfit.

We're closer together

While we may have been geographically further apart, I feel like this year has brought us all closer together as a team. We got glimpses into the home lives of our colleagues, we became more adaptive, more empathetic and got to work with people within the business that we historically hadn’t.

For example, our Sydney and Melbourne offices at Hardie Grant Media are now more integrated and work more collaboratively than ever before. I loved the way we all just pulled together. Long may that continue.

Putting life in perspective

The prolonged lockdown in Melbourne set us so many challenges and forced us to slow down and look at our priorities. While it is something that I do not want to go through again, it has given us an opportunity to learn. 

Outside of reading/webinars/podcasts and other self-growth opportunities, the biggest education I’ve taken from this year is about resilience and inner strength. As well as learning to enjoy the simple things again. Like finally being able to go further than 5kms from our front door, a simple trip to the zoo or the first pint back with friends.

It has also given me a privilege not normally afforded. Having more time at home gave me the chance to spend more time with my kids. While home schooling wasn’t fun, being able to see first-hand our five-year-old learn and grow through the year was a special moment in time. My wife did an amazing job as a prep teacher. 

Welcoming new faces

There is a lot of stress with starting a new job. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be onboarded to a new role or to start working with a business while everyone was working from home. 

This year we welcomed Jo, Beth, Nat, Lisa, Mitch, Neil, Kristy and Zoe to the HGM family across our content marketing, video and PR network. 

Expanding our vocabulary

Unexpected words and phrases joined our common vernacular; iso, unprecedented, pivoted, Karen, “you’re on mute”, Megxit, lockdown and, of course, “no, you’re still on mute”. 

Earlier this year my colleague Jo wrote a great article on the language of lockdown with examples of evolving language from around the world.

Hidden pregnancies and new babies

Only getting to see people from the shoulders up on video calls it was all too easy to forget about the Hardie Grant babies on the way. 

In 2020 three of our team welcomed their first children into the world. Hudson, son of our MD Nick, Theodore (aka Teddy) son of editor Anna, and Grace, the daughter of editor Constantina. We can’t wait to meet them all this year.

Our clients

We’re lucky to work with some amazing clients, all of who are passionate about what they do and who were having to adapt to an ever-changing landscape. Working side by side with them I’m proud of what we’ve achieved. Here are a few of my favourite pieces of work from 2020.

ANZIIF’s The Journal magazine moved online. 

The cover of ANZIIF magazine, Journal. The main picture is of water with life buoy rings and the headline "Pandemic Pools".

We created some articles and videos on Christmas inspiration with Mercedes-Benz and Steve Cordony.


We learned some practical tips for home cooking with the Cut to the Chase video series for The Star Sydney.


Good in the world

While at times it felt like an endless stream of bad news, there were some wonderful things that happened around the globe this year. Here are a few examples of some of the good news stories that may have slipped through the cracks.

For me, one good news item that may have been missed was Greening Australia's commitment to one of Australia’s largest-ever restoration projects: planting 25 million trees by 2025 to aid recovery from the devastating bushfires. 

Team HGM

2020 has left an indelible scar on our lives and has affected so many people in so many different ways. But we made it through. I want to thank our dedicated team who never faltered, never missed a deadline and continued to produce some incredible work despite all that was going on around us. It’s a privilege to work with such an amazing team. 

As we get started on the new year, let’s take the inner strength we found in 2020 and use it to continue to push and challenge ourselves to always do better. To learn and grow. 

To use a sporting parlance, ‘we go again’.  2021, bring it on!

By Scott Elmslie, account director