Performance


Rear view mirror: reflecting on 2021.

27 December 2021

Sean Fitzpatrick, Pat Nourse and Liz Sunshine look back on 2021 and share their goals and hopes for the road ahead. 

Performance


Rear view mirror: reflecting on 2021.

27 December 2021

Sean Fitzpatrick, Pat Nourse and Liz Sunshine look back on 2021 and share their goals and hopes for the road ahead. 

Sean Fitzpatrick, Liz Sunshine and Pat Nourse with Mercedes-Benz vehicle

Sean Fitzpatrick, Liz Sunshine and Pat Nourse reveal their hopes for the year ahead. Image: Liz Sunshine.

As 2021 draws to a close, many of us are winding down and using this time to look back at the year that was, and forward to the road ahead. We reflect on the wins and losses, challenges and new opportunities, and take stock of how our lives may have shifted with the passing of time.

 

To celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another, we invited three friends to share their key milestones of 2021, the lessons they learned along the way, and their advice for a bright new year ahead. 

 

New Zealand All Blacks legend Sean Fitzpatrick talks about the importance of coming home at this special time of year, Melbourne Food & Wine Festival creative director Pat Nourse reflects on the hospitality industry’s reawakening and photographer Liz Sunshine reveals her plans for a more sustainable approach in 2022.

 

Each is photographed alongside the Mercedes-Benz vehicle they believe is emblematic of their own journey as they prepare to drive into 2022.

  • Sean Fitzpatrick

    Sean Fitzpatrick, chairman of Laureus World Sports Academy, in the Mercedes-AMG GLE.

    Sean Fitzpatrick, chairman of Laureus World Sports Academy, in the Mercedes-AMG GLE.

    Sean Fitzpatrick stands next to a Mercedes-AMG GLE SUV with a bag of golf clubs over his shoulder.

    All Blacks legend and Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick with the Mercedes-AMG GLE SUV.

    You split your time between the UK and New Zealand. How does it feel to be back home at this time of year?
    This is the best time of the year to be here in New Zealand, between December and March. It’s lovely to be home to see friends and to reconnect. Last year, and for some of the beginning of 2021, we were here for seven months because of COVID-19. And it just made us really appreciate how beautiful this country is.

    What were some standout moments of this last year for you?
    In my business, sport, it was really inspiring to see how people dealt with COVID and situations that they'd never thought they'd have to. Things like doing a PCR test four times a week just to be able to go to work. And then another highlight has to be the actual sporting competitions themselves. I loved watching the cricket in the summer in the UK with New Zealand doing so well. In the Test cricket final it was so special to see little old New Zealand punching above its weight again.

    Looking back on 2021, what were the key lessons you learned?
    COVID taught us some really hard lessons and some really good lessons in terms of how important your friends are. I made a point, especially during the lockdowns, to focus on connecting with people again who you might not have spoken to for a long time. I really enjoyed that, reconnecting with old mates, because everyone's normally so busy that you don't really get the opportunity to do that. And overall, I think the year also made us really appreciate what we've got.

    Sean Fitzpatrick leans against a Mercedes vehicle as he looks out over the water.

    Splitting his time between the UK and New Zealand has helped Sean to appreciate the beauty of his home country.

    What are your goals for 2022?
    I always talk about getting out of bed in the morning and wanting today to be better than what it was yesterday. It’s an easy thing to say, but it can be a hard thing to do – but why not? The All Blacks are a good testament to that, that the way we did it yesterday is not good enough to win tomorrow.

    What advice would you give someone who wants to make the most of the next year?
    My advice going forward into 2022 is to make the most of every opportunity and that you have to enjoy life. Take opportunities. Don’t think about “sometimes” or “I'll do it tomorrow”, or “I don't really need that” or “this is too hard”. Just make it work.

    You’ve been a Mercedes driver for a long time, what’s exciting you about the future?
    I am an absolute petrol head. I get one car and I’m already thinking about the next. I love cars, I love Mercedes, I love AMG, I’ve spent a lot of time driving the Mercedes-AMG GLE SUV, I think the Mercedes-AMG C 63 is the best saloon car around – but I am blown away by the Mercedes electric vehicles that are already here and what’s coming next. All Mercedes models will be electrified by 2030 and I’m absolutely sold on the electric future that is around the corner.

  • Pat Nourse

    Pat Nourse, creative director, Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, in the Mercedes-Benz E 350 sedan.

    Pat Nourse, creative director, Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, in the Mercedes-Benz E 350 sedan.

    Pat Nourse sits at a table outside a cafe near a parked Mercedes E 350 Sedan.

    Melbourne Food & Wine Festival creative director Pat Nourse pictured at Midi Coffee in Melbourne with the Mercedes-Benz E 350 Sedan. Image: Liz Sunshine.

    Looking back on 2021, what were the key lessons you learned?
    There’s a lot to be said for showing up for your people and – key point – for expanding your idea of who “your people” are. In years past, I’ve held back at times because I didn’t want to intrude or overstep the mark, but I understand now that the risk of that is small and is hugely outweighed by the gain of being able to help someone else out when they really need it. I’ve had some really trying times in the last year, and the kindnesses that have been shown to me, big and small, by a whole lot of people who I didn’t know that well before has been very moving.

    How is the sentiment in the hospitality industry as we move into 2022?
    This is where the rubber meets the road. Hospitality has never been more challenged for staff in living memory, and while that’s really hard, it’s also inspiring some creativity and new thinking about how to solve the problems. I think the overall sentiment is cautiously optimistic.

    How are you feeling about the new year?
    I’d like to think 2022 could be an inflection point for me, personally, taking the lessons dished out by 2020–21 and doing something with them, hopefully expanding my ways of thinking about the world and my place in it. Professionally I think it’s really exciting. The prospect of Melbourne Food & Wine Festival being a part of a huge push for the city to come out swinging in March, to embrace all the people from around the world who want to come back here to replenish their inspiration – that’s something to look forward to.

    Pat Nourse sits on a stool next to a coffee machine with an espresso in his hand.

    Pat says the hospitality industry has never been more challenged, but that presents an opportunity for creativity. Image: Liz Sunshine and photographed at Midi Coffee.

    What are your goals for 2022?
    Same as 2021: clarity, compassion and connection. I’d like to stage some really fun and interesting events, I’d like to connect people with some people, things and ideas in Melbourne that they might not have stumbled across otherwise. And I really want to nail Lionel Richie’s All Night Long at karaoke. (“Karamu, fiesta, forever.”)

    What advice would you give someone who wants to make the most of the next year?
    If you want to go fast, go on your own. If you want to go far, go together. The popular idea that the big breakthroughs are made by the lightbulb moments of individuals just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Spend this coming year learning how to bring people together to get things done, and you’ll change your world.

    Why did you select the Mercedes-Benz E 350 Sedan for this story?
    Because it’s precision engineering in the service of sleek design. Plus, it’s a sweet, sweet ride.

  • Liz Sunshine

    Liz Sunshine, photographer and founder of Street Smith, in the EQA from Mercedes-EQ.

    Liz Sunshine, photographer and founder of Street Smith, in the EQA from Mercedes-EQ.

    Liz Sunshine looks through her camera as she stands next to an EQA.

    Photographer Liz Sunshine with the EQA from Mercedes-EQ. Image: Liz Sunshine.

    What was a standout moment of this last year for you?
    It’s not a moment per say, but the most standout aspect of 2021 has been surrounding myself with a like-minded team of people who understand our company goals and values and are helping me to move towards them.

    The last decade has been go-go-go, and I think a lot of people are still caught on the more-is-more wheel. Personally, I want to shoot less, shoot better, and be really thoughtful in the process. Not everyone is in that same frame of mind, but I think it’s the way forward.

    Looking back on 2021, what were the key lessons you learned?
    To be honest, I learnt the importance of slowing down. Having large breaks due to lockdown allowed me to reflect on the past decade of my career, and although I’m really proud of what I have achieved until now, I know that, moving forward, I want to work at a slower pace, be more selective about the work I take on, and be more thoughtful about how my images impact the world.

    Photography is one of the most powerful historical records, so I’m asking myself, not only “how do my images impact the people that see them today?”, but also “what’s of value to me and what is the story I want them to tell from a historic perspective moving forward?” Our images outlive us, after all.

    What are your goals for 2022?
    In 2022, we have two main goals. We’re taking the first steps to becoming a carbon-neutral business, with the aim of contributing a clear and measurable approach to the sustainability conversation related to our industry. This will involve the mandatory 12 months of record keeping and a deep look into all aspects of our business, from the number of emails we send, to the way we capture images, our mode of transport and the brands we choose to work with. The end goal is to become carbon neutral by the end of 2023. Slow, steady and sustainable. Our other main goal is to actively seek and develop our current portrait portfolio to include a more diverse mix of people.

    Liz Sunshine photographed through the driver’s window of the EQA.

    Liz Sunshine says the EQA from Mercedes-EQ aligns with her mission to make Street Smith carbon neutral by 2023. Image: Liz Sunshine.

    Is your move towards carbon neutrality why you chose the EQA 250 from Mercedes-EQ?
    I selected the EQA 250 because it’s an all-electric model. It aligns with my values, and I know it’s the way of the future.

    What advice would you give someone who wants to make the most of the next year?
    Take time off at the beginning of the year, read, think and redefine a path forward. Goals, big and small, need to be defined before you can work towards them, and the slower you move in the direction the more sustainable it will be for your future.

By Mitch Parker