Limbering up for the CIPD Annual Conference 2014

I feel I need to start with a confession.  For most of 2000’s I wasn’t a member of the CIPD.  My significant other was and well he got the magazine through the post and I didn’t see any other value in the organisation. I used to go to conference (I was living in Yorkshire and working in Leeds) so it was easy to pop up to Harrogate and get my bag of swag (who needed to buy pens??).  I attended fringe sessions but used my own networks to get my professional development and keep up to date with what was going on in the world of work. In 2010 I went through quite a change personally and re-looked at my qualifications and what was going on at the CIPD.  And well, in short in the last 3 years I achieved Fellow status and became re-engaged.  This has been largely down to my involvement in social media and my growing network of connected HR and non HR professionals including colleagues both at the CIPD and working with them. I’m still a little skeptical around the ‘whats in it for me’ element of my membership but through getting more involved and participating in schemes such as the Steps Ahead Mentoring programme I am becoming more active.  I’ve attended branch events, took part in the CIPD hackathon amongst other events/activities and now have been asked to be part of the CIPD 14 Blog Squad. This means that I will be attending conference this year with a press badge and tweeting, blogging, vlogging and generally updating on my thoughts, views and discoveries. I can’t wait – there’s been talk of limbering up, early nights, getting my blog kit together (after a handy guide from David D’Souza), I’ve even made a new dress! Ok the dress wasn’t entirely necessary but it’s a good enough excuse! I’ve picked my sessions and had a good look at the conference brochure.  There’s a great range this year – something for everyone.  But also the fringe events – some great plans are in place for a Street Wisdom event and HR Unscrambled are just two that are well worth a look at. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the CIPD have to offer and to working alongside a fab group of people to bring the event to life on line!

#CIPD14 – reflect, connect, eggs, bloggers and the art of conversation

I’m so pleased to be part of the CIPD Blog Squad this year and wanted to share this open invite from Megan to attend her sessions.

Halls are made for Madness

I am delighted to be at the conference this year both as a participant tweeting from the various sessions, and working with my colleague Doug Shaw where together, we are hosting some fringe sessions. Attendance to all sessions is free and open to anyone attending the exhibition or conference.  You can discover more and reserve your place here.

To explain a little more, our Reflect and connect sessions run briefly for 30 minutes and are a really relaxed and informal way to come and meet fellow practitioners.  We have both experienced the awkwardness that can sometimes be felt as a lone attendee so wanted to create a space for people to come and say hello.    We are also running an evening session exploring the Art of Conversation (there may be a glass of wine involved) and a breakfast session session building on an experiment we ran last year…

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I’m here to help

Day 2 done and dusted and I’m still full of oomph (& cold to be honest). Met some of my team today and called/contacted the others. I’m all tooled up (phone, laptop etc) and raring to go.

As well as meeting some of the wider HR team I took the time to call some of the key people in the business that my team are there to work with, our internal clients or out more simply the people we are there to help. It’s a simple concept that others talk about far more eloquently than I can but at the end of the day it’s true.

I’m there to help them win new business, mobilise and transition contracts so that staff are motivated, engaged and have what they need to be successful, demobilise contracts so that staff can move smoothly and know that they are being treated well and fairly and leave feeling good about us.

I’m there to make it easy for them to manage their teams and support them in doing that. I’m there to help.

Yep there’s a bit of leading and managing and even strategy setting but that’s all worth nowt if I don’t get the ‘help’ bit right.

You could hear the smile in the voice of the chap I spoke to today when I told him this – he sounded genuinely pleased, became much more open and welcoming.

More of the same tomorrow. Bring it on.

(Traffic jams : 2 (closed road, turned over bus; cups of coffee: 3; lemsip: 2 ( plus those horrible tablets); tissues: a small rainforest; employee handbooks given: 0)

New start

First day in my new role today. I’ve been laid up with cold/flu this week and my brain hasn’t been working well at all. BUT I was really excited about getting back to work after 4 months off – And really excited to be back in an industry and role that I have enjoyed in the past.

So I dosed up with lemsip (other cold remedies are available) and headed off round the M25 to meet my new colleagues.

It was brilliant. There’s a massive task ahead, so much opportunity and potential and desire to improve, change, develop, harness the good, chuck out the bad and drive forward.

It’s an exciting time and task – it’s a bit daunting but I feel like a fire has been lit that I haven’t felt for a while.

Going to get rid of this stinking cold this weekend, send the last project work I did to the client (after review I finished it whilst full of snot so it’s going to need a good, hefty review) and then come Monday get cracking!

Can’t. Bloody. Wait.

(Miles driven 90, minutes spent on M25 not getting out of 2nd gear 75, wine opened after 7pm (on a Friday unheard of!) episodes of HUTH 0)

Weekend in review

Please forgive this completely indulgent personal post – it’s a bit dear diary but my life is about keeping connected and energised at the moment and these are the things that help!

Well that was a weekend and a half.  It started Thursday night with the Interim Manager of the Year Awards (I didn’t win but made the last 20 finalist (not just HR but across all disciplines) so I was pretty chuffed) – a lovely evening hosted by Boyden International at Kettners.  Good food, great company and some lovely champagne.  Home by 10.15pm for a nice cuppa with himself.

Friday was back to the grind, emails, calls, follow ups, followed by a brilliant night at #Porklife.  Pork Life was a street food festival all about pork organised by the brilliant people at Tweat Up (highly recommend that you follow them on twitter and sign up to their newsletter as the events have never failed to deliver).  Late train home (thank you London Overground) with my haul of a fab bag of Mr Trotters Great British Pork Crackling (oh and boy yum yum yum) and a bottle of The Rib Man’s Holy F*ck Hot Sauce (I thought I could handle some heat but BOY this will blow your socks off).  A fabulous evening with good friends and good chat and some amazing ribs, pork cheek and pigs head oh and ridiculously oversized cocktails.

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The Street Feast was held in Dalston Yard with nooks and cranies used to full potential and a brilliant evening overall.

Saturday my head was a little tender but there was no rest, we took G to All Weather Pups for a two night stay as our usual dog sitters were off having lives (how inconsiderate) and we knew we were going to be out and about for most of the time until Monday.  So we tootled off to Hook in Hampshire and left G in the company of the brilliant Helen and her other charges for the weekend.  (When we picked him up on Monday whilst he was pleased to see us he was in no rush to leave and by all accounts had a brilliant time – they even found a street named after him (ahem))


Then Saturday evening came around and I went off to meet my stepson for an early supper.  Note how I said that so casually?  Well it was nerve racking and scary as I hadn’t actually seen him for 9 years – he’s 18 now and a lovely, confident, funny, articulate lad.  We drank mint juleps and ate buttermilk chicken at Stax and the 2 hours flew by.  It’s been a while coming and I know that he started seeing his Dad (my ex husband) about a year ago and I helped them get in touch but it was really really lovely to spend some time with him and see how well he’s doing.  I left him with his friend drinking a cocktail whilst I headed off to my next stop.

Now its unusual for me to have so much on in one weekend – usually we might have one thing on but for some reason this saturday night I had three places I needed to be and not one that I could easily miss.  So after some time jiggling I moved my Stepson to early and then had a brief time to meet with the most wonderful brilliant and fabulous CP who moved back from Singapore this week after 5 years (is it 5?  I think so, it could be 4…).  She’s been gone such a long time and whilst we have seen each other (I went over for her wedding and she has been back for flying visits) it was so lovely to know that she is back in the same town on the same time zone.  She was on good form considering she had come back to the UK via Beijing, having got back to the UK sometime Thursday.  There may have been some happy tears in our all to brief reunion but she was jet lagged and I had event 3 to be at!  So a couple of martini’s (extra dry, a little dirty) at Milk and Honey and we were off – CP to her bed and me to a sports bar in Piccadilly.


So event 3 – the London Blitz end of season do.  I was late, very late – so late in fact that I arrived as the venue were throwing them all out due to some issues with the bathrooms meaning that they had to close.  Anyway undeterred the team and coaches and partners headed in to Soho to a bar (I have no idea) where much dancing and laughing and fun was had (so glad I had flats in my bag).  The night bus and a stumble into bed in the early hours but a great night.

After that you’d think we’d have a duvet day – but no.  Himself went off early to training and I made veg box soup.  And then we were off – Miami Dolphins V Oakland Raiders in NFL at Wembley.  Himself is a Dolphins fan and was a bit excited about this one.  It was a great afternoon/evening, 83,000+ fans in Wembley for the first of this years international series – three games this year moving us closer to a UK franchise for the NFL???  We both really enjoy the games and had so much fun (even if my team wasn’t playing and in fact lost that evening -grrrrr).  Def Leopard were the opening act (yep they’re still at it) and whilst they were only on for 10 minutes it was fun.

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If you get a chance to go to one of the other games this years it’s well worth it – get there early to tailgate and throw yourself into it – you won’t regret it!

So my weekend was over – full of fun, love, laughter, some great martinis and fabulous ribs.  Refilling my bank of energy and joy to prepare me for another week of the job of looking for a job.   That’ll do pig, that’ll do.