Having been involved in Engage for Success for many years, I was as proud as punch to be invited to become the Area Network Ambassador towards the end of 2020 and keen to run our first event. My first thought was delight and excitement, my second, how on earth will I find the time for this when I’m running a small business in the midst of a global pandemic! Then, as always, the adventurer in me along with my passion for learning kicked in, and I thought, come on young lady (I live in a world of rose-coloured spectacles), you can do this Michelle. One thing I knew I could do, based on how we had changed in our own business, was do this online and make it accessible! So, I got to work in putting something together.
Having run our first event only a couple of weeks ago, I have taken some time to reflect on the event and thought it was worth sharing some of my insights so far.
My first reflection is sometimes we just need to get on with it and not over complicate. Once I had got my head in gear, it was just a matter of getting some ideas together and pulling them into a plan. I decided to keep focussed on the opportunity presented which was to connect like-minded professionals across the region to share, learn, lead and inspire together.
On the subject of inspire, having had the pleasure of listening to David MacLeod and Nita Clarke speak at various events and sitting next to David at an Engage for Success event 7 years ago, I knew that people would want to hear straight from the horse’s mouth too! So, having the opportunity to hear them at our launch event, for me, was a real highlight. No matter how often I hear them speak, I always come away feeling inspired – one person left a comment “Really inspiring” – so job done as far as I was concerned.
My second reflection has been the importance of asking for help. Because people are amazing when we do this! I was overwhelmed with the support from the Core Team at Engage for Success and Jonathan Henwood was excellent at pointing me to people and ensuring I got the support I needed. The other Area Network Ambassadors were also incredibly helpful, in particular, Sarah Pass, who kindly offered to be my wing woman on the day and both Sarah and Tess Shannon who shared insights from what they have been doing in their region – what a difference they made. And then to one of our clients, local PR agency, Partners Group, and the lovely Karen Tinkler who offered to run some local PR for us and got us some local coverage. Another big thank you to each and every one of you.
And then, finally, so proud of the support in our local community for Engage for Success. I had hoped to get around 40 people at our first event and we had over 80 people registered which was fantastic. The 53 people who attended were fantastic and over half put themselves forward to support and volunteer at future events. With feedback such as “Great initiative looking forward to getting involved” and “Fantastic session and I really hope our organisation will be able to learn from your knowledge and experience”, what more could we want at this stage.
Bring on our next event, is all I can say! We have a meeting set up in June with those people who said they were keen to get more involved in volunteering so I can’t wait to meet everyone then and start looking at plans for our next event and getting going with our aspiration to share, learn, inspire and lead together in the months and years ahead.
For anyone who missed the event, we recorded the session and this can be found on the Engage for Success website under the Yorkshire and Humber Area Network group using the link below.
If anyone wants to be added to circulation for future events, please drop an email to email@example.com
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