Hello PPMA members and friends

This week’s post comes from Leatham Green who is our Lead on Talent Management and is the driving force behind the PPMA HR Rising Star competition. For his day job Leatham is Assistant Director of Personnel & Training at East Sussex County Council. He gives us the background on the build up to this years’  Rising Star, which will reach it’s climax at the glittering awards dinner at the PPMA Annual Seminar in Bristol on the 16th April, when the winner will be announced.

‘As we prepare to launch this year’s on-line voting to select the winner of PPMA’s unique HR Rising Star competition, I was reflecting back to the launch of the event which was celebrated at the House of Lords in December 2014.  On that day we brought together future talent and senior leaders from across the public service to consider the topic that we would ask this year’s competitors to consider.  This event was a real opportunity for PPMA  to showcase the talent we had worked with over the past year from Rising Stars and also Peer into the Future, and the Apprentice of the Year.  The drive and enthusiasm experienced at the House of Lords carried on through January, and resulted in our biggest shortlist to date.  By the end of the two days, judges and coaches alike were blown away by the breadth and depth of talent we had the joy to work with.  So, what actually took place?

Our Rising Stars for 2015 are:

Imogen Denton            Nottingham, City Council
Joseph Mitchell            Surrey County Council
Ken Lyon                      Nottingham City Council
Claudia Beaumont       Wiltshire Council
Rachael Morris             Nottingham City Council
Sam Reilly                     Buckinghamshire County Council
Sarah Brain                  Hertfordshire County Council
Sarah Ward                  Trafford Council
Shauna Posaner           Nottingham City Council
Sian Waters                  Surrey County Council
Tara Webber                Hertfordshire County Council
Tracey Inkster              Central Bedfordshire Council
Anton Howarth              Kent County Council
Carly Boiston                Kent County Council
Chloe Carter                 Hertfordshire County Council
Colette Quinn               One Source: on behalf of London Borough of Havering
Dawn Tomlyn                East Sussex County Council

This is the third year we have been running the event, so it was time to change up the format of the event, and that also included a new look judging panel.

2015 Judging Panel:
Nick Heckscher            Sector Director: Government Manpower Group
Nebel Crowhurst          Head of Learning and Development: Virgin Holidays
Suzanne Hudson         Senior Adviser, Workforce, LGA

The event kicked off with a pre-event challenge of preparing a business case identifying what initiative they would propose to improve collaboration within public service.  The ideas generated real interest and debate from our judges and will be shared on the PPMA’s website after the winner of the event is announced.

The competition started with a coaching session on personal impact to set contestants up for the challenges that lay ahead.  The first two sessions tested contestants’ ability to think competently under pressure (TCUP), and everyone found some aspect of the sessions tested their resilience to some extent with comments such as “I didn’t think I had it in me”, and “I was stretched to my limit, but loved it”.

This year we were joined by Angela Probert, HRD, Nottingham City Council, and Gerry Meikle, Public Sector Operations Manager, Manpower Group, who provided coaching and support to delegates throughout the event.  Thank you to you both for sharing your insight, experience and ideas.  The impact this support had on contestants was so immediate.

We were also joined by Sue Evans, Head of HR and OD, Warwickshire County Council, Vice President elect of PPMA, who joined us for day two of the event, and who commented:

“I am so very impressed by the quality of performance by all delegates.  I have heard so much about this inspirational event, and it has certainly lived up to my expectations.  I think it is brilliant that we have the opportunity to shine a light on aspiring HR leaders.  I love the blend of coaching delegates receive from Leatham and Angela set against a tough competitive element, and the result was stunning to observe.”

Day Two required delegates to focus on sharing their business case – a task everyone embraced incredibly well.  It is a tough ask for any experienced professional to present in public, without notes, for six minutes, however our Rising Stars did just that.  Suzanne Hudson, one of this year’s new judges, said:

“The quality of talent on display over the two days has been quite simply incredible.  I have been genuinely impressed by all entrants who put their heart and soul into the event and had us all captivated.  It has been such a pleasure to be part of this – such a unique experience”.

At the end of the two days, our three breath taking finalists were announced:

Sam Reilly                    Buckinghamshire County Council
Dawn Tomlyn                East Sussex County Council
Imogen Denton             Nottingham City Council

On-line voting is now open, so take a look at each of our talented HR Rising Stars and cast your vote here.

This is the third year I have hosted this event and each year I am incredibly proud to be part of the occasion.  This year, especially, I was really struck by the group support and camaraderie – of course it was a competition, and everyone was giving their all to win through to the final, however, I have never experienced anything quite like the positive group morale, and I am sure it helped bring out even better performances from each and every delegate.

Part of the reason why this event was created was to identify and nurture the professionals in the early stages of their careers, and help fast-track their progress.  This aim has been achieved very successfully from our first winners, Ellie Goddard and Adam Feather.  This year the constellation of stars shone brighter than ever.  Apart from our talented finalists, there were two young stars that stood out for me.

The first was Claudia Beaumont from Wiltshire Council, who scooped the Spirit of Rising Stars award, signalling her future potential.  The other standout participant for me was Colette Quinn, London Borough of Havering, who encapsulated the art of being authentic and individual – one to look out for.

Taking part in such an event as HR Rising Stars is so public, and I applaud anyone who is prepared to step forward and take a risk – nothing of worth is ever really achieved by playing it safe.  By stepping into that public space allowed Ken Lyon, Nottingham City Council, to seize the moment, and gained unanimous praise from our judging panel for having produced an exemplar written business case and, by embracing the feedback provided from Gerry and Angela, his performance was transformed over the two days.  Ken won the Star Quality award.  This was reflected by Nick Heckscher from our partner Manpower Group, who said:

“We have been so impressed by the quality of the pitches from all delegates, but the stand out written submission came from Ken.  It was extremely compelling, clear and believable.  This event continues to be the highlight of the year.  It is such a privilege for us to partner PPMA”.

So, the stage is set for the public vote.  Our 2015 line up will be in attendance at PPMA’s Annual Seminar on 16 and 17 April in celebration of their achievement.  Who will be crowned the Rising Star 2015 is now in your hands.  However, one thing I know for certain – the future of HR as a profession in public service is in safe hands.  We have amazingly talented, creative, confident and resilient professionals who deserve to be encouraged to step into the spotlight and fly … good luck to each and every one of you!’

Leatham Green

PPMA Lead on Talent Management and Assistant Director of Personnel & Training at East Sussex County Council