Hello PPMA friends

Over the years the PPMA Talent Programmes have recognised the potential of some very talented people and this year is no exception. We asked all of this year’s winners to give us their answers to the 4 questions below and we start the series with recently crowned ‘One to Watch’ 2020 winner Mae Wilson. Mae is Senior HR & OD Officer from Doncaster Council.

  • What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt from your career so far?

My main lesson so far is that I should never feel like I have ‘learnt everything’ and that I am at any given moment a complete finished product. This has been a hard truth to accept, but it has been necessary to my personal growth and evolution. By being open to change and new information I have been able to tackle my own limitations but also learn new tricks and insights about my skills and abilities.

  • If you were Chief Executive of your organisation what one change would you make (in an ideal world!)

One of the biggest challenges I can see our workforce facing, and something I would like to address if I was Chief Exec – especially in a place that had really only just started to recover from the effects of flooding when the pandemic hit – would be putting things in place to support compassion fatigue and mental burnout.

We are already a supportive organisation, but I would love to put things in place to show our workforce how universally valued their work is to the organisation AND the public we serve. Culturally we are beginning to recognise that all roles within the public sector have the potential to be mentally taxing, but often this is either not recognised in the individual officers themselves, or people are perceived as ‘too far from the action’ to need support. Therefore similar to the work introduced by ‘Schwartz Rounds’ in the clinical field I would like to encourage people from all roles to discuss the emotional and social aspects of working in public service.

  • What one superpower would you like to have to make people’s lives better.

I love superheroes! But with this love comes the knowledge that with great power comes great responsibility. Therefore I would like to have the power to make sure that every piece of bread anyone would ever want to toast, will always toast to their perfect requirements. My rationale behind this power is that not only would it help cut down on potential food waste, but I believe it would also help start people’s day so much better – as with the threat of a burned breakfast completely out of the picture, people can instead focus on larger more complex problems facing our world and their day in the comforting knowledge that at least a small part of their morning has been taken care of.

  • If you were able to give your 18 year old self one piece of advice today what would it be?

The ‘mantra’ I would share with my 18 year old self, is one that has recently really helped me respond to my inner critic, and given wind to my inner cheerleader. It is from the fantastically quotable Terry Pratchett – “coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

I have come to appreciate that life is not lived in a straight line of binary choices, it is messy and complex and you can only make the best decisions based on the information you have available to you at the time. You will however never really have to start from nothing. This has not only helped me feel more comfortable about the perceived risks I have taken in my life, and in my career, but it is also a phrase I come back to when I need to remind myself how far I have come, and that even if it doesn’t feel like it, there is always some thing to be gained from the things I have experienced – good or ill. I have come to appreciate that at the same moment I am both the oldest and youngest version of myself and here lies the realisation that I not only have a long way to go into an exciting unknown future, but it is with the benefit of a range of experience at my disposal.

Mae Wilson, Senior HR & OD Officer, Doncaster Council and PPMA One to Watch 2020

We’d like to thank Mae for her frank and interesting replies to our 4 questions and they’re certainly food for thought. Over the coming weeks we’ll be posting the answers to these questions from all of our Talent Programme winners, so watch out for those. Applications for the 2021 cohorts will be opening soon – so if you’d like more information then contact Grace at [email protected].