Dear PPMA colleagues and friends

As we approach conference, our President Karen Grave shares her hopes and expectations for this year’s annual conference.

“Hi everyone, I’m so looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Birmingham. As ever in the run up to conference the team is both excited and anxious to make sure that we haven’t forgotten anything critical! Putting on annual conference is a huge undertaking and before I share my thoughts, I want to say an enormous thank you to Leatham, Kim, Grace and everyone else who makes it possible for us to put this event on. Our focus will be on making sure you have a fantastic conference experience!

I try to take stock of the progress we have made before each of our events. Last year in Newcastle was a real thrill and it was a very personal opportunity for me to return to the place I studied at Uni. This year, I’m looking forward to conference with the same enthusiasm but for a number of reasons:

  • We’ve got a great theme ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ ,that always makes me smile just when I think about it. But there is a lot more to this than a happy slogan. We have a real opportunity to increase our learning about the impact of leadership, employee engagement, wellbeing and productivity on our workforce colleagues. I’m fascinated about this link because I think it we can collectively crack this with our colleagues, it will really help us harness all of the potential of our people. It’s good for them but more importantly it’s critical for the citizens we serve. Each year we see more and more external pressure on our ability to deliver services. Finances are a constant challenge. However in my view, there is an increasing and potentially more divisive threat. Our politics are increasingly fragile and it’s harder to see policy proposals being developed that help those of us in public services really address our most pressing challenges. So to overcome this, we need to take our destiny in our own hands – enabling and empowering our people isn’t just a nice to consider – it’s an imperative for all of us. I can’t wait to hear from John, Maria, Beverley, Jamil and Shonette and of course, all of our amazing fringe session speakers. We’re going to learn a lot.
  • We’ll be welcoming existing and new members to conference. It’s fantastic to meet old friends again and find out what’s happened since we last met in Newcastle. But it’s always really brilliant to welcome new members to the PPMA family. We’ll be saying a big hello to all of them – but in particular, I’m really chuffed to welcome HR & OD colleagues from all Greater Manchester Local Authorities. They are going to add a fascinating dimension to our community and I hope we will learn a lot from their DevoManc experiences in particular.
  • This is also our first national event since our restructure last year. We’ve come a long way since then and we now have appointments to all of our key posts. Our first Extended Board meeting at the end of March was so exciting. Our new Theme Leads and our Regional Chairs brought energy, new ideas and a commitment to our collective future that left me feeling really hopeful.  You will have the opportunity to meet Board colleagues over the 3 days, so please make sure you take the time to meet them. Every single Board member undertakes their role on a voluntary basis – that is a huge commitment but they do it because of a collective belief in the value of PPMA. If you are interested in getting involved in the running of the association please come and talk to one of us. Board members will have a different colour lanyard to conference attendees, so we will all be easy to spot!
  • We’ll have plenty of exciting things to say about our membership offering too. I am very proud of the breadth and depth of our offering – it compares very well to other professional associations. Our ability to offering a compelling value proposition depends on the great support from our existing and new sponsors, the commitment of our Board members and all of your ongoing support. You should never underestimate the amount of work that goes into volunteering for Board roles, so I encourage all of you to take advantage of what we offer.
  • And last but not least, we will be announcing the winners of our PPMA Excellence in People Management Awards programme. I love this part of Gala Dinner – it’s always brilliant to recognise the efforts of our winners and everyone who takes part. With the pressures of work, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there is a huge amount of innovative, creative and inspiring work being done day in and day out across public service HR & OD. Gala Dinner is our opportunity to reflect on that, enjoy good food and great company and kick back and have fun.

And talking about fun, we’re really looking forward to our Rock the Kasbah theme…….

I can’t wait to see you soon!”