Dear PPMA friends

It’s the day after the most magical 3 days I have experienced in a very very long time. I am hoping all of our delegates will have slept well last night. I confess I didn’t get much sleep – my brain has been buzzing with everything I have learnt over the last few days from our extraordinary speakers. But most importantly, my heart has been lifted by all of you.

There isn’t enough space for me to note down all of my reflections and in truth I need more time to work through the last days, but there are some immediate thoughts I wanted to share with you.

  • This time last year, Chris Squires and I were dealing with the very recent deaths of our fathers – Newcastle was a very emotional time for both of us. Chris and I had a quick mention of this to each other after the awards dinner on Wednesday night and I didn’t have chance to say to him that I am sure his father would have been so proud of Chris and team for winning the HR/OD team of the year award. A lot happens in a year.
  • I will never forget the joy of our wonderful friends at Basildon who won too. I met Stuart, Angharad and Nicola and our Awards shortlisting earlier in the year and they said to me that they had entered a few awards but never won and they didn’t think they would this time. Well, it just goes to show that excellence wins – I am so thrilled for these wonderful people.
  • I was so pleased that Kristine Johnson, Vice President of SPDS joined us. We are working much more collaboratively with our Scottish friends and you will be hearing more from them in future newsletters and PPMA Quarterly Supplements. Kristine had brought a gift from the SPDS leadership team and a beautiful card. It sent well wishes from our brothers and sisters in Scotland and those beautifully emotional awards chimed so much with the spirit of our conference.
  • We welcomed many new people to conference (I was thrilled with the number of first timers) but for some people it was their last. I hope to see our first timers back for a second time and we have even more first times next year. For those of whom we won’t see again, I wish you blessings for the future.
  • Many of you won’t have known that we had invited Daniel John’s mum and Dad – Denny and Rob to attend conference with Daniel. As you will remember Daniel is one of our joint winners of Apprentice of the Year, alongside the amazing Kirsten Moore. Daniel is on the spectrum, his story has inspired so many of us and it was just incredible and deeply moving to give Denny and Rob an opportunity to see him in our PPMA family. On Tuesday, Daniel found out that he has been given a years role in is current team at South Gloucestershire Council. We are so excited for him. And personally I was so excited Denny won a dinner for 2 in our raffle.

I’ve become even more passionate about ensuring we engage with all of you – our members, sponsors, partners and stakeholders on the back of what we have learned this week. To keep us true to our values and true to our leadership commitment to you, all of you need to keep us honest. You need to weigh in, challenge, engage, share best practice, collaborate and call us out when we fall short. We’re human, so we all need to remind each other to create and participate in the ‘Phoenix Collective’ that I want so very much for us to be. For ourselves, our workforces and the people we serve.

Lemon suckers – there is no place for you anywhere!  Shonette – you rock!

With love, Karen