Dear PPMA friends and colleagues,

We’re absolutely delighted to have Karen Grave as our new President and in this blog post she shares her reflections with us on #ppmahr18 and sets out the organisations priorities for the coming year etc.

“Well what a week we had last week in Newcastle-Gateshead.  The team are just about recovered, but we are still buzzing from the wonderful reception we had to #ppmahr18 – I’m still mesmerised by gold stilt walkers!  I’d like to thank again the very many people who have taken the time to write to me (and the team) to say how much they enjoyed conference last week. That means such a lot to us, particularly as we ran a 3 day event and were snowed under with the increased capacity we had this year.  Our event partners at Sage Gateshead, Hilton and Jury’s Inn and our entertainers did us proud.

It’s difficult to pick out highlights from what was a week full of amazing experiences, but there are some memories that stand out for me this year:

Our outreach to students in partnership with Manpower. The power of that event has to be seen to be believed – meeting/working with young people and opening their eyes to our wonderful world of public service is one way that we can overcome the challenges in recruiting young people. My professional view is that strategically this can be a game changer and I want to work with our regions to look at how, together with Manpower, we embed this programme as part of our overall Let’s Talk You, Talent Offering.

The inclusivity, warmth, passion and camaraderie of conference – right from the pre conference event, through to the end has been expressed more than anything else. I am very proud that we were able to achieve this. We covered some tough topics. Jasvinder was an utter inspiration and I am still reflecting on her moving keynote opener. Whether it was the content of her speech or our pre conference event, or the sun – we certainly created amongst us a supportive, compassionate environment where a number of us where able to share some very heartfelt emotions.

And of course our MOU announcement with CIPD, HPMA and UHR. I’ve been working with Nicky and Helen (and Peter Cheese) for many months now on the detail of this agreement. We very much welcome David D’Souza now who will take this forward on Peter’s behalf. We all know that moving forward, collaboration and ensuring that our collective professional voice is raised is key to how we help organisations deal with the increasing challenges we face.

Our existing plans to develop our PPMA brand, offerings, increase our membership, harness the wisdom and experience of our Past President community and raise our collective professional voice will continue. However, there are a number of additional areas that will take up the attention of PPMA Policy Board and Principal Officers this year. We need to take a look at how we are governed and structured. This is partly driven by a desire to maximise the benefits from the MOU but also to ensure that we are nurturing and supporting the next generations of PPMA leadership. There will be lots more to come on that during the next months.

I’d like to thank again our sponsors, speakers, partners and delegates for all of your support. I’ve said many times before – and I am sure I will continue to do so – that we cannot do this without the support of all of you. I do want to encourage all of you to participate. Our Board and Principal Officer roles are, as you know, voluntary. We put in the most enormous effort to build a community that supports each other and retains a laser focus on workforce issues. We can’t do that without your involvement – so please take the time to read the blogs, participate in our research programme, support our regional events and talent management programmes. Keeping engaged keeps us honest by making sure we focus on the issues that matter to you. Don’t forget that Steve, Leatham, Kim, Grace, Policy Board and I work for you!

On a very personal note, I want to thank you for your extremely kind wishes following the death of my father. Although his death was expected, it has still nevertheless been a whirlwind since last Autumn. My last conversation with Dad was yet another exercise in bringing him up to speed with conference planning.  He would have been as proud of what we all achieved last week as I am to be your President this year.”