By Waseem Khan, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
The night before feeling seems to remain the same, whether it’s your first day of school, university, or new job!
My first day had finally arrived, and with it a mixture of gratitude, excitement, and a burning desire to ensure I was on top form. All topped off by a slight pinch of nerves as I set off.
I’ve heard about the LGcomms Future Leaders programme ever since I started my communications career in local government. And it had finally arrived, my first day on the programme, this was it!
The welcome I received was as warm as they come, and there’s nothing more exciting than sharing a room filled with individuals who share the same passion for the profession you love. After introductions and ice breakers, the day kickstarted with an inspirational talk from a council leader, who ultimately placed comms at the top of the hierarchy in his organisation.
That first light bulb moment came quickly. I was already being exposed to uniquely different perspectives and insights. The reality for most of us is that we develop comforts and routines in the places we spend most of our time. Until we gain insight from outside that bubble, our learning is limited, and in turn, so is our growth.
At this point, I kept thinking about that one word ‘exposure.’ I was already reaping the benefits of listening, noting those insightful gems and thinking about how I could apply this learning to myself and in turn benefit my local authority during these challenging times.
The feeling of excitement and knowledge attainment would remain throughout the entire day. But also, my inner child was so happy when a photo opportunity turned into a full-on tour of 10 Downing Street!
This iconic building that holds such significance for the entire nation. I now found myself inside, going from room to room, and hearing historic stories about the nation-defining decisions that had taken place in them. The tour included me swapping chairs with former US President, Barack Obama – not bad company to be with, eh?
After concluding the day with tours of the Houses of Parliament and Lords, the excitement and fire in my belly were burning bright for the journey ahead.
My first day at Future Leaders was truly special, and if I can use a brand slogan to sum it up, it would be the Carlsberg slogan, ‘Carlsberg doesn’t do first days, but if they did, this was probably it’. I couldn’t have asked for or expected any more.
Next stop, Leeds.
End Notes: Appreciation is everything; I just want to thank everyone, from the speakers to the organisers, for their incredible work in facilitating my first day as a future leader.