Victoria Hardcastle, from St Helen’s Council, is a member of this year’s Future Leaders cohort.
Imagine turning up to a baking competition having forgotten your cake but still bringing a big spoon ready to tuck in.
It’s an analogy that could pretty succinctly describe what Comms Camp North is like. You turn up with nothing but ideas and willing and then get stuck into sessions that are shaped by like-minded people who bring a feast of experience and expertise. Oh and a lot of cake.
It’s certainly daunting going to your first ‘unconference’.
No agenda beforehand to work out whether it’s worth attending, no idea who the speakers will be and what would happen if there were hardly any sessions at all?
But the entire day was such a lovely warm, welcoming hug from fabulous people who have the same passions as you.
There were endless possibilities to learn from others. A focus on the things that really matter like leadership, personal resilience, change communication and technology.
But there was also time for some discovery and creativity with a lunchtime history walk around Bradford and a creative play session that unleashed that inner ladder salesperson we all have inside us. Or maybe that’s just me.
But perhaps the thing that makes Comms Camp North unlike any other conference is the chance to have your voice heard.
The relaxed format puts you at ease and helped me find my voice where in traditional arenas I might have worried about not sounding like the fool who doesn’t know what they’re talking about in front of my peers.
Returning to that cake analogy though there was a bit of truth to it. I had spent hours slaving away in my kitchen to make a chocolate banana cake that sat proudly in my kitchen 80 miles away going that went to waste.*
But what I lacked in sugary treats I was able to make up in making my voice heard.
Until next time Comms Camp North – I promise I’ll not forget the cake too when I return!
*Was eaten with gusto for dinner.