As the nomination to stand for elections is coming to close, I wanted to take the time to share my experiences over the last 4 years. Being part of the Board for The Learning Network has been such an amazing experience and if you are still considering putting yourself forward, I would strongly recommend taking the leap.
I am not going to lie and tell you it’s an easy gig, but the skills, confidence, and sense of achievement you get from being part of the team makes it more than worthwhile! I have had the pleasure of being Vice Chair alongside Joan Keevill last year and moved into the Chair position this year. I have met and connected with so many brilliant connections courtesy of The Learning network and I will be forever grateful for the confidence it has given me – I even managed to keep my imposter syndrome in check when being interviewed by Rob Clarke at Learning News!
The best thing about being on the Board is the team of people that you get to work with – people from all different areas of Learning that you may not normally have the pleasure of linking up with – you learn so much!
My journey on to the Board was a simple one – I wanted to give something back to the network that had already taught me so much. Being a newbie in the world of Digital Learning and not having a team of people to work with made me look elsewhere for my knowledge building! At the time I had John Hinchcliffe as my mentor, and he was part of the Board at the time. He encouraged me to set up a members meet up in Manchester – we partnered with Jam Pan and held an evening of networking. I was hooked and wanted to be part of it even more. This then prompted me to stand for the Board in 2017 – I wasn’t successful on my first attempt but that did not stop me! I continued to get involved in events and raising my profile then in 2018 I was voted on!
My time on the Board has given me a huge sense of achievement and I have been lucky enough to be part of some fantastic events – myself and Jayne Davids got the opportunity to speak at the Virtual World of Learning about our mentoring programme and the benefits it can bring. I got to be part of Andrew Jacobs, The Women Talking about Learning Podcast alongside then Director Asli Derya talking about Flexible working – this was a huge leap for my confidence, and it was great to be able to chat through a topic close to my heart with Asli as it felt so natural!
I got the joy of being part of the Learning Technologies Awards judging process too thanks to Tony Frascina – he does an amazing job of organising this process with The Learning Network providing up to 60 judges each year.
Its such a privilege to be part of the team and I love seeing how much our industry evolves each year!
We then got struck down by the pandemic in 2020 which restructured how we provided our members with access to the same great content and level of engagement. This was my proudest year though as I stepped into the Vice Chair role and with that I took on the challenge of setting up a Virtual Interactive Webinar series for our members! I organised 18 webinars over the course of the year that were member only events. We had amazing sessions from some of our Directors – Paul Service, Lisa Walker, David Price and also our Marketing Consultant Hayley Maisey. We covered so many hands-on type topics and members can still see them on our website. Although we had to stop our face-to-face events these sessions were a great way to keep us together as a network and to give our members new skills!
Towards the end of 2021 we started to get our face to face events back in the calendar and alongside our wonderful Industry Partners we held events across a week in November in Brighton, Manchester and Birmingham – it was such a nice experience to have the opportunity to network again and it was a glorious way to end the year!
My last year in the Board as Chair has had its ups and downs – the team successfully rebranded us from The eLearning Network to The Learning Network – Directors Hannah Christian, Paul Service and David Price alongside Hayley Maisey did a fantastic job in getting our brand updated allowing us to reach a new breed of members – a special thanks to David Price for all his work on our new website – its looking fresher, more up to date and easy to find content as well as the ability to connect with members!
Keeping up with the new brand saw us showcase it at the Learning Technologies Conference and World of Learning – courtesy of Events Director Lisa Walker’s expert organisation skills – it was touch and go if we would have the new banners delivered in time as they went to the wrong address – but it all came good in the final minutes!!
Lisa also reignited our Awards Showcase event – partnering with our great Industry Partners Possibl at the beautiful Birmingham University we got the opportunity to hear from gold and silver award winners – sharing their work and what won them their awards – it’s such a fantastic event to be part of so look out for this year’s winners sharing their stories in 2023!
Director Kashish Kacheira took the lead with marketing our research study alongside Jane Daley – this saw our members share their thoughts on how the world of L&D looks and what needs to change to boost our knowledge and skills as L&D experts.
Tom McDowell has now taken the reigns of Member Webinars and has already scheduled some awesome speakers for our members – I know he has a ton of ideas for 2023 as well – we are lucky to have his connections and knowledge on the Board!
Kim Ellis has continued to keep the networking going through the Tea & Talk sessions, which if you haven’t had the chance to join, I would recommend – the conversation flows and you get to widen your network further, and the newsletter sharing some amazing articles and events through the course of the year. Kim has also been supporting Andrew Jacobs with our brilliant mentoring scheme! None of these things would be possible without our fantastic members contributing content to both the Tea &Talks and Newsletter as well as members putting themselves forward to be a mentor! So thank you!
Thanks also needs to go to our Marketing partner Hayley Maisey who has been integral in shaping our brand and making sure we are marketing ourselves in the right way and also Rowan Lingard our Virtual PA who keeps everything moving in the background!