Getting to know our new LN Chair: Gemma Wells

Gemma Wells has worked in L&D for 11 years, starting as a facilitator delivering classroom training before moving into design. She is self-taught on all things digital learning but is always learning and developing herself to become better in her field. She has mainly worked for corporate L&D departments before moving into the world of apprenticeships.

Alongside full-time work and her position as Chair on the board, Gemma is a mum to 3 crazy kids and an even crazier puppy!

Firstly, congratulations! How does it feel to be voted in as Chair?  I feel very honoured and proud to have been voted in as the new Chair – I have loved my time on the board so far and I am excited to see what the new year brings for our network. I also feel like I am stepping into very big shoes, so hopefully, I can do the role justice!

What made you decide to stand for Chair?
I love being part of the board and having the opportunity to shape it for our members is important to me. To stand as chair gives me the opportunity to lead our new board into the new year and create a new era of the eLN. We have exciting plans for 2022 so to have the opportunity to lead the team on this journey excites me.

What will you be bringing to the network within your role as Chair?
Passion for the network, a change of direction and a drive to utilise the knowledge of our members to give the absolute best to our network.

What does 2022 look like for the network?
It looks exciting, we are looking at our brand, looking at what we offer and how we can grow this further, bringing back more face-to-face events and all being well actually hosting Connect this year! It’s going to be jam packed!

What challenges do you think L&D will face in the next few years?
For L&D it will be the challenge of keeping up with the pace of change. Covid shifted the world of L&D to an online model so the challenge will be to get the right balance for all learners moving forward and making sure that the online offering matches their needs.

What types of support does the network offer that can help with these challenges?
Our members Slack channel is the perfect place to share best practices and gain insight into how other members are gaining successes in their L&D world. We will also be looking to our members to shape our events so they are geared towards the ever-changing L&D landscape, and as always our brilliant mentoring programme can offer help when our members need guidance in what they are trying to achieve or even if they want to move into a more L&D led role.

What do you look forward to most being Chair?
I look forward to working with our brilliant new board, it’s exciting to see the diverse knowledge of L&D that we have on the team, everyone brings something new and exciting to the table, but we all have the same goal of bringing the best to our network! It’s going to be a great year!

What has been your proudest moment in the network so far?
My proudest moment was delivering a talk at the World of Learning virtual event in the summer with Jayne Davids – I have never spoken at a conference type event before and it was so exciting to see our names on the list! I know it wasn’t quite speaking in front of a huge live audience but for me, it was a big push out of my comfort zone!

What would be your top 5 tips for someone new to the network?
My top five tips would be:

    1. Utilise the mentor programme – I have learnt so much from my mentor and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing without their guidance!
    2. Get involved in as many of the virtual events you can as we have been lucky enough to have some great speakers/sessions – you have the opportunity to ask questions and share experiences with so many different people!
    3. Make suggestions – share what you would like to see – without our members we wouldn’t have a network so it is important to us that you get the most from it.
    4. Attend face to face events when you can – networking in our world is such an experience and the fact you can mix with like-minded people sharing your thoughts, asking questions, and gaining experience is the best feeling!
    5. Share your knowledge as a mentor – you may think you haven’t got the knowledge but believe me, you have more than you realise!

Finally, what would be your parting words to Joan as she stands down as Chair?
It has been a privilege to learn and be mentored by Joan, I have loved working alongside her, and she has been a huge boost to my confidence, helping me to feel valued and that I have a part to play in the network. I am going to miss having her on the board, but I feel she has left us with such a great structure that we can go onto 2022 in a great place and carry on what she started with pride!