Conversation and Curation

You might recall me writing about partnering a few weeks back? Well, I’ve some more progress on that front.

Meg Peppin and I will be facilitating a breakfast conversational workshop together on the morning of Day Two of this year’s CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition. We’ll have more news on the session and how you can get involved soon.

In addition, Meg will be blogging from the conference and I’ll be helping to curate the social media content for the CIPD on their new Tumblr site. I’m hopeful we can get lots of great pics and videos from conference guests and speakers, to go along with all the blogs, tweets and other great content that always emerges from this event.

I think the CIPD’s approach and commitment to using social media to engage at and beyond the conference has been evident for a few years now, and though I’m biased, I think it’s something their team (including Johanna Ratcliffe, Tom Paisley, Robert Blevin and Natalia Thomson) and the wider membership and blogging team do really well. They’ve had and get lots of encouragement from HR professionals such as Neil Morrison and Alison Chisnell, and they enjoy good support from the wider community, and from specialists including Gareth Jones and more recently, Perry Timms.

If you’re planning on being in Manchester on November 6th and 7th and coming to the conference – let us know and we’d love to get together for coffee and conversation. And if you’re planning on blogging from the conference – please get in touch as I’d love to help share your thoughts.

Lost and Found


Paul Shaw


After Dad died, we had to clear his house and get it ready for sale. In doing so, I came across this little pouch.

This Old Pouch

As you can see, it was old, perished and dishevelled, and inside was it a broken Illinois pocket watch. The pouch and the watch very nearly ended up being disposed of, and at the last minute I decided to hold onto them. I made a few enquiries, and after parting with more money than the watch was worth, I had it fixed. It worked, after a fashion, ticking loudly and keeping time for several hours before needing winding up again.

Illinois Pocket Watch

When I learned that my proposal to speak at the 2013 Illinois State HR Conference had been accepted, I knew what I was taking with me as my timekeeper. An Illinois watch going home to Illinois, there was no other choice. The talk went well and I finished on time.


As I packed my bag for the journey home it dawned on me I hadn’t seen the watch for a while. In between carrying the watch around with me, I’d been keeping it in a particular place in my room and it was no longer there. I turned the room and my bag inside out and upside down twice. I unpacked and repacked everything. The watch was no longer in my room. I checked the bar area where we’d been the night before, I called the restaurant we visited and spoke with friends at the conference and the hotel reception, and asked people whose cars I’d travelled in to check for it. Nothing. The watch had disappeared. Despite having only had the watch in my possession for a short while, in that moment I felt sick at losing it. I wasn’t sure but I think it must have simply slipped out of my pocket at some stage. What a crappy way to end a fantastic trip you might think. For a while, I certainly did.


As I said my goodbyes and au revoirs to everyone I also set to reconciling my feelings about the watch. And it all boils down to this. Less than two years ago I didn’t know the watch existed. We lost Dad, I found a watch. I lost a watch, Illinois found a watch. Susan gave me a ride to the airport and I went home, happy that in a round about way, the watch had come home too.


My friend Vandy made an offer to paint pictures of precious artefacts for people, so I got in touch and she kindly painted a picture of the watch for me.



It Started in Ohio

I love my conference trips to the USA. The chance to meet people who I’ve come to know via blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram et al is just too good an opportunity to miss.

Ohio is holding its 41st annual state HR conference this week, and though I can’t be there in the flesh this time, I’m there in spirit. Despite United Airline’s best attempts to foil my plans, my USA conference adventures started in Ohio last year, and so it’s a special place for me.

It was in Ohio I first met:

Steve, Jason, Joe, Fred, Erin, Karen, Heather, Dwane, Jennifer, Julie, Mary, Nicole, Ashley, Desiree, Amy and many others too.

And on it goes.

It was in Louisiana I first met:

Bryan, William (king of cupcakes), Robin, Douglas, Christine, Dominique, Crystal, Dwane (no hang on, that was Ohio – and yes, I met him here too), Nisha, Brad, Janine, Sarah, Broc and Cheryl and many others too.

And on it goes.

It was in Illinois I first met:

John, Sabrina, Susan (well OK I first had lunch with these three fine people in Chicago earlier in the year – but you get the point), John (songs about trains are the best!), Abe, Brew, Dave, Paul, Daniel, Dwane (are we following each other around or what?!), Cathy, Kris, Crystal (again – yay!), Maren and Donna and many others too.

And on it goes. Where it stops, nobody knows.

It takes effort to make and build connections and relationships, and it is truly worth it. I learn from these people, enjoy their company, share…you know how it is. Grateful to know you all, and apologies to anyone I’ve forgotten to mention by name.

Connections give us meaning.

Without People, You’re Nothing.

Steve Browne sent out his HRNet email recently with some HR adapted lyrics to London Calling. I’ve murdered them here and added a wee bit more too.

Photo credit: Steve Browne