What does CPD mean to me? by Sheila Parry

With #SummerOfCPD finishing next Friday, Sheila Parry from theBlueBallroom (who are one of our partners this year) shares her thoughts on what CPD means to her – over to Sheila:

I believe that CPD is an attitude of mind – it’s about being curious, inquisitive, making connections.

Of course, it’s about enhancing your skills and your knowledge of the communications arena, so that you are able to meet the actual requirements of your role and responsibilities. But communicators typically have to be able to grasp a huge range of subjects and juggle different opinions. To be effective, they need to have an inquiring mind, be open to new ideas, appreciate breadth and be able to look at things from different perspectives.

It’s also about depth, wanting to get to the heart of the matter, not being happy with knowing the what but needing to know the why. I guess we all start with the curiosity gene; I feel a bit like that irritating toddler, who keeps on asking “Why?” and good communicators never lose that ability to ask the killer question. I’ve always liked this combination of breadth and depth in my work, and I feel like I am constantly learning.

I spent the first ten years of my career creating channels and so spent my CPD efforts on learning about visual design for magazines and print media. Just when I was getting really good at that, digital happened and so I had to learn a whole lot more! I’ve done a lot of classroom type short courses on different platforms, but my favourite way of learning is by listening to stories, so I attend a lot of industry conferences and events, and I do love a good speaker! I think you can learn a lot about writing stories through reading too, so fiction is a hugely important source of inspiration for me.


As a communications consultant working with employers and employees, I believe my professional arena to be the world of work. About ten years ago, I moved my CPD focus from communications topics to economics and social trends, and the psychology of work. I was inspired by the book “The Shift” by Lynda Gratton and I really never looked back. I am interested in the macro-issues that influence the workplace, how people interact, and how to create outstanding organisations through people. My sources have been 3 years of HBR, 3 years of The Economist, a few Wired conferences and TedEx events.

I am glad that the CIPR count developing others as part of CPD activity, because people have asked me to be a mentor, and I really enjoy that. I have also always believed in trying to provide new perspectives across the sector, through the groups like CIPR Inside, as well as at our own agency learning event, thefuturestory. The latest themes I am interested in are what it takes to have pride at work and what makes businesses succeed (which is the topic of my own book, TAKE PRIDE), Artificial Intelligence, Neuroscience and multi-generational workplaces. When I am researching a new topic, I seek out interesting people saying or doing something different in these areas, and then I try to share it with my network.

If you would like to pre-order a copy of Sheila’s book, please go to www.unbound.com/books/pride and pledge your support.



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