Pushing the boundaries – CommsHero style

It’s often easy to let your day job lead you, but taking time out to get to events, hear and learn from others reaps big rewards. CIPR Inside is a proud advocate of continuous learning and professional development, helping comms professionals learn more and be the best they can be. Faye Saville is a CIPR member and we recently talked with her about her attendance at the #commshero event.  She clearly left that event inspired so we asked her to share what was so special about taking time out to learn. She shares this experience with us here.

Over to  Faye Saville, Account Manager, Frontier PR

A daily challenge will not ruffle the feathers of a Comms professional – in fact, it comes with the territory.

Comms folk thrive under pressure, we get excited about creating change and we enjoy nothing more than exploring the unknown, producing the unexpected and of course getting results.

But all that said, there are times when we need to take stock of what we’re doing, how we are doing it and most importantly the reasons why. We need to embrace those unchartered Comms waters, rip down barriers to success and push our own boundaries.

This is the reason why I went to last month’s CommsHero in Manchester. It was the fifth event produced by @ResourceHousing for Comms people across the UK, and I finished the day feeling motivated and inspired, whilst pledging to live outside of my comfort zone whenever possible.comms hero John Popham - Copy

Having attended the very first CommsHero event in 2014, I had no hesitations about re-fastening my superhero cape, donning a mask and joining more than 70 Comms people for a day to remember.

After all, it’s important for us superheroes to touch base from time to time. We need to pool together our creative ideas, learn from each other, see where we are going wrong – and most importantly find solutions to the issues we are facing.

It’s true that we don’t have all of the answers, but as specialists in our field we are empowered and trained to provide the best advice we can to our colleagues, customers and organisations on a daily basis. We shouldn’t be afraid to be bold in our communications, or to try something different. Instead we should “seek forgiveness, not ask permission” – great advice shared by speaker Amanda Coleman, Head of Corporate Communications at Greater Manchester Police (@amandacomms).

CommsHero spoiled us with an action-packed day. Aside from the singing, creative breakout sessions and delicious food, we heard engaging presentations from talented Comms professionals: Grant Leboff, Sales and Marketing strategist (@grantleboff); Bridget Aherne, Head of Corporate Communciations at Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service (@BridgetAherne); Caroline King, Group Head of Brand and Communications at Torus (@Caroline_Torus); Asif Choudry, Chartered Marketer & Marketing Director at Resource (@AsifChoudry); and Heather Wagoner, Head of Internal Communications & Engagement (@Heather_Wagoner) and Paul Facer, Senior Internal Communications Business Partner (@paulwfacer) – both from London Underground.

As an audience we heard about how Greater Manchester Police uses multi-channel campaigns to engage with a broad audience (including a 227K strong twitter following), how Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue is focusing on the mind shift to more proactive communications, and Caroline King inspired us to be brave when building up our own personal profiles and networks, as after all, we are all ambassadors of our own brands.

The power of face to face and personalised communication was shared by Asif, whilst Grant focused on the customer experience and the importance of aligning our messages to what matters to our audiences.

Lastly, we heard about the communications challenges London Underground has faced and overcome as it gears up to launch Night Tube – a new weekend 24-hour service from September. The team shared the benefits of storytelling to engage their audiences, and on behalf of @CommsNerds (ran by Heather and Paul) we explored the significance of the art and science of communication – and realised this is something we should all explore further.

So there you have it, CommsHero has opened the doors to a wider professional network and also bought people together from a variety of sectors.

A huge thanks to all of the keynotes and Resource Housing. You’ve left me with a hunger to push the boundaries, think more, learn more, and be the best Comms person that I can be.

Connect with Faye on Twitter: @FayeSaville


If you’d like to read more about the #commshero event, check out the storify here that sums up much of what was covered on the day.


Working on your CPD?

If like Faye you’ve attended an event recently and you’re working on your CPD to gain or retain your Accredited Practitioner status, simply log it as a custom activity if it’s not a CIPR event or not listed on the CPD activity list.

It’s pretty straighforward to do, you just need the event title, provide a summary of what the event or learning activity was about and what you learned, the name of the provider, proof fo your attendance with perhaps a scan of the ticket, a web link and the date you did it.


Image credits: Comms hero John Popham, Twitter  Brick Wall Martin Wessely Splashbase.co


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