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  • Phil Marsland

Conference Times: The Same, but Different


As I head toward Manchester from York this morning, I think on times past and times to come.

Times I've been to #cipdACE - the annual conference for HR bods and the like - and what those and other conferences were like for me.

I think back to where I was in my life and career, and where I am now. The first one was in Harrogate and was a search for free conference swag whilst enjoying a day off and meet up with recruiters for drinks. I particularly remember the free salmon blinis and fizz - excellent! I dont remember learning much!!


In more recent times #CIPDNAP in York was fantastic for me. It further embedded me in a fantastic network of inspirational people, generous with their time and great practices. It inspired me to become what I wanted to. To stop being bad HR, and to begin making a positive difference.

More recently the annual conference in Manchester has been pretty overwhelming. Meeting so many people, going to fringe events, contributing to the development of the CIPD Professional Standards, and picking up great connections and learning.


So, as I pack my bag and step into this early morning taxi to York station I wonder what my expectations are? The same? Or different?

Well, I know that I'm in a different place. Time has moved on. People have come in and out of my life, as they do. And I know that I have a tendency to hold onto the past. I'm working on that. Letting go. Moving on.

As I do that, my expectations of #cipdACE are simpler and vaguer. Excitement tempered. Learning expected. Great conversations mandatory.


I know that nothing stays the same. This year's conference will be different than last and those that went before it. This year's learning will be different and layered. This years people will be somewhat the same but conversations will be similar and different.

So, I would ask you - what are you holding onto? What are you expecting? What will be the same, and different for you?

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