Today was my first CMPP meeting. Well, not really my first one, but my first one with the wider Farnborough group. Just to explain, there used to be a separate Woking CMPP area group, but now we have all amalgamated so we can be so much stronger together.
Introducing the session
The introduction from Paul Marcus (Eagle Radio MD) was focussed on the “kindness economy”. I found myself nodding in agreement with him when he said that as a CMPP member we’re already on the right path. After all, the reason that I was there representing my employer TVision, as well as all of the other professionals in the room, was to promote and encourage volunteering and wellbeing in our respective local communities.
The fabulous and inspiring Tracy Marlow then took over to introduce the agenda.
Alderwood School pupils personal reflections
I honestly wasn’t expecting to get choked up at the next session. But the audience were then surprised by a group of 14 year olds from Alderwood School who spoke about their experiences of spending time with a number of the CMPP member organisations. In effect, it was work experience. The outcome? All of the students spoke from the heart, saying how inspiring it was to go and find out about career paths and who now appreciated that starting in one particular job didn’t mean you were pigeon-holed for ever. I know that feeling, going from science grad to marketing manager in a tech firm isn’t an obvious career path, but sometimes your perfect job finds you. All of the students spoke so eloquently in front of the group of attendees. What an achievement – I’m not sure I could have done that at their age. Without wanting to sound patronising, it was really brave! This group fo students should be commended. The applause at the end was definitely heartfelt. I was so impressed, and their teachers and families should be too.
Community Action Days
After this, we heard from Emma Thompson, the Community Action Day Coordinator. She put a few slides of events held most recently – and I made the cut along with my team mates. There we were holding paintbrushes from our time spent at Your Sanctuary in Woking – whose aim is to create lives without fear.
Networking session – part 1
Finally, the networking part of the session. We switched to sit at tables of people we didn’t already know. Part 1 was always introduce yourself… with my repeated patter (perfected by the end!) of: “Hi, I’m Danusia Jolliffe and I work for an employer who helps businesses with inefficient processes by using a Microsoft tool called Business Central. It assists you with financial management and project/resources planning. We’ve been in business just shy of 20 years with a great celebration planned for our anniversary later this year. Our office is based in Woking, with 25 employees and it’s a great environment to work in.”
Networking session – part 2
For Part 2 we had to answer three questions (paraphrased by me below), across three separate rounds of networking meeting new people each time.
- Why are you a member of the CMPP?
- Why do you do choose to do community focussed work?
- How do you promote your CSR activity?
I think that the answer to question one is a simple one. So many organisations want to offer CSR activities to their employees, but it’s hard to find the time to find the projects to get involved with. Being offered a list of projects you can get involved with in your local area is a great outsourced model. But the added membership benefit of attending networking days shouldn’t be overlooked.
My personal answer to question two is: because I can’t help myself. I am always busy and always volunteering to do things in my personal life (I’m a school governor and my sons’ Woking Cougars Football Club Secretary). And my professional life is no different. Being able to give something back to the local community is very gratifying and so important in the grand scheme of things. I have done several community action days now (formerly known as give and get days but actually – that doesn’t sound great does it?!), Brockhill – garden tidy up, Hermitage School – sensory room, Your Sanctuary – painting bedrooms. I wonder what’s next?
In terms of promotion and question three, it has to be via social channels. We share our activity on our Twitter feed @tvisiontech and also our TVision LinkedIn feed, as well as blogs (such as this one). Also, we send a monthly newsletter called TVision Matters to our contacts, as well as a quarterly Bevica Matters specifically for our wine and drinks industry contacts. It updates our clients, as well as anyone else who has signed up, with Microsoft updates naturally, but also tales of TVision staff activity, recent blogs, and also offer invites to register for our monthly webinars and past webinars on demand from previous months.
Until next time ….
And just like that the CMPP session was over. It didn’t feel like enough time to get to meet so many people. But that’s just the first of many sessions that I intent to attend. If you’ve made it through to the end, thanks for reading. I look forward to meeting more people at the next CMPP networking session.