Moving on up

Regular readers will know that I enjoy featuring guest writers on my blog and I’m thrilled that 2012 has seen another bumper crop of articles and writers. Thank you to everyone who has contributed over the past 12 months and if you have an idea for an article, do read my guidelines and get in touch with your ideas.

Hr JugglerToday I’ve turned the tables slightly, as I’ve written an article for Alison Chisnell’s popular blog The HR Juggler as part of her advent blogs series. You can read my article below or directly from her excellent site. The image on this page shows my daughter reading one of her favourite books, The Hungry Caterpillar, and Alison’s theme was reflections and resolutions.

Moving on up
2012 has been a year of change and celebration in the UK. We’ve seen the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, the amazing Olympics and Paralympics and watched our economy start to get back on its feet again after a shaky few years.

I write about my professional life via my blog, Diary of an internal communicator and this year has been no exception. This guest article for Alison’s blog is a break from the norm as it certainly is a month for reflection and resolutions.

Personally, this year saw me undertake the largest change project of my career. A professional internal communicator by trade, I became a mummy in May when I gave birth to my first child, my daughter, Daisy.

This means I’ve spent a large part of this year on maternity leave, which is ongoing, from working in-house at a global Pharmaceutical company. Medical complications in pregnancy saw me start my leave early, at 26 weeks, which gave me time to reflect and prepare for her arrival, and finally get to open the pregnancy books I had bought to read through!

The ripple effect in May as my husband became a father, my parents became grandparents and my brother became an uncle, means that 2012 will be long remembered by my immediate family as the year we all moved up a generation and our perspectives shifted.

New skills
It’s been the steepest learning curve of my life, with new skills and experiences being discovered daily as I’ve transitioned into my new role and everything that has brought. I’ve been enjoying balancing both my personal life with writing for my blog and others. Guest writers have really come into their own and provided insight into many fascinating comms topics via my blog and I plan to continue sourcing such writers for 2013.

With the advent of social media, it’s easier than ever to keep up-to-date at times that suit. If there’s a webinar I’d like to participate in for example, many sites offer replays so if routines don’t allow me to see it live, there’s always the chance to catch up.

A voluntary role as social media adviser and web editor for the Ealing branch of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) means after years of living in this part of West London, I finally discovered my local community. NCT has introduced me to a circle of new friends too.

2012 saw my thoughts on employee engagement, internal communications and social media published as a chapter in a book, Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR professionals, which is another tick off the bucket list. I attended the evening launch at Google’s offices in London when Daisy was six weeks old and managed to resist calling constantly to check she was ok. An SMS from my husband, showing her sleeping peacefully in her Moses basket, put my mind at rest.

The second time we were apart for a few hours was in September when I gave a talk at Facebook in London as part of Social Media Week alongside some of the other Share This authors. She watched the live-stream on our TV in the lounge and by all accounts apparently enjoyed seeing me on the screen.

Gathering the crowd
In September I co-founded @theICcrowd with two friends of mine, fellow comms professionals Jenni Wheller and Dana Leeson. This is a community for comms pros to connect, share and communicate with each other, primarily via Twitter. We arranged our first social event on 11 December to bring the crowd together face-to-face, and it’s been great to see it develop in the latter part of this year. I’m excited to see how it will evolve next year.

Last month I attended an M3 event – Media Mums in Marketing – for the first time. Battling rush hour on the Tube in London with buggy in tow was certainly an interesting experience! M3 introduced me to a whole room of smart women working in Comms and PR, and my brain was buzzing after the inspirational morning with visiting speaker, coach Jessica Chivers.

I’ve lost count of the number of people who have asked me if Daisy will be blogging or tweeting. I know there are many successful accounts of that ilk, which do very well. Although I do read some, I won’t be making that choice for her and we are finding ways to communicate together rather than sharing with the outside world.

One example is sign language, I have been teaching myself how to sign and we attend a weekly class, which includes it, so we’ve been learning together. I talk as I sign and the range of children’s TV programmes that include it and the weekend signing on CBeebies means I am exposed to sign language in a way that wasn’t around when I was a child.

Watching a little person discover the world and communicate in her own way fascinates me daily. At six months old, Daisy grasps the basic functionality of smartphones, pinching and swiping her way through the various baby apps that exist and she enjoys looking at photos and videos of herself. I’ve been rediscovering my childhood books, such as The Hungry Caterpillar, and rhymes, and learning new ones.

Alison’s topic was reflections and resolutions. I’m still in the process of shaping my resolutions for next year, so I’m not able to share those with you. However after a year of such life-changing events, I’m determined to make the most of every opportunity including teaching Daisy and enjoy everything she’s teaching me in return.

Merry Christmas to everyone and I wish you a healthy and happy 2013, Rachel.

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