THE AIM OF the CAMPAIGN
- The CPN is an “umbrella” organisation, seeking to put on events and provide services to the various member groups within its remit. The CPN aims to collaborate for the greater good of the individuals within the wider membership of CPN. Working together, we can build a greater Yorkshire.
- We realised that it was difficult to put on “ad hoc” events and that, by having a theme for the year, we could better focus on the events that we put on. Our theme this year was “Be Kind” , and it was borne out of a realisation that I had in March 2018, when I put a personal post on Facebook detailing a personal difficult journey I had gone on over six years. All of the posts that I had made over the past six years had been unfailingly positive and it was only when I made that post in the March 2018, “owning up” to the personal health related difficulties that I had encountered, that anyone, bar a select few, knew that I had had any personal difficulties over that time.
- It dawned on me that none of us know what personal difficulties anyone is facing, what private battles anyone is going through. We only present to the world the “happy face”. An unkind word at an inappropriate moment, could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, unknowingly. I realised that if we all just took the time to “Be Kind”, the impact could be significant. I discussed it with the committee, many of whom had had similar experiences, and the Be Kind campaign was born.
BE KIND IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS
- The first event that we hosted was “Be Kind is Good for Business” which was held on 13 February 2019, kindly sponsored by Womble Bond Dickinson. This was a breakfast debate. The panel was made up of Ian Garner of IOD, Richard Smith of Sufachem, Carl Pemberton of Active Financial Planning and Fiona Graham of Womble Bond Dickinson. The event was hosted by Bill Barton, introduced by Karen Eckstein and chaired by Greg Wright of Yorkshire Post.
- Whilst a lot of publicity generally, has focused on the individual’s needs, we wanted to generate a debate focusing on the fact that, by being kind to staff, a firm can boost its bottom line. The intention being that, if businesses understand the commercial benefits to them of being kind to staff, they are more likely to engage. A very lively debate followed (for more details, see https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/business/being-kind-to-your-staff-can-boost-the-uk-s-economy-1-9593104) with numerous questions from the floor. The conclusion was that, by ensuring that there was a good work/life balance in the work place, the UK economy will be become more competitive, and employees are more likely to be more productive.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
- The second event in our campaign was held on 7 May 2019, kindly hosted by First Intuition and sponsored by CABA. The speakers were Chris Burton of CABA and Jodie Hill of Thrive Law, introduced by Karen Eckstein and hosted by Lucy Parr of First Intuition. Again, the event was kindly chaired by Greg Wright of Yorkshire Post (see: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/business/why-it-s-time-to-act-to-improve-mental-health-and-wellbeing-in-the-workplace-1-9756289).
- The event was a “working lunch” to enable people to work in small groups and debate amongst themselves how they could “build resilience” and learn how to be kind to themselves. Chris Burton of CABA spoke about how to build resilience – CABA support well-being and give advice, guidance and practical help to members of ICAEW and Chris gave a lot of very useful tips and guidance. Jodie Hill then gave a very personal account of her own experiences and how she overcame personal difficulties, how she manages stress and again, putting into practical focus the theory and guidance that Chris had proposed. The delegates were then tasked with spending time over lunch thinking of two or three different ways that they could be kind to themselves. The feedback from the event was that it was inspiring, motivational and enormously helpful. People said that it would enable them to be kinder to themselves and make a real difference to their personal and working lives.
BE KIND TO OTHERS
- Our third event was held on 25 September 2019 at the offices of CPP in Leeds. It was kindly sponsored by CPP and the Insurance Institute of Leeds. The event was introduced by Andrea Jones of Irwin Mitchell and hosted by Dave Ross of CPP. We were very lucky to have as speakers Chris Lockwood, the President of the Insurance Institute of Leeds and Dame Inga Beale, the former CEO of Lloyds of London. The focus of the event was how to be kind to others in business, Chris Lockwood focused on the fact that being kind in business has a human element to it, he stated that diversity and inclusion starts with the individuals themselves, if you create an incentivised workplace, employees become trusting. He stated that collaboration was key, something that CPN firmly believes in. Dave Ross, on behalf of CPP, focused on the fact that kindness is a key element in the CPP group.
- Dame Inga Beale spoke on her experiences of being kind throughout her career and gave some compelling examples where it is all too easy to be angry and criticise but that, by taking time to be kind, and impact positively on people, act with trust, empathy and communication, it can have a compelling and powerful impact. Dame Inga stated that, in her view, we must collaborate, exhibit warmth and excitement. Even the smallest gesture, such as smiling can have an impact. She stated “We all have the power to be kind. If we are, great things can happen”.
BE KIND “WRAP UP EVENT”
- Today is our “wrap up event”, and looking back over the year, I am proud of what we have achieved in the three events so far and I am looking forward to hearing what Tom and Luke have to say. Tom has had a huge impact on the development of Leeds in his time as Chief Executive of Leeds and was instrumental in attracting Channel 4 to Leeds. Also, he was awarded Yorkshire Man of the Year 2017 and is a trustee on the Centre for Cities Board, a patron of St Gemma’s Hospice and the Council’s mental health champion.
- We are hugely grateful to Luke Ambler for agreeing to speak for us today. He is a former professional rugby player and, amongst other things, an award winning mental health campaigner, charity chairman and motivational speaker. Luke set up his charity “Andy’s Man Club” following the death of his brother-in-law Andy. Andy died by suicide, a shock to all his family and friends. There were no signals that Andy was unhappy or struggling. Andy’s death had a huge impact on Luke’s family and friends and it caused Luke to set up the Club. Luke hopes that no man will suffer in silence again and no family will suffer the pain that he witnessed.
- That ties with the point I made at the start .None of us know what private battles people are enduring, so we should all be kind. I am very interested to hear what Luke has to say today.
- The CPN is a collaborative network, we want to put on events that are relevant to the professional groups and businesses across Yorkshire that are relevant to the members within those groups. We want to provide events that enable businesses and professionals in Yorkshire to work together, meet and find common interests. Together we are stronger than apart. Collaboration is key. By collaborating, by listening and looking out for each other, we can all benefit.
- If anybody wants to learn more about CPN, then please ask any member of the committee, or contact us on our website.
- The committee are grateful to our various speakers and sponsors and, as ever, to Greg Wright for his unfailing support.
Karen Eckstein, 21 November 2019