March 28, 2016 in My thoughts

Connecting HR: Manchester to Africa in 3 years

On the 27th March 2013, I sat in a bar in Manchester with Damiana Casile, anxiously waiting to see if anybody else would turn up for the very first #connectingHRmcr (Connecting HR Manchester) and nervous about whether they would enjoy it. A few months earlier, Dami and I had sat around a table in London with Ryan Cheyne, noting that the three of us were all from Manchester and shouldn’t need to travel to London to meet up so we decided to do something about it.










That very first #connectingHRmcr was three years ago and as I look at the attendee list (most of whom I met for the first time that night), I’m delighted to say it lists many people who have now become my best friends and most trusted associates. The very lovely Gemma Reucroft has written a blog post about her experience of #connectingHRmcr. You can read more about some of the events; I Storified the 2nd one, and there were blogs posts from me, Damiana, and Gary Cookson about the 8th one (the one that, memorably for me, turned into a surprise Birthday party for my big Birthday).

I am really proud that #connectingHRmcr is a huge success. I’m not sure it has changed the world, but it has certainly changed my world and I know it has done the same for many others. I believe the reason for its success is simple; we wanted to create an easy way for people doing people stuff to spend some quality time with each other. Nothing more, nothing less. And people are cool. Stick them in a room together, add in a few beers, and great things can happen.


What next? We will keep on running them, and the 9th #connectingHRmcr is on 7th April 2016. If you do any kind of people stuff, you are more than welcome to join us. But there is more, as we’ve recently announced Connecting HR Africa!


selfie at drop in centre


As a trustee of Retrak (a charity working with street children across the world), I’ve been really fortunate to spend time in both Uganda and Ethiopia, to meet street children and former street children, to see our work for myself and I blogged about it from Addis Ababa and Hosannah.  We have a fantastic partnership with Greater Manchester Police and Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service through our Building Futures Programme, where teams from both organisations travel to Africa and put their skills to great use, helping street children.  Which brings me back to Connecting HR. We’ve recently launched #connectinghrAfrica to give HR professionals (in the broadest sense, i.e. people doing people stuff) the opportunity to travel to Uganda in September this year (2016) and put their skills to great use. You can find details here: Connecting HR Africa.


Connecting HR Manchester has been hugely impactful and I’m sure that Connecting HR Africa will build on that success to make an even greater impact.

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