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My Afternoon with Gold-Medal Olympian Kelly Holmes

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Last month I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Indeed Explore event which was held at the stunning County Hall just a stone's throw from The Houses of Parliament.

I had been to a smaller Indeed event up in Manchester which was very worthwhile, so I knew I was in for a treat going to this one. The aims of the events are to engage in inspiring conversations with renowned talent leaders, attend interactive workshops and gain insights and tap into research that can take recruitment to the next level.

There was a great line-up of speakers on the agenda but I must admit that I was most excited to see Col. Dame Kelly Holmes MBE.

The day kicked off with an engaging and vibrant talk on 'The Power of Brand' by Carmen Bryant, US Director of Marketing for Indeed, who had flown in from New York especially. I knew this would be right up my street and I wasn't disappointed. Carmen regaled stories of how small touches and human intervention can change a brand's image almost immediately. She also talked about how an employer's brand is effectively a promise - whatever we 'put out there' as an employer, we must deliver on. Her anecdotes of a tale of a budget airline getting the whole plane to sing happy birthday to a child travelling with them one day to demonstrating that John Lewis has kept their strap line 'Never Knowingly Undersold' since pretty much day one were pretty captivating.

Carmen also shared stories about two employers;

The first one gives employees a $2500 bonus when they reach their 5 year anniversary but there is one stipulation - they have to travel outside of the US with this money; this company sees the benefit of 'experiences' over 'things'.

The second company makes Christmas time a little more fun by not simply gifting staff with a generic present such as a hamper or a case of wine (although that's still a great gesture, don't get me wrong), they give staff $80 and give them 20 minutes to leave the office and buy whatever they want (I'm thinking they must be based somewhere pretty exciting like NYC - this wouldn't have the same effect if it was an industrial estate-based business in the suburbs of the UK!).

Dr Pawel Adrjan, who is the UK Economist for Indeed, was up next and he brought the room right back to reality with a look at 'what happens when the good times end'... some of his talk touched on Brexit, as you can imagine, but essentially Pawel explained that candidates are very much in the driving seat at the moment due to the UK having the lowest level of unemployment since 1974. Pawel also did some straw polls with the entire room asking when they thought Brexit would / wouldn't happen and we learned... well, not very much to be honest, as we all had different predictions! Pawel's insights were valuable though and it was great to be in the presence of such a knowledgeable individual.

The next phase of the afternoon was a series of break-outs where you could choose which workshops you attended. I attended two; one was Marketing Beyond Millennials, which was about how to create marketing strategies to reach different demographics. They had some great 'real life' case studies that showed how different age-ranges look for different things in the workplace. The other was about how to make your brand the best it can be on the Indeed platform - some very useful insights learned there too.

As mentioned earlier, I was really looking foward to seeing the keynote speaker; Col Dame Kelly Holmes MBE. Call me a 'fangirl' (or a saddo) but I left the delicious nibbles and drinks in the networking time early to go grab a front row seat - no regrets - check out her selfie that made it onto her Instagram!

Kelly's life story is too long to regale here but I was pretty blown away by her if I'm honest.

It was strange that the event fell at a time when I was experiencing somewhat of my own epiphany, where I had started to discover and appreciate the positive impact that training, exercise, determination and grit can have on our lives. Kelly won her Olympic Gold medals (yes TWO gold medals) when she was 34 years old. She had many set backs but she spoke of how her mindset and tenacity made her keep on going and she eventually reached her ultimate goal. She spoke of her time in the army and how she uses her time now helping young people use sport to create solid foundations in life. Watching the videos on the big screen of Kelly winning her medals whilst she was standing just a few feet from me was a really 'pinch me' moment - such an inspiring woman!

It was actually a culmination of seeing Kelly and listening to her talk about her knock-backs, as well as a couple of other things in my life, which has inspired me to sign up to the London Landmarks Half-Marathon in Spring 2020 (and I am not a runner!) - so thank you Indeed, and Dame Kelly, for such a fantastic event!

Recent Comments
tHis is fantastic sarah x
katie, 11/11/19
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