Once I was over the initial sucker punch of Covid lockdown, homeschooling uncooperative pupils and desperately trying to not lose the heid, I decided it was time to make some changes in my professional life.

I work for NHS, as part of a multidisciplinary team and cover the communication functions for the work. Whilst this means I am able to make a lot of decisions around the work, it also means I can be pretty isolated within my role. So, my professional development has been a wee bit neglected over the last (ahem) 16 years…..

Our team were quickly redeployed to Covid related duties at the beginning of lockdown. I was asked to help improve internal communications from our Public Health SMT to the directorate. “You’re good at the wellbeing and yoga stuff Leanne, will you come and soften some of the messages….”

Well, maybe it wasn’t phrased quite like that, but off I went to break down another layer of my imposter syndrome and help with the tone, design and delivery of internal communications in the early days of lockdown.

I have been to a few events over the last few years, building up my confidence to find my voice and offer what I know. A speaker at this years CommsHero, the wonderful Josephine Graham, encouraged me to lead a session at an event last year and that started me on a journey of pushing through the blocks of what people may think of me. Instead, I decided it was time to really learn and improve my practice, finally join CIPR (what was I actually waiting for?!) and begin to look at how really using the theory of behavioral change/science in my work could get meaningful engagement..not just numbers.

I specialise in health, with young people as my target group. It can be a tough nut to crack. CommsHero popped up on my socials, I took a peak at the sessions and was sold.

2020 has been the year of behavioral change for me personally and professionally and I can’t wait to learn more from the professional peers speaking at the event, so thank you for having me along.

Leanne Hughes

Communication and Engagement Specialist, NHS