Tuesday, 24 September 2013

New candidates' evening - a great success!

Local Council Leaders Nicolas Heslop (T&M left) and David Jukes (TW bottom right)
with our first group of potential local government candidates.
"Andrew, how will the guests know which flask
contains tea and which is the coffee?" asked Jon Botton.
Me: "The clues are out there, Jon. The clues are out there
Any job it can be repetitive, and much of what I do is routine and far from glamorous. Writing this blog brings this home; often I return home at night and have to think very hard about what I can talk about. "Mail merged 3,000 letters, data captured 200 surveys and answered the phone" are often the highlights of my day! 

On a roll... presenting my "Road to Victory" to potential
new local government candidates
Occasionally, however, everything goes according to plan. An idea, which I have incubated, planned and executed, comes together and exceeds expectations. At times like this I realise how fortunate I am to be in a role where I can not just make a difference, but have the trust of my employers to explore new ideas and implement change. Tonight was such an occasion when we hosted the first of our "Open Evenings" for potential new local government candidates.

Two potential candidates at the briefing
Determined to deepen the pool of potential local candidates, the Associations invested considerable resources into identifying new people from the wider community. For background information, see HERE.  Tonight, we hosted our first open evening at the Mercure Hotel in Pembury. We deliberately selected a smart hotel with proper conference facilities, to present a professional image and to ensure attendees and the hosts were comfortable.

Of the twenty potential candidates invited,  nineteen came. I also invited a group of mainly younger, progressive councillors (most serving their first term of office) as "hosts" (each host councillor allocated two new applicants to look after). We also had the two local Council Leaders (who each spoke about the work of their local councils and the priorities for the future. After the Leaders had presented,

I spoke about the selection process and how we approach elections and campaigning. I suspect parts of my presentation were too technical for a new audience, but I was determined to be open and honest about what would be expected of them if they apply and get selected. There is absolutely no point in airbrushing over the harsh realities of campaigning then complaining when they don't "pull their weight".

For the first time I used my new presentational software "Prezi"  (hat tip to London Area Deputy Chairman, Mario Creatura for introducing me to it). This is a much softer and more emotive way to tell a story than Powerpoint, and I really would recommend it to anyone who presents to groups or large audiences.

The evening was ably led by TW Chairman, William Rutherford, and Jacques Arnold (former MP for Gravesend and Chairman of T&M) proposed the vote of thanks.

Overall, a very successful evening and a good start. I think probably two thirds of those who attended will complete an application form and take things to the next stage. We also have sufficient names of potential candidates unable to attend this time to run another event, with a third planned for the Chatham / Medway area later in the year.

Even an evacuation due to a false fire alarm didn't spoil the flow of events, and it had the added bonus of allowing me to confirm that all the potential applicants could walk up and down the steps unaided - always a good sign!

1 comment:

  1. Would love to see your presentation to potential candidates Andrew