Herts of gold

It's been the most eventful of weeks for me. On a personal level we have welcomed our fourth child in the most eventful of manners - with me delivering him! That's a skill to add to my LinkedIn profile. I might crowbar the experience into a later blog post but needless to say I'm currently writing this through a fog of tiredness...

On a professional level Thursday was due to be a big one. I had a 5.15am start to make it up to Manchester to present at the Digital Engagement Conference. Then the long journey home to follow the Hertfordshire Digital Awards on Twitter. To be shortlisted again after taking home silver last year was great. Yet, there was no way I was making it home on time to attend the ceremony with a heavily pregnant wife!

So, after consuming a hearty breakfast on the train, I arrived at the Place Aparthotel for a day of networking and presentations. There was an impressive roster of speakers and the venue was excellent. I got chatting to a wide variety of digital professionals across different sectors (including charities, banks and agencies) and learned something new from each one of them.

In my role I quite often am asked to explain technical processes in simple language. My concern was that I'd be so used to this approach that to present to a room of my peers would be a challenge. However, I found that the presentations I enjoyed the most were the least technical - Kerry Foods and Greater Manchester Police. This was because they didn't contain exhaustive slides of statistics/graphs but concentrated on telling a story.
My presentation was up last allowing me the opportunity to make lots of cringe-worthy graveyard shift/headline act jokes. I felt it was extremely well received with lots of great feedback and enjoyed being on stage to an appreciative audience. Hopefully I'll be given the opportunity to further showcase the excellent work of the team in the future...
During the long journey home I followed the build up to the Hertfordshire Digital Awards via a flaky 4G connection on Periscope. This year it was held at the University of Hertfordshire and looked to be an excellently run event. I was warmly welcomed home by my wife who had thankfully not yet gone into labour - that was to be a further 36 hours away. We then sat refreshing Twitter to watch the ceremony from afar. It was hard not being there as the coverage was excellent with the photos due to appear in the Hertfordshire Mercury.

Then, at about 10pm the Blog category was up - and I won a GOLD! That means that this Blog has won an award a year since 2014. Now that has already gone onto my LinkedIn profile:
With this great news and I'll now be spending much of my paternity leave awaiting the postman with the delivery of my plaque. The list of winners showed a further improvement on the quality of work throughout the county. Keeping up to date with digital can be a never ending and exhaustive task. Some weeks I sit down to write with my usually high energy levels at a low but awards like these give me the boost I need to keep writing and enjoying every minute of my job.

To be awarded as the best blog in the county is a real honour and I'll leave the last words of this post to the organisers who decided to lay down the gauntlet for 2017:
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