The fourth North Wales and North West Regional Conference: Achieving success

At 10:30am on Friday January 17th, 2020 at Edge Hill University, over 100 Professional Services Staff from across North Wales and the North West were captivated for one hour by Andy Grant, ex-Royal Marine turned motivational speaker and fastest single leg amputee in the world over 10k.

Over the past four years the North Wales and North West Regional Conference has become the standout event in the network’s calendar and the 2020 conference was no exception. The purpose of the North Wales and North West Regional Conference has always been to give members a place to refine workshops before the Annual Conference and to network with other members from across the region. This year was no different. On the day we offered a choice of 10 workshops to delegates, offering the chance to explore the AUA behaviours, to learn more about the principles of LEAN and to consider further the useful of coaching in their roles. We also invited the Student Experience and Engagement Network speak to our members about their key objectives.

The highlight of the conference was the day’s keynote speaker, Andy Grant.

These days it really does seem to be a rarity for there not be a laptop or ‘phone in sight or not a tweet sent during the keynote talk, but so taken were the audience by Andy’s story that keeping track of the day job, email or Twitter wasn’t important.

Andy fully delivered on his promise to make the audience laugh and cry, taking us through his story, a story that highlighted the importance of resilience and humour in the face of adversity, the importance of a set of core values, the importance of teamwork. Three key messages stood out:

  • Imagine what could be achieved if we didn’t worry who took the credit
  • Control the controllable
  • Live in the present

When the tweets did resume, feedback was unbelievable. Two times AUA member of the year Michael Monaghan: ‘Fantastic keynote from Andy Grant … Powerful. Inspirational. Motivating. Emotional. Funny. Relevant. Authentic. Thank you.’ That’s a lot of positivity to squeeze into a 280-character post!

It was fantastic to see so many of the region’s members at the conference, this year joined by both members from other regional networks and non-members. The impact of the 2020 conference has been significant but would not have been possible without the willingness of the region’s members and Advocates in organising and participating in the conference and the support received from the AUA office. 

We’ll be back in 2021, with details yet to be decided. The only thing that’s certain is that it will be difficult to top 2020!

Simon Vaukins
Faculty Graduate School Manager
Lancaster University

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