This is probably the most awkward thing I’ve ever written.
As a Black British woman of Jamaican and working-class heritage, self-celebratory posts like the one I’m about to write aren’t typically encouraged.
“Be careful of redeye!” (Jamaican slang for “Beware of jealous people!”)
“No one likes a show-off!”
“It’s super-tacky to talk about yourself all the time!”
Warnings like the above are an all-too-familiar presence in the discourse about publicly celebrating personal wins that I see online and offline.
Most of the time it’s coming from a well-meaning place. Sometimes it’s meant as a muzzle. In a world where –isms run rife and hate is as omnipresent as air, it can be hard to tell the difference.
Ordinarily, I’d heed these warnings – regardless of intention – and close out this year with a blog post recounting the losses/lessons I’ve experienced and outlining my hopes for a better 2021.
But 2020 ain’t no ordinary year.
If there was ever a time where humans needed reminding that the world is a positive, just and hopeful place, it’s now.
I’ve found so much comfort in seeing family and friends – even strangers – publicly acknowledge their good news. From property purchases to marriage proposals; speaking engagements to healthier habits – these joyful announcements have helped keep me smiling, inspired and hopeful during the Year that No One Wanted.
So here I am, as awkward as fudge, sharing my top 5 unexpected wins for 2020 with you.
I co-authored a book
If you flick to page 67 in the fourth edition of FutureProof, the PR thought leadership anthology by the amazing Sarah Waddington, you’ll find my chapter on the psychology of decision making.
Easily, one of the proudest moments of my life.
I helped set up a network for comms professionals
Fed up with the lack of diversity in the PR industry and fuelled by the global Black Lives Matter protests, I worked with a team of Black women to set up the UK Black Comms Network.
Launched in November, it’s the UK’s first professional network for Black PR and comms pros. We’ve already commissioned ground-breaking research into the workplace experiences of our target audience and have even bigger things planned for 2021.
I interviewed music stars
Music a big part of my life, so when the opportunity came to interview four female go-getters in the industry for Black Ballad, I jumped at the chance.
What followed went beyond my wildest dreams – interviews with former Mis-Teeq lead singer Sabrina Washington, award-winning rapper Ray Blk and Renay Richardson, CEO of podcast powerhouse Broccoli Content.
I spoke at industry events around the world
Speaking at industry events has been a major goal of mine but I had no idea how I was going to achieve it.
Thanks to certain comms angels (you know who you are!), my commitment to psychology blogging and the virtual nature of 2020, I was able to speak at events across the world:
- CIPR National Conference (mostly UK)
- Ragan’s webinar on motivating employees during times of change (North America)
- Comms Hero Week (mostly UK)
- Cause Impact’s webinar on how comms can help businesses survive COVID-19 (Kenya)
I judged an industry award
Working with the other judges to review entries for the 2021 Corporate Content Awards was definitely a highlight for me this year.
Not only did I learn loads from the judges and submissions, but the experience also helped me reflect on how much I’ve grown since I joined the industry 4 years ago.
Other 2020 achievements I’m proud of:
- I maintained good mental and physical health
- I wrote more blog posts than I did in 2019
- I got a new job
- I learnt how to knit… sort of (well, it was better than my baking anyway!)
Thank you for reading this post. In fact, thank you for visiting my blog in the first place!
This year has been pretty dire in parts so I really appreciate you taking the time to hang out with me and my thoughts.
Did you get good news in 2020?
Yay, congrats! I’d love to celebrate your awesomeness so let me know on Twitter or in the comment section below and I’ll repost.
The world needs more joy – your good news could be just the tonic!