by Kate Quilley, APComm Co-Chair and Head of Corporate Communications for Warwickshire Police
I’m not really quite sure what happened at Academy 2018 (and no I wasn’t under the influence of too much alcohol!). What I mean is, I somehow got talked into being nominated for the post of APComm Chair.
Although having worked in police communications for many years, had the pleasure of attending many facilitated events and attending many quarterly meetings, I had never really considered being anything other than a participant of these.
I think in the main this was because I was swamped in my day job. Managing a communications team delivering services for two forces was full on, all the time. Always with the challenge of conflicting meetings, it was often hard enough to even get to the APComm events.
However, somehow some very persuasive colleagues got me thinking… what if I helped shape some the support processes and mechanism APComm offered to help others like me, weighed down and often not knowing where to start or who to turn to.
In true Kate fashion I went for nomination relatively blinkered and naïve to the role. However, I love helping people, I thrive from learning from others and I’m a glutton for punishment when it comes to organisation!
Following a competitive election process in 2018 I was fortunate to be voted in as Chair and because it was a close run process we took the decision to trial moving to a Co-Chairship. Ruth Shulver was to be my fellow-chair and fortunately she had previously operated in the role, so brought with her a wealth of knowledge and continuity for APComm’s benefit.
I have to say, the first six months were a steep learning curve. So much goes on behind the scenes to make APComm the hugely successful, professional network it is. But despite this the companionship and the instant engagement opportunities I had with peers and professionals both within and outside policing were incredible.
Operating in a Co-Chair manner was my saving grace, Ruth and I were able to share the load and bring to the table differing skillsets which aided the transition to our leadership and the co-ordination of the Executive Team. My fellow Vice-Chairs, the Treasurer and Secretary on the Ex are also the essential components I have relied so heavily upon and been so grateful for their drive and commitment. It really is a team effort all the way.
I’m actually really thankful I’ve had an extended tenure in the role owing to Covid because it really did take 6-9 months to get my feet under the table and find my flow.
Now, I love it. I love co-ordinating people with the amazing skills to drive activity both within and outside of the Ex Team. I love knowing so many incredible communication professionals who I know I can almost speed dial for a chat or email with a challenge for the greater benefit of others. And most of all I love feeling like I’m using my skills to help others, growing our profession and bring people together, even if just for morale support.
I still have many roles in my life; leader, wife, mum, daughter, grand-daughter, friend, teacher, cleaner… you get the idea. But I’m proud to also have on my personal CV professional network Co-Chair, colleague and friend.
While you will see from nominations for Co-Chair this year, I will be standing for re-election but I wanted to write this blog to encourage others. Competition is healthy and I know there are many of you out there who will have incredible ideas to bring to the table and have so much more than me to offer. Don’t be afraid to jump in, give it a go and get involved. You don’t need to have been involved in the Exec before, I wasn’t, you don’t need to be a head of service. You just need to have motivation, innovation and aspiration, I would say. You do need to be prepared to prioritise time to the network but this pays dividends in huge amounts.
I’ll be at Academy all week – please come and have a chat if you want to know more or drop me an email and I’ll be very happy to help in your considerations or answer any questions you may have.
You have nothing to lose and much to gain from being a part of the APComm Ex Team!