Reflections on being Networking Group of the Year Runner-Up 2017

The Trainers Network Northamptonshire won Runner-Up ‘Networking Group of the Year’ in the recent SME Northamptonshire Business Awards for 2017.

Kay Buckby, who started the network in June 2010, said “I completed the application as a learning experience, as I have never been involved in a business award! To get to the Finals stage was so exciting. To be alongside three other fine Northamptonshire network groups – The Business Club, Lunch and Learn, and Kettering Business Network, was humbling. When our name was read out as Runner-Up to The Business Club, we were thrilled, and we are still on a high. The Award takes pride of place in The Development Company main office.”

Reflections on the night

There aren’t many occasions to put on the glitz and glam, and as a team we took the day of the Awards off to pamper ourselves. Hiring a limousine made the evening that bit special, and was a surprise to our team.

We didn’t expect the Mercure Daventry Court hotel to be as busy at it was– there were people everywhere! And the Awards room was so glamorous! It really did make dressing up so worthwhile! We were given the gladioli flowers that were table decorations, which meant we had vases of beautiful flowers for a week after the Awards night!

What the Award means to us

Our vision was to connect trainers, facilitators, coaches…anyone involved in Learning & Development. Since the awards, we have heard so many member stories – collaborative projects, contracts won, new products developed, and extended training skills, that we are now looking at how we can gather these experiences.

It has made us realise that we should be more proactive in finding out stories.

Do any of our members have ideas on how we can both share and show member benefits and successes?

Our vision for the future – What would the best network for trainers look like?

It’s time to enter the dream room. All ideas are welcomed, so think about what would improve your experience.

What next?

I’ve been asked by a few members how we follow the success of our first seven years.

Suggestions so far include the TNN holding a conference, webinars and filming our quarterly events to show on You Tube. All of these are great ideas, however they do require resources, so we are keen to collaborate with members who could help.

Please contact us if you have any ideas to improve the network, or any offers of help for us.

Member benefits

At the moment, we use our closed TNN Facebook group to post offers, and we are keen to explore with local venues how cheaper room rates or last minute deals can be made available so both parties get a win-win.

Other requests have been discounts for network group bookings to conferences, or agreed with providers and Institutes.

What other benefits would be useful to you?

Making Northamptonshire stronger, a better place to work, and to do work in

Networking groups help us all, and I have spoken to many professionals who are aiming to set up their own network groups having been inspired by the success of the TNN.

One local PA is exploring her own PA group aimed at secretaries, co-ordinators, EAs and VA’s. I think all of us benefit from networking alongside our peers.

“I hope our legacy is to inspire other professions to start their own group.” Kay continues “Look at the TNN…16 founder members in 2010, to nearly 900 on the database in 2017!”.

Thank you’s

Thank you to Mercure Daventry Court Hotel for sponsoring the Networking Group of the Year Award.

The group to learn from

Our congratulations to Mike Willis of The Business Club on winning for the second year running. Congratulations to all Winners, Runner-Up and Finalists. What a celebration of our county!

Will we apply in 2018?

Yes, definitely. Our networking group strapline is ‘passionate about learning’, and the whole experience was a huge learning experience – from the application process, to promoting the awards, and the night itself. The chaps have promised to wear kilts if we get through again! Now if that’s not enough to be chosen as Finalists again, what is?

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