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I feel I need to start with a confession.  For most of 2000’s I wasn’t a member of the CIPD.  My significant other was and well he got the magazine through the post and I didn’t see any other value in the organisation. I used to go to conference (I was living in Yorkshire and working in Leeds) so it was easy to pop up to Harrogate and get my bag of swag (who needed to buy pens??).  I attended fringe sessions but used my own networks to get my professional development and keep up to date with what was going on in the world of work. In 2010 I went through quite a change personally and re-looked at my qualifications and what was going on at the CIPD.  And well, in short in the last 3 years I achieved Fellow status and became re-engaged.  This has been largely down to my involvement in social media and my growing network of connected HR and non HR professionals including colleagues both at the CIPD and working with them. I’m still a little skeptical around the ‘whats in it for me’ element of my membership but through getting more involved and participating in schemes such as the Steps Ahead Mentoring programme I am becoming more active.  I’ve attended branch events, took part in the CIPD hackathon amongst other events/activities and now have been asked to be part of the CIPD 14 Blog Squad. This means that I will be attending conference this year with a press badge and tweeting, blogging, vlogging and generally updating on my thoughts, views and discoveries. I can’t wait – there’s been talk of limbering up, early nights, getting my blog kit together (after a handy guide from David D’Souza), I’ve even made a new dress! Ok the dress wasn’t entirely necessary but it’s a good enough excuse! I’ve picked my sessions and had a good look at the conference brochure.  There’s a great range this year – something for everyone.  But also the fringe events – some great plans are in place for a Street Wisdom event and HR Unscrambled are just two that are well worth a look at. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the CIPD have to offer and to working alongside a fab group of people to bring the event to life on line!