Member Blog: Blessing Chishiri

June 29, 2023

“I’ve been suppressing all this creativity – now my ideas are listened to”

When Blessing Chishiri joined ILM this spring, it was something of a baptism of fire. Just a few weeks into her role as Events & Communications Officer, she and the team were faced with having to re-arrange the annual conference at a moment’s notice due to planned national train strikes. It was a pivotal time but Blessing, an experienced events management professional, is the first to say that she loves a challenge and perhaps it was even a ‘blessing in disguise’. She tells us more about what she loves about her new job:

I am very passionate about communications, and I love being involved in events, so when I saw this role advertised I felt it gave me the best of both worlds.

I feel as if I’ve been suppressing all this creativity and finally I’m in an environment where I can put forward ideas and they will be listened to.

I’ve always been interested in media and how it portrays stories and, although I was originally keen to do drama and theatre at university, I studied for a BA (Hons) in Public Relations because it gave me the opportunity to diversify into so many different areas.

It was a three-year degree so we covered lots of avenues – events, communications, media – I loved it.

At ILM, this is the first time I’ve worked in a completely not-for-profit environment and that makes a real difference to how I think.

In my most recent commercial roles in the technology sector, there were always financial implications around decision-making. Here the process is much more around ‘let’s try new ideas’, if it doesn’t work we can move on, if it does work then that’s great.

I originally worked with an international fitness brand and was involved in organising events and fundraising activities, making sure members were kept up-to-date with the latest products and developments etc.

In the technology businesses, I worked in project management and internal communications and transitioned into freelancing in the health sector, organising and attending webinars and events – some remote, some face-to-face – and that’s what led me to the ILM.

Just after I joined, I went away on a pre-booked holiday, and when I got back, the conference had been re-organised. We were so busy, there wasn’t an ‘off’ button in the day!

The team had already done a fantastic job long before I was involved, so I’ve been helping with the presentation slides and generally being an extra pair of hands. What I’m looking forward to most on conference day is supporting them, and meeting all the attendees.

Of course, it wasn’t great that the original date was postponed but for me, now I’ve had time to understand more about the ILM, I think I’ll get more from the day because I’ll know more about what is going on.

I’m still trying to find my feet in the legacy world – Matthew was a huge help and now I’ve done the Legacy Essentials course, I understand more about the issues involved in the sector. It’s given me more confidence when I’m doing social media posts as I know which topics members or Corporate Partners are more likely to be interested in.

I think my background in the commercial world has helped too, because I’ve been involved in corporate presentations and business reviews, all of which gave me good interpersonal skills. I’m very happy talking to people, whether that’s lawyers, legacy professionals or charities and really enjoy it.

Because this is a new role, I am effectively creating it as I go along and I love that challenge.

Some things, such as creating content for the weekly newsletter will always have a process and I spend time gathering information from the Corporate Partners for their contributions. I also manage social media, website content, including event updates and job adverts, plus I’m involved in the events themselves.

The ILM understand that it is crucial that events are more than ‘just’ a social or networking opportunity, whether that be training and development or other benefits, so it’s important to put together proposals which offer different elements for members.

In addition, if Matthew (or another ILM representative) is talking at an external event then I’ll make sure that members are aware of it and will work on communications, including social media, to promote it and make sure members know what is happening internally and externally.

There is always more to learn and that’s what excites me, I’m always keen to develop my skills personally and professionally – the ILM is giving me the reins to make it my own and everyone is very supportive.

The more I get into the role, the more I understand and the more ideas I come into my mind…of course not everything is going to be perfect, but I can only try and do the role to the best of my ability.

I love being part of a small team and feeding off other people’s ideas, I also think there’s more appreciation when there’s only a small number of you.

I couldn’t be more grateful to the ILM – colleagues, Corporate Partners, members and the Board for the warm welcome I have been given.

And I’d like to think that in six months’ time, when I’ve more experience, writing this article will be very different to the one it is now. I see this time as an introduction to new challenges and I’m already looking forward to the 2024 conference – that will be my baby and I can’t wait!


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