One of the most rewarding experiences of my career to date….

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As a child I was quite unwell and spent a year of my life in Great Ormond Street Hospital – whilst beating cancer.  23 years later, I can still picture hospital rooms, nurses, consultants and remember with particular fondness the countless support staff that made the difficult time bearable and kept a smile on my face.

Today I spent the morning at Evelina Children’s Hospital, with the Starlight Children’s Foundation and Tom Chambers as we gave out Christmas presents on behalf of the Scotch Brand with whom I work closely with as part of the day job at 3M.  Tom, very kindly gave his time as an ambassador for the charity – you may remember him from his Holby City days as an actor, or more recently the triumphant winner of Strictly Come Dancing

I’d never heard of this charity before our tie up through work, but my goodness they do such a remarkable job at granting wishes and hospital entertainment to seriously ill, but incredibly brave children.  Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces was heart warming, and really puts perspective on life and how much we take good health for granted.  Being on that hospital ward this morning brought back memories of my own childhood, and I was proud to be supporting a charity that makes a huge difference.

This Christmas, the Scotch Brand that I work for has donated £10,000 to this lovely charity, as part of our Christmas campaign.  Rather than repeat the same TV advert again, we decided to do things a little differently this year and so we recruited a rugby team and set them a gift wrapping challenge.  It was a hilarious day of filming back in September, but the gifts that they attempted to wrap – with some success I might add – were the gifts that we donated to the hospital today.

You can watch the video here:

I’m going to continue to support this charity next year on a personal level by running a half marathon to raise much needed funds.  93p of every £1 raised goes to helping sick children – there are not many charities that can make that promise.

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When Christian Met Randi

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Last Monday I attended the latest SMLF (Social Media Leadership Forum) event with Randi Zuckerberg where she was talking about her new book Dot Complicated – I don’t think I need to add any introduction with a name like that!  I’ll admit I didn’t know a lot about her, and had assumed that she was simply riding on the coat tails of her brother.  How wrong I was!  She joked that unlike her brother, she did graduate from Harvard and worked for Ogilvy in NYC before moving out to silicon valley to work for Facebook.  After 6 years of tirelessly building the social giant, she has subsequently started her own media company – Zuckerberg Media.

My last post talked about living in an ‘always on’ society with technology replacing human relationships.  Taking it a step further, Zuckerberg called it ‘Electronic Cocaine’ – where we constantly need to get our daily digital fix!  When someone likes something on Facebook that you have personally posted – the brain receives a little burst of dopamine – the reason gadgets have become so addictive,

I’d personally witnessed this unhealthy obsession with my own smartphone, and it was so refreshing to listen to someone else talking in the same vein.  It was a little ironic that someone who had spent years working to build up a social network, was now voicing concerns around the unhealthy obsession we have with it.  But listening to her speak with genuine concern, I managed to look beyond that.  It was fascinating hearing story after story of working at Facebook: the Hackathons, visits from Barack Obama, tying up with media networks during election campaigns and helping to create what we have today.

One of the things that stuck with me the most was the concept of a ‘Digital Sabbath’ where each week she encouraged us to unplug technology for a period of time in order to think, be creative, work on an entrepreneurial project or simply have quality time with loved ones and friends and be in the moment.  It’s just what I need, and so I’m going to give it a try.

I managed to get a signed copy of her new book, Dot Complicated – I’ve read the first 50 pages and it’s a fascinating read and I highly recommend it.