Yesterday I had a really great opportunity to sit down and spend some time with a really amazing woman. I originally connected with Anchel – mother, communications professional at the Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe York, and the special-needs blogger for Today’s Parent Magazine – through my work at Quinte Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. I’ve always enjoyed reading and sharing her posts (relevant to our audience and eye-opening to me personally) and finally got to meet her last fall when I co-presented at a conference in Toronto. We’ve stayed in touch, bouncing ideas off each other and sharing resources via e-mail, so I was really excited when she messaged me recently to let me know that she was going to be in Belleville for her own presentation on “Life After Diagnosis”.

Anchel reached out to me last week to ask if I’d be interested in meeting up before her presentation. She wanted to catch up and pick my brain about a few things – something I was totally up for because 1) she’s great and fun to talk to, and 2) I get nerdy excited about idea sharing.

Even if we hadn’t had the opportunity to meet early, going to her presentation alone would have been great enough. Anchel is a passionate speaker. She’s warm, compassionate, and very real; skilled at engaging with her listeners and creating a safe and welcoming space with ease. As she spoke about the story of her daughter’s diagnosis (which you can read about in her blog posts) I looked around the room and watched as her audience nodded along at her experiences or got glassy-eye’d when she’d share empathetic pieces of advice and wisdom. She made an often isolating experience into a bonding point and, speaking as someone on the periphery, it was something both amazing and beautiful to witness.

But we did get to meet ahead of time and I’m so glad we did. Sometimes my own professional role can feel a bit isolating; I don’t know a lot of traditional communicators who also have experience working with social media (although I’m very lucky to be dating someone who definitely gets the digital marketing side of my job. Whether we’re sharing ideas or just commiserating, it’s just always so refreshing when someone just gets it). Over lunch we shared ideas and experiences with regards to writing, working with the media, success measurement and anything else that came to our minds. It was so invigorating just to talk, even if we weren’t necessarily coming up with solutions to problems.

I think I sometimes forget how beneficial it is to have people who get what you do and can bounce ideas around with you. I think I also something take for granted how nice it is to just talk to someone about ideas instead of just reading about them in articles. It gets the wheels turning, the creative juices flowing, and you never know what you might end up learning along the way!

Thanks, Anchel! I look forward to our next meet-up!

What about you? Do you agree? Disagree? Tell me about it in the comments!