On 3rd December 2012 we invited journalist and magazine editor Paris Lees to deliver a speech at an event we were staging in Manchester.
The theme of the conference was about how to take equalities work forwards in the newly restructured NHS after March 2013.
When I briefed our speakers before the event I gave them a very liberal brief about how to approach the topic. I explained to them the purpose of the conference, the existing knowledge of the audience, and the contextual issues they might wish to take into account. Beyond that I gave them carte blanche to approach the topic in the way they felt most comfortable.
From the heart
Often, when you put activists and campaigners on a stage, you get a political speech … and that would have been fine, as we wanted our speakers to challenge the audience to think about stakeholders needs and viewpoints and how to address them in the future.
Paris took a different line though. She made it a personal address to the audience. She told NHS managers about the experiences of her family and her own personal fears about an NHS which might treat her badly when she was at her most vulnerable.
It was a most effective speech. And you can hear it in full here.