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Main.logo.1-shutterstockThis year’s Annual ABP Conference will be held from Thursday 2nd – Saturday 4th October at De Vere Wokefield Park, Reading.

In this article, we meet Lee McDonald and Hannah Mullaney, the 2014 Conference Deans to find out more.





Tell us about the theme of the 2014 conference.

Hannah linkedinHannah: The theme of this year’s conference is “Theory into action”.

As practitioners, we are doing this on a daily basis and most of the time probably without even thinking.

It is an integral part of what we do; if we ignore theory and evidence base, then we will eventually lose credibility and if we don’t act on it, then it is fundamentally useless.

For the conference, everything must be evidence based but it will also have to be usable.  There’s going to be a lot to take away.

What should be people look forward to at this year’s event?

LEE (54)Lee: It’s good to talk…. we want to generate discussion and debate and will be providing multiple platforms from which this can happen throughout the conference.

For social media lovers, there’ll be somewhere to tweet to, for those more traditional amongst us, time and space will be given to facilitated networking and discussion sessions.

We’re bringing people together… from psychology, HR and business. We’re one of the only conferences that do this and this makes us unique. Variety is the spice of life and this year, at the ABP Conference, variety you shall get!  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to network with people from your outer circle as well as your inner circle.

We all have fun… let’s show everyone a good time. Last year, the last man standing (well, actually it was a woman) went to bed at 7am. I don’t think much more needs to be said!

What about the entertainment?

Hannah: That would be telling, you’ll still need your glad rags for Friday night but other than that… it’s a secret!!

Why did you decide to take on becoming Deans?

Lee: I love working on big projects, managing the process, trouble shooting, making things happen, seeing people really enjoy themselves but also getting something useful out of it… basically I like a challenge.

Hannah: I had drunk two glasses of wine (it doesn’t take much!). No, seriously, I have got a lot out of the ABP over the past four years (a Masters and a job) and so I felt it was time to give something back.  I also happen to like a challenge and enjoy meeting people who don’t do what I do.

What charity is the Conference supporting this year?

Lee: The charity we are supporting this year is Launchpad. This charity helps some of Reading’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people to turn their lives around and fulfil their potential.

Hannah: As Reading is our (relatively new!) conference home we wanted to choose charity that was also in the Reading area. Launchpad was one of the obvious choices – especially since one of the team members already had links there. However, what resonated with us was their focus on helping others find a home of their own and providing them with a chance for a positive future, something that we are trying to accomplish for our event in both our venue and with our “future focused” conference theme.  So although our missions are completely different, we admire the work they do.

What fund raising activities do you have planned and how can people get involved?

Lee: We can reveal that some of the conference team will be involved in The Thames Path Challenge. We will also have a charity night on the Thursday of the conference. However, at the moment ,we are still finalising the various activities with Launchpad, so we would like people to keep an eye out for further information here on later conference updates.

What we can say at the moment is that we are going to be working directly with the charity, taking part in a range of events rather than on “just one big event”. This way more money goes directly to the charity rather than being spent on ‘admin’ trying to support a big event.

If people want to get involved with the charity activities they should email us at and let us know they are interested in taking part.

Why should people attend the conference?

Hannah: Professional development: The conference schedule will be jam packed with speakers sharing their latest thinking and leading edge research.  We’ve given them all an ultimatum though … there has to be a take away.

Networking: The conference provides a friendly, inclusive and vibrant atmosphere to network with likeminded professionals, to hear different perspectives and share knowledge.

….And the fact that they will have lots of fun!

Lee: In fact,already we have had a lot of interest from people wanting to attend this year’s event! And so to make things exciting for them, we decided to hold a competition to choose one lucky person to win a free ticket to this year’s event from the various people who kindly registered their interest in attending on the website….and we are pleased to announce that we have now chosen our winner who is…. Nick Ingram, Assessment and Selection Specialist at the London Borough of Camden!

Any final thoughts?

Hannah: We both are really looking forward to welcoming you to the event in October and hope you enjoy all of the various things we have planned for you as well as finding the conference sessions enlightening.

Find out more

You can find out more about this year’s Conference here. New information is being uploaded all the time so please check back regularly. If you’d like fo learn more about our 2014 Conference Deans, check out the Who’s Who section here.

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