I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with reading and writing. Language is so subjective that it often frustrates me greatly against the seemingly more ‘objective’ backdrop of maths and computer science. At certain points, I’ve even preferred reading in French to reading in English!

In 2023 my word for the year was to Reconnect. In celebrating a decade of Stemettes I was keen to refresh and check in with folks I knew before I was Head Stemette, as well as those I’ve come across on my Stemette journey. After a load of lunches and dinners across the country (and a handful serendipitously aboard) I now have a good handle on the current answers to some of life’s great questions. While I’ve not been able to get to everyone I wanted to see, that project can continue well into this next decade.

2023 had reconnections and more

I’ve also, of course, been able to connect with several new folks this year. People who have been transformed by my book; folks who are working hard to make change happen; audiences of all kinds across sectors, ages, genders and locations. It’s always heartening to hear feedback (constructive or positive) – and see the impact of my thoughts on humans who as a result have more resources to help grapple with issues, aspirations and concerns. It’s a buzz I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of.

This year I’ve curated panels at Cheltenham Literary Festival, popped up on TV to talk existential dread brought on by high-profile AI headlines and hit stages on 3 continents – my largest physical audience in Bucharest was more than 5,000 people in one room(!). I’ve filmed for Netflix (see you in Summer 2024), appeared as an illustration in children’s books, adorned classroom walls across the country as part of Black History Month and visited my primary school for the first time since leaving to film a documentary with the BBC. You can see my face in a new gallery at the Science Museum. I served as troubleshooter more than ever across the Boards I sit on.

Away from work, I’ve been so much more intentional about Enjoyment and Personal Growth. I successfully implemented a Summer of Enjoyment that involved live music, eating and comedy shows. I finally started my swimming and Punjabi lessons. I’ve also leant into discipline. I’ve regularly switched some of my sugary treats for fruit. Discipline in my finances has seen me leverage compound principles and be mindful in my outgoings. Discipline in my fitness has already rendered surprising outcomes – I’ve had a noticeable number of ‘Hercules’ moments.

I’m proud to say I intentionally lived it up this year. Not forgotten are the mistakes, fumbles, near misses and disappointments. Blunders in recruitment, establishing processes, missing deadlines, managing an unruly email inbox and properly joining the dots across rooms I’m in. They’ve all been an essential part of a great ride, as has my beloved bullet journal.

Anne-Marie Imafidon on stage in Greece at WPP Stream

Anne-Marie on stage at WPP Stream 2023. Photo credit: Charlie Reynolds.

Next year, many of these experiences will continue. Even though I’ve planned a full-on break to close the year, I wonder whether 2024 will end up feeling like a 2023 part 2, rather than a standalone. (I had this a few years ago).

2023 part 2 will bring with it unique milestones – I’ve got a big announcement or two coming up.

I’ve also promised my publisher it will bring a long-awaited concept & plan for book 2.

In 2024, I’ll write

With a newfound sense of discipline, it’s time for me to get back into a writing habit. 2024 will be the year I get back to using words. A new challenge: to write something (at least 300 words) every week, if not every fortnight. No constraints on format, content or visibility.

The last time I did this it took about 3 years for me to run out of steam, but those were a transformative 3 years. Lessons learnt from that season of my life remain. I’d started an internal blog at the company I was at for the first 12 months, which gave me the confidence to kickstart a public blog.

This time round, I’m imagining that building the habit will help me to retune my skills, thoughts and learnings. It’ll serve as a wonderful record of this phase of my life – which might help me remember and decipher milestones and Damascus moments retrospectively. Writing more regularly will multiply impact, help me to be a better leader and give me space to experiment with and explore influence.

I’m eager to see how much writing regularly will aid reflexion, synthesis and ideation for me: thus enhancing creative processes I’m a part of, or am leading. Who knows – I might even end up entertaining myself and others. If nothing else I’ll have built up large muscles for book 2.

I’ve carved out time, figured out a lightweight schedule and chosen my writing tools.

Here’s to fun musings across my newsletter, LinkedIn and blog in the next 12 months. Here’s to you, reader. Here’s to a word-full 2024.

Peace, aimafidon