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What does Human mean?

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A blog with our Brighton Summit curators, by Hannah Jackson from Brighton Chamber.

Every year, we ask a group of Brighton Chamber members to join our ‘brilliant brains’. They’re the people in business in Brighton who help us expertly curate the Summit programme.  

At Human: Brighton Summit on 20 October, we’ll be exploring, dissecting and discussing our shared humanity, through inspiring keynotes, thought-provoking workshops and interactive sessions to help you learn something new – or think about the way you do things differently.  

Human can mean many different things, to different people. So we asked some of our brilliant brains to pick a Human theme and tell us what it means to them from their perspective – personally or professionally.  

Read on for Human thoughts and ponderings from our brilliant brains.  


Human behaviour  

James Dempster, Managing Director at Fox&Bear 

Human behaviours are complex and diverse, shaped by a variety of factors including culture, genetics and individual experiences. Emotions, such as fear, confusion and anger, can also influence behaviour and this includes time spent at work. Some behaviours are learned through observation and experience, while others are innate or instinctual.  

Ultimately, understanding human behaviour requires consideration of multiple factors and perspectives and is a fascinating thing to study. 


Human capital  

Katherine Courtney 

Human capital can be defined as a person’s knowledge, skills, experience and attributes. I would go further and include a person’s insights and relationships. 

Businesses routinely assess the value of their tangible assets. Some put a valuation on their intangible assets (brand equity, intellectual property). However, there are remarkably few tools for valuing the most critical asset – human capital. 

Business, as with life in general, is all about people and relationships. Human capital is the most important asset you have – ESPECIALLY if you’re a sole trader or freelancer. Value it! Invest in it! Celebrate it! 


We are all human! 

Kerry Watkins, Managing Director at Social for Good 

Behind every business are real people – wonderful human beings who publish marketing content and who read the comments on social media. They are all people who think and feel, who have good and bad days and who can all be affected by the words of others. In our world of online chats and social media we must all remember to behave online as we would face to face. With consideration for other human beings. Let’s be warriors of empathy, not of keyboards. 


Human decency 

Emma Mills-Sheffield, Mindsetup Ltd 

How can we be decent humans knowing that we’re only humans and like anybody we all make mistakes? I like to think that we all intend to be decent humans but if ego and fear are given centre stage, then you’re looking at a scenario when people can lash out. Is it best to “treat others how you like to be treated” or “treat others how they like to be treated”? It’s not an easy answer. But being human to me means that we’re fair, we’re honest, we’re respectful, we’re kind – we’re just decent human beings. If you can be a decent human, then mistakes aren’t malicious – we all make them, we learn from them and we can forgive.


Being human 

Amy Lishman, Head of Member Engagement & Deputy CEO at Brighton Chamber  

For me, being Human is about connection and curiosity. I want connections with others, I want to learn about others and the world around me. And I never want to stop learning or meeting people – it’s what makes our human experience richer, kinder and hopeful. 



Karen Dobres, Director at Lewes FC  

Being human-centred is an alternative to treating people like commodities. Lewes FC is probably unique as a human-centred football club – but what does this mean in the ground? 

We focus on each player’s, staff’s, management’s, potential – recognising the inequity, privilege and inconsistency that make us human. We each share a responsibility in co-creating where we can be our authentic selves at work. We seek characters with mindsets and values which fit this ecosystem. People who know that no-one’s better than anyone else, and who challenge and support each other in reaching goals.  

As a small club with a huge mission in the sometimes cutthroat, corrupt and chillingly corporate world of football, our different ethics make us sustainable. 

Using understanding rather than judgement is when we can be real and vulnerable together.  


What does Human mean?  

Sarah Springford, CEO at Brighton Chamber 

This year’s Brighton Summit theme has got me thinking and I realise that what human means to me changes by the hour and by the day. Today it means joy and happiness but at other times it’s having to manage more difficult feelings. Working with the warm and energized people that make up our Brighton Summit Curators this year is a perfect example of what I like best about human nature and people who like to engage. Throw in a coffee and croissant and I am a happy human. 


Human: Brighton Summit is on 20 October at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. Find the schedule so far here, and to book your ticket, head over to Eventbrite. 

Brighton Summit is run by Brighton Chamber, a welcoming, dynamic and inclusive membership organisation for businesses of all sizes.  

Stay up-to-date with the latest Summit updates, including keynote speaker announcements and more, by signing up to the Brighton Chamber mailing list 

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