Category: Connection

Webinar: Activate your ESG strategy with storytelling

Date: 14 July 2022
Time: 4:00pm BST (11:00 EST, 10:00 CST)

When it comes to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy, ahead of us lies one of the biggest changes in mindset and strategy that the world has ever seen. However, for businesses to deliver on this at the necessary pace and scale, they will also need to leverage the power of their people to make change happen.

In this webinar, we’ll unlock the secrets of how storytelling can help leaders to accelerate their ESG strategy and drive bigger and bolder outcomes to maintain the long-term health of their business and our planet.

The panel is made up of:

  • John Kjorstad – Chief Operating Officer, KPMG IMPACT
  • Marc Kaiser – Head of Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, Baloise Group
  • Robert Tennant – Head of UK & International Development, The Storytellers 
  • Moderated by Flora Brown – Senior Consultant, The Storytellers

During this session we’ll cover:

  • How to get buy-in: The ‘sit-up and take notice’ reasons why ESG should be top of your boardroom agenda.
  • Shifting mindsets and behaviour: How storytelling can become a mechanism to leverage your people around the challenge ahead.
  • Sustaining momentum: How businesses can create a movement of change to ensure their ESG strategy continues to deliver over many years.

Expect an interactive session with plenty of opportunities to put your questions to our expert panel.

Register now to secure your place

We’re really looking forward it and hope you can join us. If you feel this event would benefit other senior leaders within your network, feel free to share this link for them to register their place.

You can also contact any member of our Client Director Team if you have any questions:

Lynn Archer:

Blane Sweeney:

Jon White:

Jessica Lonsdale:

Webinar: ‘Creating an environmental legacy’ with Douglas Millican – CEO of Scottish Water

When an entire nation depends on your services every day, as a leader, how do you ensure that your organisation remains resilient to any new challenge that may impact on delivery?

Scottish Water is trusted to keep Scotland supplied with clean water and take care of the country’s natural environment every minute of every day. With a proud heritage based on innovation, to ensure the organisation remains on the front foot to achieve its delivery targets and environmental ambitions, they’ve unveiled a future vision that gives its committed team of 4,000 employees more ownership over their roles.

In our ‘Stories from the C-suite’ series, we talk to leaders who we believe are expert storytellers about their approach to turning vision into reality to future-proof their business for the long term. In this episode, Douglas Millican CEO of Scottish Water for nearly 10 years joined us to explore:

  •  How the role of CEO has evolved in the last decade
  •  The ways leaders can build a legacy for our planet as well as their business
  •  The role of storytelling in aligning and galvanising employees behind achieving Scottish Water’s future vision

In the years ahead, leaders will need to continue adjusting to recent seismic societal and economic shifts by staying nimble, flexible and creatively future-proofing their organisations. This proved to be a pertinent conversation packed with key takeaways.

Enter your details to watch a recording of the webinar in full.

Webinar: Making your EVP a reality, not just a promise

For businesses experiencing or readying themselves for future attrition and recruitment challenges, having a distinctive and authentic EVP has never been more critical.

During this webinar, we explored how leaders can harness the power of storytelling to create and elevate a standout EVP that helps organisations to improve employee experience and attract the talent they need.

 We covered:

  • Why a standout EVP is now more important than ever.
  • How storytelling can strengthen and build belief in a company’s EVP – from candidates to employees and leaders.
  • How to align a leadership team behind the strategic, operational and behavioural priorities that underpin the EVP.

Panellists were:

  • Marcus Iles, Chief Storytelling Officer at The Storytellers
  • Alison Esse, Co-founder and Director at The Storytellers
  • Hannah Moyo, Head of Consulting UK at The Storytellers

Enter your details to watch a recording of the webinar in full.

You can also contact any member of our Client Director Team if you have any questions:

Lynn Archer:

Blane Sweeney:

Jon White:

Webinar: ‘Empowering the future generation’ with Abigail Melville – CEO of We Rise

Today, ’Gen Z’ can easily get the wrong idea about big organisations – and vice versa. In an increasingly complicated system of post-16 education, young people in the UK are all too often left to navigate their own path, relying on personal and social networks to make the difficult transition from school to work. This disadvantages those from less affluent backgrounds.

We Rise is an award-winning community business challenging stereotypes and tackling social disadvantage. Its mission is to empower young people to create successful futures by enabling them to explore and experience the real world of work, try new things and be challenged to deliver.

Passionate about tackling inequality, after 25 years working in public, commercial and non-profit organisations – including spells as a Councillor in South London, public affairs consultant and secondary school teacher – Abigail Melville founded We Rise to make an impact in her community.

In our ‘Stories from the C-Suite’ series, we talk to C-suite leaders who we believe are expert storytellers about the challenges of leading organisations through change and find out what lies ahead in the next stages of their journey.

In this latest episode, Abigail joined us to explore:

  • How the global pandemic has impacted opportunities for young people
  • How organisations can benefit by empowering a more diverse future workforce
  • How We Rise uses storytelling and narrative to shift mindsets and drive change.

Enter your details to watch a recording of the webinar in full.

Overcoming key leadership challenges in 2021

The number of new opportunities and challenges created by the pandemic shows no sign of dwindling. Businesses that can respond to new demands on their markets will always be best equipped to navigate risks and remain sustainable in the long term. 

The COVID crisis has fundamentally changed many aspects of our lives, not at least how we work, and successful business leaders will adjust to these seismic societal shifts by staying nimble, flexible and creatively future-proofing their organisations.

In our ‘Stories from the C-suite’ series, we talk to leaders, who we believe are expert storytellers, about the challenges of leading through change and how they will approach the next stages in their journey.

Each webinar provided valuable takeaways on how leaders can overcome both the common and more unique challenges large organisations face at this time. 

As the series takes a break during August and September, I invite you to catch up or watch back and reflect on the conversations we’ve had since the beginning of the year.

Stories from the c-suite Rabobank

WATCH: ’Future of Food’ with Will Jennings – CEO, UK at Rabobank 

Will shared how the global food crisis has come to drive Rabobank’s mission and purpose. And why storytelling and narrative are important to leaders looking to drive long-lasting change.

Stories from the Csuite CFA Institute

READ: Transformation in Asia’ with Nick Pollard – MD APAC, CFA Institute

Accompanying this webinar is a free guide outlining the skill set needed for leaders to unlock business transformation in Asia.

Stories from the C-suite AXA Health

WATCH: ’The Future of Health’ with Tracy Garrad – CEO, AXA Health

We explored how Tracy dealt with the challenges of the pandemic in an industry at the forefront of the crisis. We also discussed how the business has adapted and what healthcare will look like in the future.

Stories from the C-suite: Noble Foods

WATCH: ’Food for thought’ with Duncan Everett – CEO, Noble Foods

From a unique position of having experienced and led two different food companies during the pandemic, we were keen to hear what Duncan had learned and what he will focus on moving forward.

Stories From the Csuite - Hostelworld

WATCH: Navigating Crisis’ with Gary Morrison – CEO, Hostelworld

Arguably one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, the travel industry has been dealt consistent blows with no respite. We discussed with Gary, a veteran of digital travel companies, what Hostelworld did to ensure that it had a roadmap to recovery, and how it plans to thrive when normal travel patterns resume.

Stories from the C-suite Hays

WATCH: ’Talking Talent’ with Alistair Cox – CEO, Hays plc

Forces of change are sweeping across the recruitment industry, and we wanted to know how Alistair is navigating this tumultuous but exciting landscape. He also shared plenty of insights on what the future of recruitment might look like.

Stories from the C-suite: Pheonix Group

WATCH: ’Facing The Crisis’ with Andy Briggs – CEO, Phoenix Group

He was a new CEO, taking up the role during the early stages of the pandemic – we wanted to know how Andy was able to navigate Phoenix Group, the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business, through the toughest of times.

Follow our LinkedIn page or sign-up to our newsletter for notifications about future ‘Stories from the C-Suite’ webinars. If you have any suggestions of leaders you would like to hear from or ideas on topics you would like us to cover – we would also love to hear from you. Please email us:

Webinar: ‘Future of Food’ with Will Jennings – CEO, UK at Rabobank

We’re on the brink of a global food emergency, with consequences like nothing seen before in the last century. Despite more food being produced today than at any other time in history, to feed an anticipated global population of over 10 billion by 2050, our food system must tackle crucial challenges such as climate change, and get to grips with technological opportunities to make food production and distribution smarter and more efficient.

Rabobank, one of the largest food and agricultural banks in the world, is playing a decisive role in speeding up the global transition towards more sustainable food systems by taking a leading voice and supporting the F&A sector to navigate this rapidly changing landscape.

Will Jennings, is responsible for developing and delivering the UK strategy and operations of Rabobank. With over 15 years banking experience, he is passionate about transformation and digital innovation.

In our ‘Stories from the C-Suite’ series, we talk to C-suite leaders who we believe are expert storytellers about the challenges of leading through change and what the next stage in the journey is for them. In this latest episode, Will joined us to explore:

  • Critical challenges and threats to our global food system
  • How the global food crisis has come to drive Rabobank’s mission and purpose
  • Why storytelling and narrative are important to leaders looking to drive long-lasting change

Businesses that can respond to new demands on their sector or market will always be best equipped to navigate risks and have a healthy, profitable future. Furthermore, successful leaders will need to continue adjusting to recent seismic societal and economic shifts by staying nimble, flexible and creatively future-proofing their organisations.

This was a pertinent conversation packed with topical insights and key takeaways applicable to any sector.

Watch the webinar recording by entering your details.

Webinar: ‘Transformation in Asia’ with Nick Pollard – MD APAC, CFA Institute

The pace of change shows no signs of slowing in Asia. In such a diverse region, with many distinct markets, languages, and cultures, leaders need a special set of skills to adapt to these seismic changes, transform their strategies and embrace transformation.

Recent events including the COVID-19 pandemic have also shaken up developments in an unparalleled way. For the latest episode of our ‘Stories from the C-Suite’ series, I was joined by Nick Pollard, Managing Director, Asia Pacific at CFA Institute, and Tony Williams, Leadership Coach and MD at Hong Kong-based strategic change consultancy Will Exell, to explore this topic further.

Nick is a seasoned wealth management and banking executive. In 2016, he joined CFA Institute, which has over 170,000 CFA charterholders worldwide, and more than 160 local societies. Tony, who advises boards on M&A and business transformation, set up Will Exell after gaining 15 years of experience as a C-Suite HR leader across four financial services companies.

Leading transformation across diverse markets, cultures and operations

A key point Nick stressed early on in the discussion was that due to its sheer size and diversity, while we can talk about Asia Pacific being one region, in a business context, we should never think about it that way.

One example of this was how different countries in the region handled the pandemic, which for leaders working across borders, posed a far wider range of challenges.

The impact of the pandemic and how organisations are adapting

Both Nick and Tony acknowledged that the last 18 months have been incredibly challenging for leaders – however, a common denominator across this diverse region was how to deal with uncertainty. With the focus very much on the ‘here and now’ leaders have had to get to grips with fast, short-term decision making as their businesses either thrived or required action to survive.

Nick described how the financial sector in Hong Kong was very quick to react to the pandemic. Like many Asian cities, where the average size of homes means people live in close quarters, the well-being of staff working from home became an important area of focus and often forced leaders to think outside of the box when it came to finding specific solutions for their teams.

In the last six months, Tony has observed a pivot where leaders have been able to think more strategically and look to a future beyond the pandemic. Although he warned that the recent cost reductions made by many organisations earlier on in the pandemic may not be sustainable in the long term. Therefore, leaders are going to have to find ways to simplify their business.

It was clear to Nick that management boards that had previously invested in technology were better prepared for the pandemic.  According to a CFA Institute research study, ‘Future of Work in Investment Management’, over half of the investment professionals surveyed said remote working has increased their efficiency. Nick said organisations are now starting to think carefully about hard processes for how future roles can be managed both in and away from the office.

Building high-performance cultures in times of crisis

“If you’re somebody who trusts your employees you’ll be able to cope far easier in a crisis,” Tony stated, however, he was equally keen to stress that how leaders react and respond will also depend on their organisational culture, business structure, and their individual personality. A big challenge will always be re-engaging employees after so much change – especially as operating models become more efficient, and sustainable practices and processes continue to be increasingly vital.

“All good leaders should be clear about the purpose of their organisation,” said Nick. He noted that organisations are moving away from purpose being ‘only a tagline’, to underpinning everything about how a business operates.

He also warned that people always remember how organisations engage with their employees during a crisis. Therefore, as we emerge from the pandemic, when it comes to attracting new talent, people will look for stories from existing employees when they decide on their next career move.

Overall, what was clear from our discussion is that leadership during a crisis requires a rounded skill set. “If you don’t have a style where you are focussed on both purpose and people, you will struggle going forward,” Tony concluded.

Gain more insights on Asia

Download our free guide where leaders from across the region, including Paul Baker COO at Genting Resorts and Sam Lau, Chief Executive of Total Loyalty Company, outline the skill set needed to unlock business transformation in Asia.

Webinar: ‘The Future of Health’ with Tracy Garrad – CEO, AXA Health

One shared outcome of the pandemic has to be the relevance of healthcare to all of us – no matter where we live, our age, or our profession. Globally, health has become an even more pressing priority for us all. COVID has accelerated issues in our healthcare system, highlighting inequalities, the need for greater personalisation in healthcare and also stressing an urgent requirement for easy remote access to it.

Tracy Garrad, CEO of AXA Health, has been at the helm of the Healthcare arm of AXA throughout the pandemic. She joined AXA from HSBC, where she held a variety of senior management roles, including Chief Executive of First Direct and Chief Executive of HSBC in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. We wanted to know how Tracy has dealt with the challenges of the pandemic in an industry at the forefront of the crisis, how the business has adapted and what healthcare will look like in the future. 

In our ‘Stories from the C-Suite’ series, we talk to CEOs who we believe are expert storytellers about the challenges of leading through change, and what the next stage in the journey is for them. 

We explored topics such as: 

  • The impact of the pandemic on the health industry
  • AXA’s plan to improve its customers’ healthcare and general wellbeing moving forwards
  • How Tracy has led through such difficult times, and what she has learnt about leadership

As it becomes clear that this crisis has changed how people live, work and spend their free time, successful business leaders will need to continue adjusting to these seismic societal shifts by staying nimble, flexible and creatively future-proofing their organisations.

Watch this highly relevant conversation now by entering your details.

Exploring the true meaning of ‘digital’

The power of digital has saved us as a nation, enabling organisations, colleagues, communities, friends and families to stay connected through a period of dramatic disruption. We now have a better understanding of the value that digital can bring to us, both as individuals and collective communities. A rare opportunity has been created for organisations to connect humans and digital much more closely – paving the way forward together as a truly social enterprise.

It seems every organisation has been racing to become more ‘digital’ over the years, but have we ever stopped to understand what it means to us individually and to different groups of people? Have you stopped to think about what being ‘more digital’ means to you?

For executives, digital transformation may mean new technology platforms and using data-driven insights to make better decisions. For millennials and Gen Z, the ability to switch between apps, influence an audience and have a platform for their voice to be heard. For others, it may be purely using a smartphone, or engaging with customers in new, innovative ways. None of these are incorrect – it can mean so many different things to each of us, but no wonder such varied perspectives make alignment and a common vision very tricky for a leadership team.

Pioneering a digital future

The pandemic accelerated every transformation, especially digital, and emphasised a need for every executive team to revisit their vision of the future and the role digital plays in it – a future which is upon us much faster than we expected. We are seeing a shift for leaders from an inward-facing defence position to one that has to be leading the attack with their teams. The big challenge is to build resilient businesses and create a customer experience that is not only digital but also human and personal. 

Take Spotify, which is leading the way on this: the top dog of the music streaming world, which focuses consistently on delivering a seamless, human user experience and building communities through playlists. It uses data analytics to personalise playlist content for us based on preferences and trends. Now it is taking bold strides to dominate the world of podcasting too. But what’s the secret behind its success?

Technology and humans are completely interconnected. Spotify’s revolutionary internal model of ‘squads and tribes’ has been an inspiration to many and allowed it to unite small, cross-functional teams behind a common purpose. This nimble approach has created a distinctive people culture which is strongly connected with the role of digital, allowing it to interact closely with customers and co-create new solutions at pace.

Unlock empowerment and purpose 

Indeed, not every organisation can quickly implement a squads and tribes model but every organisation has a purpose to unite people and can use this to explore what digital means to them. In a recent study by Deloitte, 79 percent of respondents said “fostering a sense of belonging in the workforce” was important or very important in the next 12-18 months. As we move through to the recover and thrive phase of the current pandemic, purpose has never been so important to connect colleagues, helping them understand the role they play alongside digital and, as things change, ensure they feel empowered to prioritise and make decisions.

Focus on mindset

Digital is not just about the technology, it’s a mindset. It’s the behaviours we exhibit, the relationships we create and the attitude with which we approach our work. If leaders fail to bring people along the journey with them without context and a clear understanding of the part they play alongside digital, they risk chronic disengagement. Where people who are not upskilled nor empowered to adapt and experiment, organisations will be slow to act and will quickly lose relevance in the market.

Taking an open approach and creating a culture of continuous learning with the ability to move fast, change direction and innovate will be the difference between those that fail, those that survive and those that thrive. To do this, we need to galvanise people, set clear goals and connect to purpose – it is only then will people feel inspired to anticipate desired customer outcomes and bring fresh ideas to the table. 

And connect your people… 

Here are five things that are helping our clients to focus on connecting people to rethink what digital means to them, and ensure transformation is adopted at scale and pace:

  1. Authentic and visible leadership is critical to help to shape the future. There is nothing more powerful than seeing an Executive team aligned behind a compelling story which connects people to purpose – openly acknowledging challenges but also providing stability and hope
  2. Instil a culture of continuous learning and innovation where colleagues are encouraged to rapidly design and innovate, no matter what the level or part of the organisation they are in
  3. Tell stories – both stories of success, but also face failure head on. Don’t be afraid to discuss these as a team to help to connect colleagues on an emotional as well as a rational level
  4. Create cross-team communities to connect people in new ways, bridge silos which can develop more when working remotely,and help others to understand what is happening in other parts of the business
  5. Prioritise clear communication channels and collaboration tools. It is worth agreeing these as a wider team. After a period of remote working, it is beneficial to have a group conversation on what’s working and what’s not, to learn and focus on what to take forward for the future with a clear purpose for each.

A couple of thoughts to finish with:

Is your organisation connecting colleagues, customers and communities to a common purpose? 

How is your organisation rethinking what digital means to them – what does it mean to you?

Let’s start a conversation, we’d love to hear from you.