Our Best Global Mobility Annual Conference Yet

Expat Academy Our Best Global Mobility Annual Conference Yet  The team arrived in London on Sunday night, travelling from all ends of the country to get the stage set for the Expat Academy About Time Annual Conference. Although I’ve attended as a member many times over the years, I’ve never been on the “other side”. It’s a strange mixture of excitement and nerves as we buzz around an enormous empty conference room, adjusting thyme pots and scribbling on scripts. I think it will feel completely different in the morning!

And wow, it did, as over 200 members came and filled up all of that empty space. The biggest Expat Academy event, ever! The networking space was buzzing with excited chit chat, cheers and laughter from the sponsor games and anticipation for the day ahead. As the Vanguard Network wrapped up their early morning session, members began to take their seats in the main room.

We kicked off with a lively intro session, where I really learnt how it felt to be on the stage instead of at a table. The competition was hot for the best global mobility timeline and funniest story. We then moved onto our first guest speaker, Julie Brightley-Davies, Head of GM at RELX, about how we as an industry got to where we are today. Julie explained how global mobility’s ability to react and adapt to crisis such as wars, COVID-19. SARS, natural disasters and so much more has meant we have developed so much from just moving people to centres of excellence.

Shelley Crofts, Head of GM and Domestic Mobility at BAE Systems then looked the other way to the future of global mobility and how we will need data at our finger tips to advise businesses and look afterExpat Academy Our Best Global Mobility Annual Conference Yet  employee wellbeing. Shelley also talked about how our technology options are increasing and how we should use these to our advantage moving forward.

Just before we headed off for lunch and networking, Sean Clarke from Smarter Not Harder held a great session on SmartWorking and how we can remain productive in a hybrid workplace. Managing the law of diminishing return, task planning and interruptions were among the top tips. After lunch Smarter Not Harder returned with Andy Bates hosting a session on leveraging AI to help the GM function – One of our favourite topics! Andy talked us through the dangers of AI as well as the positive changes it could make, the key message being use AI, just don’t fully trust it yet, we must practice implementing it and help to develop it’s understanding of the questions we are asking.

Continuing on the AI theme, our very own Chris Blair and Greg Smith held a huddle discussion on how it could transform GM for the better. We talked about all the time-saving opportunities that could arise and with all of the chatter, the room felt re-energised for the afternoon!

Expat Academy Our Best Global Mobility Annual Conference Yet  Finding Space and Time with Expat Academy’s amazing new Vanguard Network was next on the agenda where we discuss communication of the GM function to the wider business. Jenny Mathieson and Gemma Bailey from PwC talked about time saving opportunities from having a strong GM team, a good relationship with recruitment, standardised processes and good assignee care. Next, Ros Harvey from Warner Music talked about building her GM department from scratch and how defining GM scope, streamlining and upskilling and engaging with talent have all saved her time and space. Finally, Laura Weller from Aviva told us how buy-in with stakeholders, simplification of policies and technology have all saved time. Laura’s triage and exceptions processes were particularly insightful!

The day was drawing to a close, notebooks were full, as were goodie bags from the sponsor stalls. This meant it was time for our final session – The coveted Expat Academy and GMPD Awards! Ros Harvey, Warner Music took away the Key Contributor for Club100 award and Tobi Nehls, Siemens won the Key Contributor for Symposium. GMPD Star Learner of the Year went to Caroline Woodcock, NatWest Group and GMPD Team of the Year went to Equus Software. The Expat Academy Players’ Player award, as voted for by fellow members, went to John Kerr, Pinsent Masons. A huge, well deserved, congratulations to all of our winners!

We wrapped up the day and headed to the bar for the networking drinks! Games got even more competitive, LinkedIn invitations were sent and problems were shared and halved as we wound down into the evening! Remember that time is priceless, so make the most of each and every day.

Expat Academy Our Best Global Mobility Annual Conference Yet

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