The Future is NOW
WIBF Scotland hosted its first joint conference – The Future is NOW, in partnership with RBS Women in May, at the RBS Conference Centre, Gogarburn, Edinburgh. The sold out event aim was to share with the 300 attendees how to assess their current skillset and personal readiness for the future of work. By discussing the current technological, social and economic landscape it would inform and help to prepare individuals for the ever changing workplace, allowing them to identify the skills they wished to focus on developing, as well as providing them with an opportunity to build a strong network to help them now and in the future.
The event secured a number of impressive distinguished keynote speakers to present in the morning and offered attendees the option of taking part in one of two interactive workshops in the afternoon – Creating a Mindset for Change or Realisation and Self-Determination.
Anticipation was running high ahead of the event and on the day the energy was in abundance as individuals registered. The day started with WIBF Scotland Co-Chair, Niamh Simms welcoming attendees from almost 40 organisations , including some very welcome male allies, and introducing the running order for the event.
First to address the audience was Wincie Wong, RBS Head of Innovation Supply Chain Services. Wincie discussed ‘Embracing yourself for Innovation and Change’. She spoke of her own inspirational journey and how she is passionate about spearheading the growth of a more diverse technology workforce. She reminded us all to be authentic and believe in our own value. As well as ‘do things that spark joy! ’ By the end of Wincie’s uplifting address you could see everyone sitting a bit taller in their seats.
Maggie Craig, Head of Financial Conduct Authority Scotland (FCA) probably changed all of the audience’s perception of what a regulator is like. She discussed how the FCA want to actively engage with companies with regards to existing and new regulations. In today’s ever changing fast paced climate she highlighted that regulation has to be fit for purpose. Maggie also shared an outline from the FCA BP 2019/20 which showed attendees that future proofing of regulations and data and technology are a focus for FCA Scotland. In closing Maggie’s advice to all was to note that ‘change is progress’.
Stephen Ingledew, Chief Executive of FinTech Scotland told all how Glacier Mints shaped his thoughts, feelings and approach regarding diversity and inclusivity from the age of 12. Stephen’s passion for making financial services more open, creative and inclusive to all, through the use of new innovative technologies shone through his address. His message - Everyone should have the chance of pursuing whatever they love to do. He also spoke about the exciting collaborations that are happening within the FinTech community both in Scotland and across the UK. Informing and inviting all to look out and get involved in the 2019 FinTech Festival happening over 3 weeks in September.
Following a short break attendees listened to the final keynote address from Sue Liburd MBE, Non- Executive Director of Abstract. Her presentation entitled ‘Why you can’t trust a woman’ had everyone hooked from the first second. Her serious points regarding gender parity, equality and inclusivity were intermixed with witty anecdotes that kept all hanging on her every word. Sue encouraged all to believe they were capable of more than the Disney princess waiting to be rescued by the brave prince. Adding that ‘it’s ok to pause - but not to stop’ and the importance of ‘lifting as you climb’.
The keynote speakers then all came together and were joined by Amy Finn, HR and Change specialist from PA Consulting, to take part in an audience Q&A session. Andy Nicol, CEO of Abstract expertly facilitated the many questions. Questions were varied and ranged from asking for advice about how to get ‘Tech ready’ if you have been out of the environment for a while to thoughts regarding the role that leaders and HR will play in helping employees and organisations be ready for the future of work.
As the event broke for lunch, the break provided a fantastic opportunity for WIBF Scotland and RBS Women members to catch up with existing contacts and make new connections from across the two organisations.
Following lunch attendees participated in their chosen interactive workshop. There was a natural split of participants which showed that both subject topics had equally appealed to the audience.
Dr Sue Mitchell from AEONA hosted Be Change Ready – Mental Strength for Resistance and Wellbeing and David Nikolich, MD of Abstract discussed Realisation and Self Determination.
The ‘Be Change Ready’ session offered participants the opportunity to look at how ‘it’s not what happens to you but how you respond that makes a difference’. Tools and resources to take control of mindset, and grow mental strength to make sure individuals had high resilience and wellbeing no matter what was going on around them , were all discussed within the workshop.
At the Realisation and Self Determination session, David spoke about ‘the awakening of our ambitions’ and how to nurture them so that they form immediate or longer term reality. Sue Liburd MBE and Andy Nicol offered some real life stories during the interactive workshop and all participants were encouraged to set personal goals during the session using the ‘8 Step Process’. David closed with the advice ‘If not now, when and if not you, who?’
The attendees from both workshops then came together a final time for the closing address given by WIBF Scotland Co-Chair, Niamh Simms. She thanked all keynote speakers and workshop facilitators for their inspirational addresses and practical advice about how to view change as a process and embrace it. Organisations and attendees were also thanked for their fantastic energy and positivity throughout the day. Niamh closed the first Scottish WiBF conference highlighting the benefit of collaborating with other networks and the opportunity it presents to all. Due to the success of the event it is an opportunity that WIBF Scotland will explore again in the future.
You can view all the photographs from the day over on our Flickr account