Governance Guernsey 2020 - Creating a sustainable future

Wednesday 21 October 2020 - The Chartered Governance Institute held its annual Governance Guernsey Conference. Over 100 attendees and 11 expert speakers in person, plus two via Zoom made this an exceptional hybrid professional GOVERNANCE event. That delegates could meet without employing social distancing or PPE is Guernsey’s reward for its effective and ongoing effort to manage the impact of the pandemic. We are so grateful for our own successes but remain vigilant and mindful of the challenges our friends, families and colleagues face in many other locations.

#GuernseyTogether has been the island’s motto over recent months, aptly reflecting the key themes of the conference: purpose, values, culture, communication and courage.

Perrin Carey urged us to move FORWARD WITH PURPOSE as we aspire to create our sustainable futures. We listened to how organisations must be conscious of their purpose, where they are heading and why, and the importance of assessing progress along that chosen path.

Phil Eyre probed a panel comprised of Susie Crowder, Wayne Bulpitt and Wendy Dorey, to discuss the perfect board composition. Naturally, diversity in all of its forms, expertise and honesty were on the wish-list, but so was creating a CULTURE with an absence of fear.

We heard how SHARED VALUES created a sense of family across the Co-Op in the Channel Islands. Co-Op President Paula Williams told us how their business is underpinned by ESG, and how personal lessons learnt from a previous crisis, namely the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, had informed her response to the current pandemic. Inspiring.

COURAGE was mentioned several times throughout the day, firstly as a key tool for great leaders (and ‘perfect’ board members). On the surface, this translates to standing up for what is right or expressing a contrary view but extended to placing trust in your teams, empowering your managers and employees, and establishing clear channels of communication to develop resilience - needed now more than ever.

We learned how AI and compliance are already fully integrated into our organisational cultures. Martin Dorey urged us to embrace the tech, here and now. Don’t wait or leave it to someone somewhere else! Evidence was provided immediately by Matt Beale, Zooming in from Jersey. Delegates were able to provide live feedback to his questions in a highly interactive virtual session.

Claire Bodanis was so passionate about corporate reporting, again via Zoom, there was nothing lost in translation through the digital channel. Her session provoked me to think more about COMMUNICATION and trust, but this time with wider stakeholder groups, rather than the internal personal relationships we had considered earlier.

I was so happy to open this landmark event and welcome so many Governance Professionals, Chartered Secretaries and respected speakers. In so many of the aspects discussed we have moved on from “should do” to ‘must-do’ - whether that is the practical implementation of new technologies or changing our mindset on ESG - but we must continue with the same sense of purpose beyond the pandemic to create that sustainable future.

Tom Lancaster-King, FCG
UKRIAT Committee and International Council Member & Client Director, Carey Commercial Limited

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