They call it a marathon, not a sprint. No, not the Premier League, but the first day of the ACT Annual Conference!
From a charismatic opening by Lord Michael Dobbs, creator of House of Cards, and his optimistic view on the health of the western economies all the way to the highly opinionated and highly experienced businessman and executive mentor, Andrew Garner, today’s delegates packed in as much work as some of us do in a week! Mr Garner’s view of the Brexit referendum as being an unspeakable disaster was at the very least forthright – if not the bitterest pill – and none of the political actors in the drama were spared!
On a broader note delegates moved hither and thither around Manchester Central from workshops on diverse topics such as leadership vs management and socially responsible finance to more technical track sessions on Open banking and APIs, Tax (oh, the romance!), and redefining bank relationships.
The star of the show, however, was a highly entertaining ‘teach-in’ on ethical hacking from young man turned corporate saviour (at least from hacking), Jamie Woodruff. Warm humour and chilling realism can be an effective presentational strategy it seems!
ACT’s @PeterMatza asks what treasury’s top challenge is. Lynn Lochhead, John Lewis Partnership: Soft skills, building relationships #actac17
If there was a key theme to today’s sessions, my view would be that treasurers can take their place at the top table but must bring more than technical skills and data management. They have to show they see the relationship between business and finance strategy and where value will be created. That’s the true meaning of leadership: define clear objectives, be clear about success and communicate the strategy – and then take people with you! It’s not a time for the faint-hearted.
The day closed with a fun social atmosphere in the exhibition hall with an Oasis tribute band, food stations with tasty offerings from all over the world and a star turn from British comedian and freestyle rapper, Chris Turner. Phew!