Each year we try to provide something different at our annual conference and this year was no exception. The challenge was to create a day that would be memorable and beneficial for delegates, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors.
We live much of our lives online, and whilst there are definite benefits to being able to communicate easily with people whilst sitting at our desks, we still need and crave the intimacy of human contact. At the Guild we do not underestimate the value of our delegates, sponsors and exhibitors having the opportunity to engage with one another and network. “Contacts are made and deals born in the hallways at the best conferences,” says Thom Singer.
The speakers we chose were diverse in their presentation styles and had been asked to present because they are topic experts, as well as being motivational. Business was a key part of the day, however, discussions did not just revolve around financial matters and increasing profits. We examined the legislative, the economical, the technological, the environmental, the political and our Corporate Social Responsibility.
Charles Walker MP for Broxbourne started off the day with an overview of the Housing Market. Key points of the discussion were the housing shortage, Universal Credit and the challenges faced by letting agents & property managers.
David Mole, Managing Director of Landmark Information Group explored information trends, delved into the world of information and what the Landmark data team does with the data they collect. He also provided us with an insight to the range of Landmark Services and how they Create Value for Agents.
We expected a lot of interaction from our delegates and we wanted them to participate in the whole conference. Sean Riches of Erskine Nash provided that opportunity to interact by asking delegates, sponsors & exhibitors to take part in an activity which asked us to explore the way in we deal with change management. Sean’s offer of places on a Leadership & Management workshop were in high demand primarily because of his novel approach to training.
Our pre-lunch speaker was Jonathan Davis, Economist and Wealth Manager who really did provide food for thought. The overview of the current economy appeared to be less than positive, however, Jonathan gave a realistic overview which created a lot of discussion throughout the rest of the day and into the following week.
The afternoon was covered legal matters – DPS who gave an insight to the way in which ADR works, Linda Howard of Shoosmiths discussed the outcome of John V Old and the issues which still arise with Prescribed Information being incorrectly served. Our barrister John Coyne also added weight to the legal session by giving pointers on the intricacies of abandonment, service of the section 21 notice, using the section 8 notice and managing breach of contract.
Our keynote speaker reduced the whole room to tears. Linda Cruse is a humanitarian and philanthropist who gave up what one could deem a normal life 14 years ago, to help those living in conflict areas around the world. Her determination and ethos of a ‘Hand Up not a Hand Out’ has started a new ball rolling with world leaders, influencers and champions and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon. Linda’s account of the things she has witnessed was moving and thought provoking. Meeting Linda comes with a strong warning. At best, you’ll be inspired to get involved however you may just find yourself filled with a new found energy – ready to leap over tall buildings in a single bound and joining the cause – giving back has never been so addictive.
The exhibition is always a fundamental part of the event, providing information on the very latest products and resources. The exhibition was open for the duration of the conference. We were fortunate to have the launch of two new products on the day, which will assist agents on many levels with the day to day running of their business.
Organising an exceptional conference is never easy– the venue, the food, the timings, the speakers, the sponsors & exhibitors, the support network – has to come together. Nevertheless, we are eternally grateful to our administrative staff for dealing with the initial preparation for the conference, to our sponsors and exhibitors for investing time and money to attend, to our speakers, to our delegates for taking the time out of increasingly busy schedules to attend and to the team at the Emirates Stadium, in particular Gemma, who worked tirelessly to ensure that our conference was a success.
Susie Crolla – The Guild of Letting & Management