Festival of Global People round-up: Day One

The Festival of Global People brought together a selection of the best Relocation sector leaders and innovators. Marianne Curphey reports on all the keynote speakers from the first day of the Festival.

Festival of Global People banner with images of speakers, panelists and delegates
The beautiful and historic St Pancras Renaissance Hotel was the setting for two days of thought-provoking debate and presentations covering talent management, leadership, building great teams, and creating effective support networks. Teresa Boughey – Creating an inclusive culture // Jitin Sethi – International Schools and why they matter // Theresa Hafner & Lindsay Lydon – Peer-to-peer empowerment: a win-win for expats // Ben Renshaw – Developing purposeful leaders // Angela Middleton MBE – How employers can support schools // Families matter: How to choose the right school // Relocation hotspots unpacked for success //  The Four Seasons Hotel in the City of London // India: unlocking opportunity inbound and outbound

Watch highlights from the 2019 Festival:

Teresa Boughey – Creating an inclusive culture

Teresa Boughey, Author of Closing the Gap and CEO of Jungle HR, opened the Festival with a keynote speech on Creating an inclusive culture.“Inclusion is the role and responsibility of everyone at an organisation,” she explained. Teresa is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women at Work and has a wealth of experience of working with executive boards and leadership teams during times of change.She urged businesses to take stock of their current position and look at gender pay data, where talent is recruited from, whether the selection panel is diverse.“Where do you get your talent from, and does the process enable you to search from the greatest possible range?” she asked. “Do your recruitment partners challenge you and is the selection panel diverse – bring junior members on to it if it is not.”School search and education advice - connect with our in-country expertsShe also spoke about the importance of ensuring that the reward of individuals was fair and consistent – is performance management affected by bias, and what is the level of staff engagement?

Credible and authentic leaders

The role of leadership was also key to setting the tone in an organisation, she said. There is a need for “credible and authentic” leaders who understand the impact they have on others. Inclusion is not the role of one person, but it’s about educating and supporting everyone.“Mentoring is vital, but what training do you give to your mentors? Consider stretch assignments to help people build confidence and look around at what is happening. Listen to what your workforce is telling you.”She warned that it might take time to create a culture change.“It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You are going to have to unpick generations of mindset and working practices and it’s going to take time.”The key issues were to analyse your data in order to learn where you can achieve the biggest improvements, and commit to an action plan, she said.

Read our interview with Teresa Boughey about future-proofing your organisation and creating an inclusive culture

Relocate Festival of Global People 2019

Jitin Sethi – Growth Market – International Schools and why they matter

Jitin Sethi, Partner, Global Education Practice, L.E.K. Consulting, gave a fascinating insight into the huge growth and variety of school provision that is available to relocating families. In his speech – Growth Market – International Schools and why they matter – he looked at how some of the most famous UK brands are building schools overseas, and how relatively new brands are creating well-resourced and diverse education offerings in developing countries.

Top quality global education

With such diversity in the market, it can be difficult for parents who want to choose the right school for their children.“Twenty years ago, there were not many options for parents, but now there is a great deal of choice in key cities such as Singapore, Jakarta, Bejing, Dubai and the UAE,” he said. “In the past, a lot of schools were embassy-linked or were smaller, select providers. Over time, the professional global providers of schooling have seen increasing demand from parents locally for top quality education.”He explained that the Premium K-12 market now encompasses almost three million students and is valued at between $20 and $25 billion US dollars of revenue.

Well-known brands

Premium schools in developing countries tended to offer the IGCSE and IB. Well-known brands such as Westminster, NLCS, Dulwich College and Malvern College are key players. NordAnglia (which has 61 international private schools, based in 28 countries), Cognita (which owns and operates schools throughout the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil and Chile) and Inspired (with 38,000 students across an international network of over 50 schools) are growing brands. Growth has been driven by governments in countries such as Singapore, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai recognising the importance of investing in schooling and granting licences to operators.He said parents were looking for good quality teachers from Western countries and a diverse population of children within the school.

Read about Day 2 at the Festival of Global People


Providing 21st century skills

“These schools are new, and they are innovative, aware of the need to provide 21st century skills, something which many parents say is lacking in the domestic school system. The larger schools have chains across multiple countries and provide a global village eco-system to parents. They are able to develop schools with excellent infrastructure, including multiple playing fields and swimming pools and world-class extra-curricular activities.”One advantage of using the international schools system outside the UK and US is that parents may find educational facilities that are comparable with the best schools at home, but at a lower price.Schools faced challenges when children reached A-level age, as parents began to think about relocating to the UK, US, Australia or Canada in order to take advantage of the top-quality universities in those countries.For global mobility departments and HR professionals this was something to bear in mind.“It’s important to understand that for parents with children in senior grades, you would increase their anxiety if you asked them to relocate at a critical moment in their child’s education,” he said.

Read our interview with Jitin Sethi about why international schools matter

Theresa Hafner and Lindsay Lydon – Peer-to-peer empowerment: a win-win for expats, partners and employers

Theresa Hafner and Lindsay Lydon of InterNations Business Solutions, talked about the importance of Peer-to-peer empowerment: a win-win for expats, partners and employers.Speaking from personal experience, Lindsay Lydon explained how she had found the transition from being a working mother to becoming an ex-pat living in Munich and supporting her husband’s career to be more difficult than she had anticipated. She explained the importance of networks and friendships for ex-pats who found themselves living in a new city and new culture, and how InterNations Business Solution offered a peer-to-peer networking service to support relocating employees.“I arrived with nine suitcases, four backpacks and two small children,” Lindsay explained. “I had sold my house and I was supporting my relocating spouse. I severely underestimated what was involved in making a new social network. I didn’t know the language and I didn’t know anyone. I had been a working professional.”

More photos and videos coming soon!

Rebuilding a sense of community

She said that 56 per cent of relocating spouses missed having support and the advantage of peer-to-peer support was to receive practical tips and advice, build real relationships, and rebuild a sense of community.“It’s the ability to exchange tips and support with like-minded people in the same situation and with similar backgrounds,” said Theresa. “It is an individual solution to specific needs and it helps to connect the dots within global mobility.”She said that a social network is key to the success of an assignment, and that assignees have many challenges when they relocate, which include the administrative hurdles, culture shock, practical issues like opening a new bank account and finding a new mobile provider.InterNations Business Solutions offered an efficient self-service, peer-to-peer network solution which could help take the load of HR teams, and provided localised support in 420 cities worldwide which offered the opportunity for personal and professional networking opportunities. 

Read our interview with Theresa Hafner & Lindsay Lydon about peer-to-peer empowerment

Ben Renshaw – Developing purposeful leaders

Ben Renshaw, Leadership coach of author of Purpose, gave a keynote speech on Developing Purposeful Leaders.“Purpose is very individual but it is important that everyone has a clear sense of what is important to them,” he said. Having worked with major brands such as IHG and Heathrow Airport, he was aware of the challenges that modern business faced and the need to deliver results faster and cheaper in an uncertain, disruptive and digital world.

Leading with purpose

He challenged the audience to think about their true purpose and to think about how that impacted on leadership, and on relationships at work. He talked about leading with purpose and the importance of receiving feedback.“How well do you know the passions of your managers and your team?” he asked. “Purpose is about where you are at your best. Discovering that is about being reflective and identifying peak moments in your life when you were performing so well that things seemed to flow.”

Read our interview with Ben Renshaw about developing purposeful leaders

Angela Middleton MBE – How employers can support schools, young people and their career ambitions

Angela Middleton MBE of MiddletonMurray and author of Bridge That Gap, gave a keynote speech on How employers can support schools, young people and their career ambitions. She talked about the gap between leaving school and gaining a first job and how schools and employers can make the transition into the workplace a better experience.“Young people are leaving school with a lack of vision, and a lack of self belief,” she said, “They don’t know what they are capable of. Schools are still driven by Ofsted and they want to provide vision and a life plan for students but they have to achieve academic standards.”

Creating a global online community

Employers could address the challenge by creating a global online community with schools, using LinkedIn. They could offer work experience placements, and they could share job specifications with schools in order to help young people get an idea of the skills and qualifications they will need in the future workplace.Employers could also offer taster days and develop a plan for new entrants. Parents and teachers could also play their part, helping children to think about what sectors they might like to work in for the future, and how school helped them to achieve their employment goals.In the afternoon, the focus was on International schools – from curriculum choice to accreditation and safe-guarding – as well as Relocation hotspots, and an insight into the opportunity for relocating executives and their families to find high quality accommodation in the heart of London. There was much for global mobility teams to reflect on – including the importance of family and social integration in order to make an assignment a success.

Read our interview with Angela Middleton MBE on how employers can support schools, young people and their career ambitions

Families matter: How to choose the right school

Colin Bell, CEO of COBIS, talked about the importance of accreditation in schools. He also discussed how global mobility experts needed to think about safe-guarding procedures in schools in order to ensure their assignees and their children were matched with the right educational facility.Claudine Hakim, ISL, Alessandra Gnudi, FOCUS, Colin Bell of COBIS and Kieran Earley, CEO of the British School in the Netherlands, all joined a panel to look at the issues around the importance of relocation support and why Families matter: How to choose the right school. Relocate Gala Awards Dinner 2019

Fostering a global mindset

The panel, facilitated by journalist Marianne Curphey, discussed the importance of preparing young people for leadership and how to build confidence in a changing world. With input from the audience, they exchanged views on how the 21st century skills of understanding technology, having emotional intelligence and fostering a global mindset were so essential for today’s students.“You know when you visit a school, when the children are happy and have a purpose,” said Kieren Earley. He explained how “we have nearly 90 nationalities at the BSN. The BSN is an expression of a global community.”The panel discussed the debate over single sex and mixed education schools, the role of parents in choosing schools and supporting their children, and the importance of curriculum and whether qualifications and courses were transferable between countries and geographic regions.

Relocation hotspots unpacked for success

Relocation hotspots was the subject of the next lively panel discussion, which saw Marianne Curphey lead a discussion with Brenda E. Levis, NYC Navigator, USA and Chris Debner, consultant and award-winning expert in the area of Strategic Global Mobility. Among the topics discussed were the impact of technology, the importance of a global mindset, and how to secure a successful assignment for different regions and demographics.

The Four Seasons Hotel in the City

Eleonora Bortolato, Director of Residential, Four Seasons, gave a presentation on The story behind the Four Seasons Hotel in the City, in which she explained how the hotel’s new suite of residences came to be built.The 40 residences, which enjoy all the facilities of the hotel, are designed for high net worth and C-suite executives who are looking for apartments with more space and privacy than is normally available in a hotel offering. With a discreet entrance and exit which provides maximum privacy, but with the advantage of being able to use the hotel’s private members’ club, spa, fitness centre, concierge service, restaurants and bars, the residences offer a high level of personal service.

Read more about Four Seasons London at Ten Trinity Square

India: unlocking opportunity inbound and outbound

The opportunities and challenges that come with inbound and outbound talent from India, and essential information that global mobility professionals need to know about this market, was the basis for a very informative and lively debate on India: unlocking opportunity inbound and outbound.The panel featured Holly Creed, Global Mobility Manager at DXC Technology and founder of NextGen GM, a networking group for Global Mobility professionals; Rohit Kumar, Founder, Co-Owner and the Joint Managing Director of IKAN, based in New Delhi; and Simon Johnston, managing director at ICON Relocation.Rohit Kumar explained how India, which is currently the sixth largest economy in the world, was forecast to become the third largest by 2030, and it was the second largest English-speaking country in the world, after the US. It had huge potential, but only five per cent of the population could speak English, and most Indians did not understand Western cultures.While the cost of housing was equivalent to the cost of renting a house in a European city, the housing stock was not comparable and would seem unfamiliar to a relocating ex-pat, he explained. Western assignees coming to India also struggled with India’s bureaucracy, legal system, low literacy rate and poor time management.Simon Johnston said Indian nationals coming to the UK tended to be skilled in the technology area and were often young and relocating at very short notice – “as little as three to five days’ notice”.“It is often their first relocation to the UK,” he explained. “They are tech people, so we need to reach them in a format that works best for them. There is a bigger duty of care and there is a shift in the level of support needed for this population. They are intelligent and talented people. They are keen to be here, and we want them to go back in a positive frame of mind. Our role is to support them in that and help them flourish.”Icon Relocation puts together a portfolio of properties for the company so that the assignee can move in straight away. In order to smooth the transition, all the facilities are connected and there is an Indian food pack to help them settle.“We want it to be a positive assignee experience,” he said. “When they go back, they should be saying to colleagues that they too should go to the UK.”Holly Creed explained that there had been a, “large shift in terms of talent” on a global scale, with Indian nations second only to Mexican nations as an incoming workforce in US states such as Texas.“It is important to make your leadership aware of the talent and realise that there are different challenges,” she said.“We need to learn how to deal with a culture that is different to ours,” she said. “They have different priorities when they are relocating and often the relocation package is not aligned to what the workforce wants in terms of relocation benefits. If we really want to manage this interesting workforce, we need to start adapting and thinking about how our policies are aligned to this.”It was important to realise that this group was not just like other millennial employees and that they needed more help in relocating.“If employers are not prepared to do this, they may struggle with retention,” she said.She said Indian nations were starting to ask for a more traditional ex-pat package, including education support and more “hand-holding”.“Many Western ex-pats have travelled extensively in their personal life,” she explained. “A lot of Indian assignees may never have left their own city before. They may need help to open a bank account, find schooling and a property, rather than just being given cash in hand.”Rohit Kumar said many Indian nationals experienced culture shock when they arrived in the UK.“Many have never left their home towns, never used a knife or fork, and don’t understand that parking in the wrong place can get you a £30 fine,” he said. Families may be confused about the process involved in finding a place at a state school in the UK. “In India, it is very difficult to get a place at an Indian school. Once you pull out of school in India, it is very difficult to get back in.”Holly questioned whether this might mean that if the assignment was for a short period, families with young children should consider the consequences carefully before relocating the whole family.

Festival Sponsors:

Festival of Global People sponsor the four seasons
Icon Relocation Festival Sponsor
NYC Navigator
ikan relocations
internations business solutions
Room Service by Cort

Festival Supporters:

Association of Relocation Professionals

Learn more about the 2019 Festival of Global People and the Relocate Awards

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