10 August 2022
10 August 2022
Reconnecting In-Person for Stronger Outcomes
Our CEO Lindsay Urquhart dicusses the importance of meeting face-to-face post-pandemic at our AGM.
We recently held our first in-person Annual General Meeting since the pandemic began. The last time myself and the global Managing Directors of Bespoke Careers were in the same room was in May 2019 – it seemed like an age.
The AGM has always been an integral part of our business. Held annually just before the end of the financial year, the conference is our opportunity as business leaders to come together and workshop the year ahead.
Over the course of four days, we review everything from our financials to our marketing activity, our HR policies and IT status, and importantly, from a company culture perspective, our staff satisfaction results which we have been measuring via an anonymous survey for the past 10 years.
From a personal perspective, I felt a little apprehensive in the days leading up to this year’s meeting. Would the last 2+ years of isolation and online meetings have eroded the camaraderie we had always enjoyed as a group? How would we feel all being together? New external advisors would be joining us, many of whom our leaders had only ever met on screen, would they all click in person? In addition, three of the five MDs would be arriving on long-haul flights into Sydney and likely to be jet-lagged for most of the proceedings – tricky at the best of times.
"For me, there was a sense that we had been through battle together, we'd supported each other through some difficult times, and we had come through the other side stronger"
Thankfully, any concerns I had were allayed the moment the team arrived. Despite it having been almost three years since we were last together, we somehow felt closer. For me, there was a sense that we had been through battle together, we’d supported each other through some difficult times, and we had come through the other side stronger.
In true Bespoke style we threw ourselves into the densely packed agenda. Our non-executive director, Greg Savage, and external consultants in finance, HR and marketing, joined us at various stages of the conference.
Sitting around the board table discussing, debating, workshopping and planning, was invigorating and inspiring for all of us. The energy in the room was lightyears from the 2021 AGM, which we had no alternative but to hold online. By the end of the week, we had a clear road map for the year ahead and felt revitalised by the process we’d gone through to get there.
Reflecting on the week I concluded that the strength of our historic relationships and our regular schedule of weekly Teams meetings of the last two and a half years had sustained us. As a result, our coming together in person felt natural and our relationships weren’t only intact, they were deeper.
"Meeting face to face doesn't just benefit our leaders, it works for everyone"
This experience has reaffirmed my belief in the importance of coming together in person; the opportunity it provides to reinforce the bonds between people cannot be understated. In our business, meeting face to face doesn’t just benefit our leaders, it works for everyone including our consultants and our clients.
I know this is a lesson our MDs took away from the AGM as well, one they will bring back to their teams, and that gives me great confidence.
Author: Lindsay Urquhart, CEO, Bespoke Careers