Published October 10, 2019

Let us talk about the Workplace X Summit 2019

On Thursday 3rd October 2019, the Inspired Workplace X Summit took place at Twickenham Stadium, London.
Workplace X Summit is an immersive business experience for high-level executives across four industries: Facilities Management, Learning and Development, Human Resources, and Corporate Real Estate.

Around 180 delegates attended Workplace X Summit 2019 to inspire new ideas, establish innovative solutions and make new connections across four industries associated with the workplace. The conference agenda included educational masterclasses for each industry track, while a programme of pre-qualified, one-to-one meetings gave executives an opportunity to discuss their challenges with vendors offering solutions and assistance with their latest projects.

Twickenham Stadium

“It has taken five years of research and development for us to reach this point where we are able to bring together senior workplace leaders responsible for their people and buildings,” Jason Awatar, Director at Inspired Business Media, explained. “Whether the discussions are about workplace wellbeing, culture or the digital workplace, we are proud to launch the Workplace X Summit and provide a platform for these industries to learn and collaborate.”

Twickenham Stadium is home to the England National Rugby Union team and is the largest stadium in the world dedicated to Rugby Union. This prestigious South West London venue is also a premium location for events, with 34 conference rooms and over 7,000sqm of exhibition space.

“We wanted to launch Workplace X at an iconic facility within the heart of the UK,” Jason said. “Twickenham Stadium is a prestigious, historic venue and it’s fantastic to be here at the time of the Rugby World Cup.”

George Chuter speaking at WorkplaceX

The Workplace X experience began the evening before the conference, with networking drinks and a luxury dinner in Twickenham’s Members Lounge. Floor-to-ceiling windows provided the invited executives with spectacular views of the pitch.

A welcome speech was given by English Rugby Union ex-player George Chuter. George shared a brief background to Twickenham Stadium with plenty of jokes, setting up a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for the evening.

Around 80 workplace leaders enjoyed a three-course meal and lively discussions with their peers before George Chuter took to the stage again, sharing memories from his rugby career and answering questions from guests. Networking continued into the evening over sociable drinks.  

Panel Discussion at Workplace X  Panel Discussion at Workplace X

The next morning, attendees gathered in the Churchill Suite for the Workplace X opening panel: ‘Wellbeing – Powering Human Experience in the Workplace’. The discussion was moderated by David McGoldrick, Chief People Officer at Comfort Keepers, with four panelists sharing their experiences and insights into the topic: Pauline Prow, HR Director at Hitachi Rail Europe; Sarah Sturton, Organisation Development Director at Nomad Foods; Leigh Fyffe, Head of Estates and Facilities Transformation at Royal London; and Paul Knowland, VP Real Estate Europe, Middle East and Africa at Shell International Ltd.

The panel discussed the transformation of human experience in the last five years and how it might continue to develop in the future. Topics included cultural transformation, the key challenges experienced by each panellist, and the role of technology in change.

“The panel discussion was excellent,” said Kate Blessing, Production Services Manager at Siemens Mobility. “Understanding workplace engagement and development from the point of view of a number of different industries, to compare and contrast, is a very powerful thing.”

LEO Learning at Workplace X   Fuel50 at Workplace X   Office Freedom at Workplace X

After a short networking break, three keynote sessions took place. Executives from Facilities Management and Corporate Real Estate came together to hear David Garson, Head of Enterprise EMEA at Office Freedom, share his insights into ‘The Evolution of the Flexible Workspace’. David discussed how the flexible workplace market has evolved into one of the fastest-growing phenomena in property.

Human Resources executives attended a keynote session on ‘Shaping the Talent Economy’. Led by Jessica Towicz, Career Solutions Consultant at Fuel50, the discussion focused on how employers can mobilise their employees with career pathing.

The Learning and Development keynote session was led by Sean Nugent, Senior Account Director, and Sophie Miller, Client Acquisition Director, at LEO Learning. Sean and Sophie discussed the link between employee experience and customer experience and shared how to create a digital learning culture within an organisation.

An informative programme of masterclasses followed throughout the day. The Workplace X format allowed attendees to focus on their own specific industry while also networking and sharing ideas with their peers in different departments. The four industry tracks were moderated by Trevor Chaplin, Director at Candour FM; Cathy Hayward, Director at Magenta Associates; David McGoldrick, Chief People Officer at Comfort Keepers; and Alistair Cumming, Head of Learning and Development at Lidl.

Kate Blessing at Workplace X  Louise Rouche at Workplace X  E.ON at Workplace X

Facilities Management and Corporate Real Estate executives were brought together for a masterclass on ‘Sustainable Success’. Led by Lynne Hall, Strategic Account Manager at E.On UK, this session suggested ways that organisations can cut energy costs, support zero-carbon commitments and improve comfort levels for employees.

The Facilities Management track also included a masterclass titled ‘A Sense of Place – How FM Can Support the Business with Culture and Engagement’. This session was led by Kate Blessing, Production Services Manager at Siemens Mobility, and showed the impact that good workplace design can have on engagement.

Corporate Real Estate delegates attended a discussion on ‘Virgin Media’s Real Estate Journey’ led by Louise Roche, Director of Property, Facilities and Fleet at Virgin Media.

Asif Iqbal at Workplace X  Honest Burgers Oli Cavaliero at Workplace X

Asif Iqbal, Vice President Human Resources at Gulf Oil International UK, delivered a Human Resources workshop on ‘Creating Sustainable Leadership Pipeline and Delivering an Accelerated Succession Planning Strategy’. Asif discussed how challenging traditional thinking around people development can transform internal career mobility, reduce recruitment costs and build a robust talent pool.

The Human Resources industry track also included a masterclass by Oli Cavaliero, Head of Talent Management at Honest Burgers. This insightful talk, ‘Hiring Ex-Convicts and How They Have Become Champions’, shared the challenges and success stories of the Honest Burgers partnership with Working Chance, a charity that supports women with convictions develop their employability.

Pinda Dhillon at Workplace X  Satnam Saggo at Workplace X

Learning and Development executives attended a discussion on ‘Bringing Design In-House, Designed with a Social Lens’. This workshop, hosted by Pinda Dhillon-Sehra, Head of Global L&D Academies and Design at Centrica, shared an insight into setting up an internal design team to create and curate modern learning.

Satnam Sagoo, Director of Learning at British Red Cross, also delivered an insightful workshop to the Learning and Development attendees on ‘Re-Thinking Learning’. This session discussed the ways British Red Cross has developed its L&D brand to communicate the value of development opportunities and empower learners.

The Workplace X Summit combined a professional environment with a lively, social atmosphere. After each masterclass session, a networking break took place in the Elgar Suite. Attendees enjoyed refreshments, engaged in conversation with their peers and viewed exciting expo stands from relevant vendors.

Meetings at Workplace X  Meetings at Workplace X

Pre-arranged meetings also took place during this time, giving senior executives an opportunity to discuss their latest projects with solution providers.

“The most valuable part of the day for me has been getting to meet people,” said CJ Uhure, Head of Property at The Rank Group. “Whether that might be people that I directly work with from a corporate real estate perspective or people that are outside my immediate niche, it’s been very useful. Some emails are already bouncing back and forth.”

Executives were interviewed prior to the event in order to identify and support their key challenges. This profiling helped to qualify the meetings, facilitating valuable discussions and creating meaningful business relationships with vendors able to address the needs of their business.

“We’ve made lots of contacts today,” said Christine Allison, Director at TLC. “The meetings have been brilliant. We’ve had appointments set up, everybody has exchanged cards and emails, so future business opportunities are looking very good.”

Lunch at Workplace X

Attendees enjoyed lunch at The Lock No. 4 before the afternoon programme continued with more thought-provoking masterclasses and one-to-one business meetings.

Cathy Hayward at Workplace X  Peter Clinker at Workplace X

The Facilities Management and Corporate Real Estate tracks were combined to hear Cathy Hayward of Magenta Associates deliver a masterclass titled ‘It’s Good to Talk’. Cathy discussed the ways that workplace and facilities professionals can communicate with their building occupiers in a more memorable and engaging way.

Peter Clinker, Head of Property and FM at Nestlé UK and Ireland also hosted an inspiring discussion for these industries on ‘Nestlé’s Approach to Going Circular’. This session explored the opportunities and challenges Nestlé has faced when tackling the issue of plastic packaging and moving to a circular economy.

Adam Mason at Workplace X  Phil Singleton at Workplace X

Adam Mason, Facilities Director at Pure Gym, and Matthew Mason-Hames, Change Planner and Workplace Wellbeing Consultant at Mindset, co-hosted a Facilities Management workshop on ‘Building in Welfare’, discussing ways to create a workplace that supports mental wellbeing.

An engaging session on ‘Corporate Real Estate as a Brand’ was delivered by Philip Singleton, Head of CRE Sourcing at Swiss RE, to the Corporate Real Estate attendees.

McCann London at Workplace X  Dina Alverez at Workplace X

Human Resources executives took part in a discussion on ‘Who Owns Culture?’. Led by Harriet Shurville, People Director at McCann London, and Julia Menninga, L&D Director at McCann Worldgroup EMEA, this masterclass delivered an educational exploration of culture.

Dina Alvarez, Head of Culture and Talent at Everis, shared her insights into diagnosing what employees want and driving organisations to the next level in a HR workshop, ‘How to Turn on the Magic for our People and Living It Through a Journey Map’.

Shootsta at Workplace X  Philip Duck at Workplace X  Chris Hallam at Workplace X

The Learning and Development programme included an interesting discussion on ‘The Evolution of Learning at GSK’. Hosted by Philip Duck, VP Global Learning Operations at GSK, this masterclass outlined the learning environment at GSK five years ago, the key changes that have been made, and GSK’s vision for the future.

Jan Barthelemy, GM Europe at Shootsta, also delivered an L&D masterclass titled ‘Empowering Storytellers and Content Creators from Within Your Organisation’. Jan discussed how video content production can transform the way employees communicate.

Human Resources and Learning and Development executives were brought together for a final masterclass of the day, ‘Human to Human Transformation’. Delivered by Chris Hallam, Transformation and Business Improvement Director at WBA Global Brands, this discussion shared an insight into the human processes that drive business transformation.

Inspired Business Media's Jason Awatar talks at Workplace X.

The Workplace X Summit ended with a closing summary delivered by Jason Awatar. A founding Director of Inspired Business Media, Jason suffered a stroke while speaking on stage at a conference in 2017. He discussed his experiences of stroke rehabilitation in an emotional closing speech, with all attendees leaving the conference feeling inspired on both a professional and personal level.

To follow Jason’s full journey, check out his YouTube and Instagram here.