You could have heard a pin drop during Monica Lewinsky’s afternoon keynote at Wednesday’s Talent Summit in Dublin, but hers was just one of many compelling presentations in what was a really engaging event. Organiser Sigmar Recruitment and sponsor EY deserve hearty congratulations.
The all-day conference in Dublin’s Convention Centre featured a varied programme of speakers who addressed a packed audience keen to hear insights into how companies can identify and nurture talent.
I had the pleasure of accompanying keynote speaker Margaret Heffernan, author and CEO and one of our most popular keynote and business speakers. Margaret took the stage at 12 noon to a full room of senior executives interested in talent retention, engagement and how to lead in a time of constant change.
Making the Workplace More Human
Margaret’s take-no-prisoners, straight-talking style and evidence-based insights struck a chord with everyone I spoke to.
Passionate about human capital and how we need to nurture it, Margaret believes that all organisations – irrespective of size – need to be building the kinds of teams where it is safe to have frank and open conflict. Change really happens only when there is room made for tough conversations, and Margaret’s examples certainly backed this up. Hers was a really compelling and popular talk, and the audience loved it.
One of my bugbears with event organisers is that at times they don’t think enough about flow: how energy levels, tone and content combine to maximum effect.
Happily, Sigmar had not made this mistake, and the result was a full yet energising day with engaging panel discussions slotted seamlessly between fascinating and, most importantly, relevant keynotes whose content flowed and connected.
I enjoyed hearing from Robert Gibbs, Chief Human Capital Officer with NASA. (I do love that job title). My biggest take-away from his talk was that at NASA they actually reward mistakes. People share their mistakes so they can learn from them in order to improve.
Again, this linked in with Margaret’s talk, in which she highlighted how few good ideas come from successes; in fact, mostly, the best ones come from mistakes.
For Positive Change, Change Your Perspective
Neil Gibson, Chief Economist from sponsor EY, gave a very thought-provoking, intelligent and humourous keynote on the economy and the future impact on human capital.
The big take-home for me was that unless we try to understand those who think differently to us (e.g Brexiteers v Remainers), we won’t be able to effect change or work together to create better change that works for everyone.
Listen to those Conversations
Unfortunately I did not see Ian McClean from the Flow Group but I did hear from others that his presentation – about how every conversation matters – was great.
The Power of Empathy
And then came the final keynote from Keynote Monica Lewinsky. A complete hush descended on the room as she talked passionately and elequently about cyber abuse and its serious, sometimes deadly implications.
She counts herself lucky that her parents knew what she was going through after the Clinton Affair just as the whole world knew what was happening, but she said that for other innocent people who experience cyber abuse every day, often no-one knows.
Clicking as a Moral Act
Speaking with passion and compassion about how public humiliation has become an industry, Lewinsky argued that today ” Clicking is a moral act,” and posed the question “are we aware we are public shaming when we click on some gossip or shaming stories”? T
Throughout her talk, she highlighted the importance of fostering and showing empathy, maintaining that “Shame cannot survive empathy”.
Lewinsky made a big impact, and I think one of her closing comments will stay with me for a while: “There is power in small numbers when there is consistency over time”. Such statements certainly get you thinking and believing that even on your own, you can make a difference.
Congratulations and thanks to EY and to Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig and Adrian McGennis of Sigmar Recruitment on putting on a really great event. Already looking forward to next year!