Consider this a call to arms or an acknowledgement that I can use all the help I can get but our team has begun turning its mind to the next Enterprise GC summit, the flagship in-house event from our parent company Legalease. It is, and has been, a group effort spanning teams across The Legal 500 and GC magazine, but this year a little more of the initial work on the conference agenda is falling to The In-House Lawyer and Legal Business editorial team than in the previous three years of the event and we do not want to let the side down.
My hope is that we build on a successful event because there is no point bothering with a two-day residential GC get-together if you do not put your shoulder to the wheel, given the number of such events these days.
So we are approaching our conference agenda with our normal priority of obsessing about the calibre of people involved first, second and foremost. We have been fortunate that a group of senior GCs have agreed to commit time to our advisory board. Among this group are Kate Cheetham (Lloyds Banking Group), Sabine Chalmers (BT), Sean Roberts (GSK), Richard Price (Anglo American), Charlotte Heiss (RSA), Catherine Johnson (London Stock Exchange), Jeremy Barton (KPMG), Philip Richards (Rio Tinto) and Rushad Abadan (Standard Life Aberdeen). After the first three weeks in the field, we have 11 group GCs of FTSE 100 companies on board as part of a 25-strong advisory group and we intend to rapidly expand that list.
While we are currently researching our agenda, we know there are some marks we definitely want to hit. One is to create a large enough programme over the two days to add in a mixture of granular explorations of topics alongside the broader examinations of the lot of the modern GC. The business world is drowning in Ted Talk utopianism – we like a little practical grit alongside our soaring rhetoric. Using a format that creates a large enough agenda should allow for multiple debates covering different aspects of big issues like talent, careers and technology – with a forensic approach.
As such we are looking to bring in interviews and case-study material ahead of the event next spring to inform the face-to-face discussion, as well as tying the event in with the lengthy research process for the annual GC Powerlist report. We are also looking at bringing in more material to appeal to GCs in defined industries. And, as you would expect from the Legalease team, we aim to celebrate the in-house community without lapsing into platitudes or avoiding discussion of the heavier burdens that come with enhanced status. Our hope is to retain the elements of what has been a successful event while allowing it to evolve. Over the months ahead we will be aiming to refine our ideas and sign up dozens more influential GCs with insights and stories to tell. If you are interested or have some thoughts on the direction we should go, feedback will be gratefully received on the email below.