Managers and Young Partners Meeting 2020

November 2020

The 2020 Russell Bedford Managers and Young Partners Meeting was held online on 23-24 November 2020. The two-day meeting, directed at managers, senior managers, associates and junior partners, was attended by more than 150 delegates, with representation from all regions.

The purpose of this meeting is to enable participants to develop their leadership, networking and relationship skills, and gain insights into cultures in different parts of the world, while familiarising themselves with the purpose and strategy of their international network.

Russell Bedford’s CEO, Stephen Hamlet, opened the meeting with a welcome and introductions. He praised the high level of engagement from members throughout the year, acknowledging that this year the network has reached more people within Russell Bedford’s member firms around the globe, as a result of devising a comprehensive schedule of online events.

Author, coach and director at leadership and training group, Kataholos, Michael Quigley joined to share important tools for consistently motivating yourself and your teams. Michael shared practical strategies such as identifying the issues that are most important to our delegates and then linking these to motivation, in order to help keeping on track, especially during difficult times.

Michael followed his session with a workshop on building communication skills to both understand and be understood, while sharing highly effective communication techniques.

Day one concluded with an open forum discussion led by Stephen Hamlet, allowing participants to share their thoughts about the past year, and their hopes and goals for 2021.

Stephen then opened day two of the meeting with a global update on the Russell Bedford network; delivering a roundup of what has been happening within the network throughout 2020, including a new professional development programme, a wide-ranging schedule of online events and shared the network’s impressive growth figures.

Corporate trainer, Angus Farr, from Training Counts led day two’s sessions, starting with “Getting more done in less time: personal effectiveness for successful accountants.” Opening his session, Angus warned against reliance on purely technical knowledge for career success since, as in all roles, being able to manage yourself, people and clients are crucial skills for managers who are eager to become successful future leaders.

Angus discussed the importance of good time planning, balanced with effective management of people, and improving efficiency, enhanced by appropriate delegation.

He also discussed the relationship between task importance and task urgency, and how managing interruptions and distractions can be the key to achieving important goals, completing critical activities, and ultimately reaching peak productivity or ‘flow’.

Delegates had the opportunity to put their learnings into practice while collaborating with each other in breakout rooms, sharing their own personal experiences while listening to tips from their peers. Many shared examples of their own challenges; for example, limiting time-consuming and inefficient meetings, as well as their own tips related to getting the most out of the working day.

The meeting concluded with a Happy Hour networking session led by Stephen Hamlet. As is typical of this more informal part of the meeting, we asked participants some lighter, fun questions.

When asked what their desert island item would be, unsurprisingly, 67% of participants said they couldn’t live without their phone.

If accounting hadn’t worked out for them as a career, 19% said they would have liked to have become a professional sports player and 18% would have liked to have been a chef, with several admitting their culinary skills had improved during lockdown.

And; given the choice of living anywhere in the world, 35% of participants would choose to live in Australia or New Zealand, with 2% looking to escape completely, expressing interest in spending time on another planet!

Luis Guerra, delegate from Russell Bedford Mexico, said: “It’s been really great meeting everyone and putting faces to the names. Although the meetings are still having to be conducted virtually, the interaction is extremely valuable; these opportunities create more confidence in gaining new business in the future.”

Russell Bedford CEO, Stephen Hamlet, said: “It’s been yet another great opportunity for connection and learning at this year’s Managers and Young Partners Meeting. I have to say the calibre and variety of our event programmes this year have been second to none; and it has been fantastic seeing so many people from our firms all over the world. I always come away with something new to muse over from one of our speakers, or a new way of addressing challenges from discussions with our members.”

He added: “We’re all looking forward to getting back to our typical schedule of physical events. However, we have learned that there is an immense desire for a level of consistent connection, which we have achieved through our online schedule this year; and will therefore be assessing how to best integrate such online experiences with our physical events, as we plan for the future.”

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