Russell Bedford Asia-Pacific Meeting 2023

July 2023

The 2023 Russell Bedford Asia-Pacific Conference was held on Thursday 13 and Friday 14 July in Brisbane, Australia. Demonstrating the growth of engagement and connections among members in Asia and Australia, the network welcomed delegates from 17 firms, across 20 cities and 12 countries.

Following a networking lunch, the meeting officially began with a welcome to Brisbane from James Whitelaw, partner of host firm, HMW Group.

A global update by Russell Bedford’s CEO, Stephen Hamlet, followed; where Stephen shared some key updates in relation to developments within the network, current priorities and strategies for future advancement and progression.  

Next, Global Chair, Daniel Ryba, ran an ice breaker session which enabled delegates to become more comfortable with engaging with their counterparts and allowed attendees to get to know each other better in a relaxed environment.

Delegates broke for a coffee and networking break where they had an opportunity to discuss the day’s proceedings.

For the final session of the day, Grant Williams, partner at Brisbane member and host firm for the meeting, HMW Group, led a business development discussion on maximising inward and outward referrals. The session resulted in an excellent debate on best practices for business growth via referrals, with delegates bringing some brilliant ideas to the table.

Delegates dispersed for some downtime following the close of the daytime programme, before later meeting in the hotel lobby to take a leisurely walk together to the OPA Bar & Mezze Restaurant, an atmospheric riverside Greek restaurant, where delegates enjoyed drinks and dinner together along with some great conversations with colleagues, among the spectacular surroundings of a warm Brisbane evening.

Day two of the Asia-Pacific Meeting opened with pre-conference networking, with the first session of the day, hosted by Stephen Hamlet involving practice and regional update interviews.

During this new addition to the Asia-Pacific Meeting programme, each practice was interviewed by CEO Stephen Hamlet on developments both within their firms and regions. During the interviews, delegates shared updates on their general local economic background, broad financial performance of their firms, staffing issues and incentives and major developments in the profession in their countries, among others.

Mid-session, delegates broke for a networking break, allowing for more in-depth discussions on the morning’s proceedings.

Following the break, delegates returned for the second session of interviews leading to very interesting and informative updates from those present.

CEO at Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA), Anthony Ryan, joined next to deliver a presentation on leadership. Anthony offered delegates some excellent advice and leadership guidance, based on his experience of delivering strategic business outcomes and strong partnerships, while leading BEDA to drive sustainable economic growth for the city of Brisbane.

Delegates then broke for a networking lunch where they continued their discussions while strengthening connections with their regional colleagues.

After lunch, the final practice and regional update interviews took place allowing for updates from all member firms present.

Attracting and retaining talent in 2023 was up next, a highly topically and important discussion led by partner of the network’s Singapore member firm, Eugene Yio. Delegates voiced their concerns in relation to this ongoing challenge, although some original and thoughtful suggestions were raised throughout the discussion, leading to some excellent key takeaways for delegates.

A final networking break followed, before the closing session of the day, a discussion led by partner of Adelaide member and board member for the Asia-Pacific region, Michael Sweeney, on Succession planning: challenges arising when preparing your practice for its next chapter.

Following the close of the daytime sessions, delegates had some free time before meeting later in the evening in the hotel lobby for a walk to Stanley Restaurant, a stunning riverside Cantonese and Chinese restaurant where delegates could sit back, relax and enjoy dinner and drinks amongst Queensland’s wonderful hospitality. A fabulous evening was enjoyed by all.

A huge thanks to our host, Brisbane member firm, HMW Group who did an incredible job at making everyone feel so welcome and supporting the delivery of what was a highly successful event. Thanks also to all of those who participated in making this such an impactful meeting, without whom the meeting could never be such a success.

Speaking about the meeting, Russell Bedford’s CEO Stephen Hamlet said: “I am struck by the quality and engagement I’ve seen at this year’s Asia-Pacific Meeting. A region diverse in culture and bursting with ideas, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing directly from our member firms during our new programme format, which meant I had the pleasure of interviewing colleagues from each of our practices.

He added: “It’s clear that Russell Bedford member firms in the region are well aligned in terms of their ambitious growth and development goals. There were some excellent ideas raised with plenty of healthy debate throughout. A stimulating and thought-provoking meeting that certainly left me with a lot to reflect on post meeting. A delight to be involved.”

Russell Bedford’s Global Chair, Daniel Ryba said: “This was my first Asia-Pacific Meeting and it certainly did not let down. A well-organised, eagerly attended meeting with some excellent discussion, I have been so impressed by our member firms in the region who have demonstrated themselves as eager and powerful ambassadors of the Russell Bedford brand in Asia-Pacific.”

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