It was a glorious morning on the inaugural day of the regional ENRG summits (8th November) when several enthusiastic participants eagerly made their way to the grand NBC Central Headquarters at London Office, to attend one of the most impactful employee resource group summits of the year.
Some woke up quite early in the morning in order to make a 2-3-hour-long journey to reach the venue on time. What awaited these participants however, made every bit of the long & tiring commute, worth it. An action packed event exuding high levels of energy and loaded with buckets full of inspiration, is how I would describe the ENRG Summit.
The ENRG summits are the brainchild of Cherron Inko-Tariah MBE who is also the managing director of The Power of Staff Networks and the founder of the National Day for Staff Networks. Working with talented and experienced speakers, Cherron pulled them together with the sole purpose of creating an event that will (as mentioned in their website):
Help create/strengthen local 'networks of networks' so that network members can share information, collaborate, innovate and encourage each other;
Partner with local organisations to better understand what opportunities exist for networks to thrive locally;
Participants belonged to various companies including News UK, Harper Collins, Essex Partnership NHS, Surrey Police, Great Ormond Street NHS, Southend Borough Council. Portsmouth Uni, Ministry of Justice, Greater London Authority, Bank of England, Deloitte, Royal College of Nursing, East London Foundation Trust, Dept. for Transport & Barts Health. Some of them came looking for ideas to revitalize their existing networks, some were just starting their journey while there were others who merely wished to add more value to their long running networks. Whatever the stage of network they were in, all participants were eager to learn something new and the event did not disappoint one bit. The entire morning was packed with valuable advice and actionable strategies that could be implemented right away.
The conference started off with a meet and greet accompanied by a sumptuous breakfast. The summit was then kicked off by the bold and dynamic Cherron- Inko-Tariah MBE. The first speaker of the conference was Steven McGunigel – the Employee Experience Director for NBC Universal, overseeing a portfolio including Employee Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion, Wellbeing and CSR for the company’s international operations.
In addition he is the co-chair of OUT@NBCUniversal London, the LGBT+ and Straight Ally Alliance and one of the oldest employee networks whose mission is to attract, retain and develop LGBT+ and Straight Ally employees and help the businesses effectively reach their community. He also works with NBCU’s Women’s Network and International Cultural Awareness Network to ensure every employee can bring their whole self to work.
Steven shared important and interesting examples of the work done by the various Networks at NBC. The activity he did with all the participants on the 4C model was a thought provoking one. The 4Cs included Commerce, Careers, Community and Culture and in each of the C’s he included activities done/ actions taken by the networks at NBC around consumer insight, market penetration, professional development, talent engine, community, collaborations, systems and affinity impact. The activity provoked several new ideas. Katie, Chair of NBC Universal women’s network also shared some key learning points from her own experience.
The next speaker was the very inspirational powerhouse- Vanessa Valley OBE who is one of the UK’s most well-networked women and has provided keynotes on a variety of career related topics for over 500 companies worldwide.
Vanessa is also one of the UK’s most prominent figures in gender equality and often provides guidance and consultancy to both government and corporate organizations who are seeking to attract, develop and retain their female talent
Vanessa amazed us with her riveting story of starting a network from scratch and not knowing what and how to proceed to now leading one of the most well respected gender network in London. She focused on the importance of starting small, being consistent and making sure you are clear across everything you set out to achieve. She also talked how important it to be able throw a problem at the network and how crucial it is for the network to be a solution finder. She asked participants to treat networks as a business within the business. Through her example, she proved that networks should not be limited by any preconceived notions of what they should and should not be doing and encourage gender neutral activities which elicited support from both men and women.
Next up was Rob Neil OBE - Rob is the lead of Project Race at the Ministry of Justice – an inward facing programme of work aimed at supporting the MoJ’s published Diversity & Inclusion objectives and turning the dial on race equality.
Robs presentation was amazingly informative and infused with a lot of energy and witty humor. He talked about game changing principles for staff networks including data and its ability to measure, governance that included strategies and systems supporting the network and policies- he also talked about how policies need to have color in them and the importance of rewiring the system to rewiring the behavior. Other principals included accountability (by whom, to whom and for whom), investment and scrutiny. ‘Sometimes one can lead by simply asking the right questions!’ he quoted.
All in all the summit was a resounding success and very well executed. From the choice of speakers to the venue, from activities to refreshments, everything was planned meticulously. The networking opportunity was exemplary and Cherron led the event, by example.
The feedback was fantastic with participants calling the summit thought provoking, brilliant, empowering and inspirational. The participants made their way back, looking energized, taking to work countless lessons of a spectacular event that they will fondly remember in days to come.
To find out more about the ENRG summits, visit the website
Hira Ali is the Chief Executive Officer Advancing Your Potential & Revitalize and Rise and the Founder of The Career Exceler For Trailblazing Women
She is an Executive Career Coach, Leadership Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Author, Podcaster, & NLP Practitioner. She tweets @advancingyou and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Or via her Twitter, LinkedIn, Insta or Facebook profiles