The slogan for the Employee Ownership Association Conference was
“Be Involved, Be Informed, Be Inspired”
This is indeed what a party of 10 members of staff from Middleton Hall achieved. Over 700 delegates met as part of the growing EO community. We counted up how many individual people we talked to; between us the total was about 350! That is 350 people at different stages of their EO ‘journey’ who shared their experience of “thinking about”, “just become recently” or “established” as employee owned organisations.
As well as making the all important personal connections, we attended all the keynote speakers’ presentations. These included Andy Street (Mayor of the West Midlands and previously Managing Director of John Lewis and Partners), Deb Oxley (CEO of EOA), Chris McDermott (Managing Director of Cambridge Weight Plan) and Alastair Sawday (Founder of Sawday’s Canopy and Stars). The whole event was compered by Martine Croxall, BBC News TV presenter.
The 10 staff, who work in various mixed roles and are in the project team that is preparing for the move to EO, split up to ensure they attended almost all of the 22 smaller and more specialist seminars and workshops. Participation was encouraged so that, again, the benefit of people’s experience was well communicated. Session titles included “We are employee owned. Now what?”, “I am an employee owner, what does it mean?” and “Are we ready for EO?”
The event was held over two days, with a gala dinner and awards ceremony on the evening of the first day. This was an opportunity to relax a little after a pretty full on day.
The whole event has given the team much to reflect on. It is clear that Middleton Hall is well prepared with four months to go before the transition. Minds are turning towards the detail of the final steps and then the post-transition period. There is exciting work to be done!