A reflection of my first SD Worx European Conference

2 March 2018



SD Worx recently hosted its annual European Conference at the Park Lane Hilton in London. For me, this was my first experience of an SD Worx conference.

I’ve attended conferences before and have seen the usual early morning faces of colleagues who’ve spent countless hours organising, constructing and preparing for a day like this. I walked into the Park Lane Hilton at 7.30am, and was amazed to hear and feel an instant buzz of excitement and confidence, one which lasted until I left 12 hours later.

The theme was collaboration; a topic which I hold close to my heart both from a professional and personal standpoint. I strive as hard as possible to get my colleagues working together as I do with my own family.

The panel discussion

Once introductions were out of the way, we were treated to a six-person panel discussion of ‘The Future of Collaboration’. Our host, Naga Munchetty, did an incredible job of steering conversation and, for me, this panel offered so much valuable insights into what C-level executives feel the future of collaboration looks like. I was particularly impressed by the contributions of SAP’s VP, Marc Teerlink and BT’s Global Services Director, Dr. Nicola Millard.

They offered two key and salient points; Marc spoke about collaboration being driven top down and that those in positions of leadership should absolutely live the life of their employees. Nicola spoke about AI and how there is fear around collaborating with technology; she believed that Artificial Intelligence should be known as Augmented Intelligence. She likened this to ‘creating Iron Man suits as opposed to creating Terminators’. As a geek, this was a fantastic analogy and one I saw a huge volume of tweets about during the talk.

Baroness Tanni-Grey Thompson

We also had the privilege of listening to Baroness Tanni-Grey Thompson. She spoke about her journey from a wheelchair-bound youngster to a Paralympic gold medallist. What struck me the most was how grounded she remained. You’d think that a multi-medal winning athlete and a member of the House of Lords would have some semblance of an ego but this was not the case. We got to hear brilliant anecdotes about the carpets in the House of Lords, her pre-race rituals (not for the faint- hearted!) and her everlasting desire to beat her husband round a track. It was a pleasure listening to her speak and a real coup to have her at the European Conference!

The buzz continued into our lunch and networking sessions, where I got the chance to speak to delegates. I watched in amazement as our incredible Tech Café team took interested delegates through our technology suite and we got to show off Trustworx, our online community for customers and colleagues.

The sessions...

The afternoon sessions saw the guru that is Simon Parsons talk about legislation changes within the new tax year, a session attended by over 400 people. This was followed by a mind-blowing product session from Rick Norgate, Head of Solutions & Sales and Mel Goddard, our Chief Product Officer. There were demonstrations of a gorgeous upcoming Payroll UI as well as superb voice integration demonstrations. There was huge value on offer for one of my guests, who grabbed me as we were walking out the door to ensure they get more detail as soon as possible!

There was also our multi-generational panel, which drew some huge numbers and has been the topic of conversation since the conference. Five generations of workforce from the 65+ Traditionalist to our youngest panellist, 15-year-old Pippa Campbell, representing the iGen. There were some poignant conversations, which are still being mentioned today and I was just disappointed I couldn’t attend both!

Award-winning colleagues and customers

At the end of the day, we rewarded our customers, which is something I feel is truly unique, a real reflection of our culture to put our customers in the centre of what we do and appreciation of our lifeblood. PAREXEL and Odeon took our International and UK & Ireland Customer of the Year awards respectively, with Fidelity winning the award for International Project of the Year. For our INSPIRE Award, we recognised both Sharon Reid and Jane Clark, who go above and beyond for our customers.

For me, the day was full of firsts and one that cemented my belief that SD Worx is a truly unique and brilliant organisation to work for. There is a huge drive to be inclusive and to ensure we’re listening as much as we are educating. Our culture and values are evident throughout our organisation and the European Conference is a place where it naturally magnifies itself. I feel proud, I feel humbled and I feel excited. Here’s to many more!

View some of the Conference’s top highlights

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