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In March, GenCFO held its first live event in London this year: the Debate. What a night! The crowd, the speakers, the talk – it all exceeded expectations. 

One thing that stood out is how vibrant the Debate actually got, with passionate input from both the speakers and the audience. The topic of the night was ‘Change’, but that sharpened into a fascinating and important conversation about ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) values in finance. 

Mike gave an engaging explanation of problem solving, with a great analogy using Mother’s Day after a question from the crowd. Attendees loved this, with one stating their key takeaway was:

“The Mike Rose approach to the 5 different “stakeholders” to a problem.”

It isn’t just me and the crowd who enjoyed this discussion; hear it from the speakers themselves… I asked them for their three key takeaways from the night. These should give you an impression of the insights that were devised during the talk. 

Our speakers’ key takeaways

Chris Argent, Founder and Managing Director of GenCFO

“We need to consider more than tech when transforming”

“What we have to consider to make transformation successful is clearer than you think”

“Focusing on problems first followed by transforming components is a simple but powerful approach”

Mike Rose, Consultant at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

mike rose

“Transformation in Finance is not different to transformation / change anywhere – starting with a clear problem / issue that is within your control to fix is key.”

“ESG is an example of a pressing theme, but itself is not a problem that will drive change as it is not specific. We need to reduce our carbon emissions / plastic use IS a problem that can drive change.”

“In the future “customers” are likely to demand more environmentally neutral and ethical products and services, we are seeing this already and businesses need to anticipate this and react now.”

Sarah Whale, Founder of Profit Impact

sarah whale

“Business needs to understand the heart of the problem.”

Finance is changing; are business leaders and finance recruiters aware enough of what this means for finance roles.”

“Resource needs to be quickly diverted to training and upskilling finance teams”

Carolina M. Veira, Director of CareMax

caroloina m veira

“The Finance is role is becoming more holistic, where we can no longer stay behind our desks and spreadsheets. We need to truly roll up our sleeves and gain a better understanding of the operational roles within our companies to be better informed.”

“These new roles require an understanding of the ESG function and how this impacts the way we currently do business. We are required to incorporate this new gained knowledge into our decision making process, ensuring positive outcomes for our teams, firms and stakeholders.”

“Understand that ESG also requires a strategy where we define how we want to measure impact, establishing KPIs that are important to us and tell our story, but more than anything impact people and communities for the better.”

What did the attendees have to say?

All those who took the post-event survey said they would attend another GenCFO Live event, and all would attend another Debate.

“First event attended and really enjoyed it, thank you!”

It’s responses like this that make it all worthwhile!

The attendees also loved the panel, as you can see from this comment we received:

“Interesting panel. Great topics for discussion.”

I have to agree, the conversation was really insightful and I think we all came away with new perspectives on change, problem solving and ESG issues within finance. Thanks to our wonderful panel and community for making the Debate so great.

Where’s the Debate happening next?

 If you would like to attend our NEXT Debate in Leeds in July, just click the button below.

But I’m based in London!

Can’t make it up to Leeds? Don’t worry – London will be hosting the Debate in September. It’s never too early to secure your place! Register your interest below.