5 take-home messages from our UK & Ireland Conference
It’s always difficult to capture the buzz and atmosphere of a conference in a post-event write up, especially for our first full UK & Ireland conference since the pandemic where we welcomed 180 professionals from across the meat industry to the stunning NatWest HQ in Bishopsgate, London. The day was packed with content, networking and some truly inspirational speakers, so we chatted to delegates to get their highlights and their top five key take home messages.
Read the highlights below…
1. Network, network, network!
It’s not a surprise that this is the top of our list! As our industry gender balance report showed, women don’t always prioritise networking and can see it as a ‘nice to do’, rather than an essential skill to help progress their careers. At MBW, we promote the power of networking as much as possible as we see how far it can take women on their career journeys. It was fantastic to see the MBW community making the most of their day, forging new connections, meeting their mentors and mentees and sharing ideas. One attendee posted “It lived up to my high expectations (after previous great events they’ve done) and delivered… brilliant networking opportunities. So many awesome women doing awesome varied roles in an awesome meat industry.”
2. Embrace empowerment
How to embrace empowerment really was a key thread throughout the speakers sessions, panel discussion and our workshops. We wanted all delegates to leave the conference feeling empowered and inspired to break down barriers that may hold them back. As Carol told delegates in her workshop ‘Outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens!” One delegate posted “What a great day!… Another inspiring, powerful and successful event. I always come away feeling so empowered and energised!”
3. Be inspired
It can be all too easy to get stuck in the day-to-day routine of work, but making time to step back, from your work, listen to and connect with some of the incredible women working in the industry can be the motivation boost you didn’t know you needed! Stephanie O’Callaghan, BordBia/McDonald’s said “The speakers have all been so inspirational. Their stories, talking about challenge, especially during the last couple of year resonated a lot with everyone in the room.”
4. Industry insights
Our keynote speakers gave their insights into the changes affecting the meat industry. Delegates heard from Minette Batters, NFU President, who spoke about the UK’s future relationship with Europe and the rest of the world including learnings from Australia and New Zealand in new markets. Minette also spoke about the launch of the export strategy and alongside it, the importance of collaboration and the future ambitions of the food industry.
Minette was followed by Beth Hart, Vice President Supply Chain and Brand Trust at McDonald’s who gave her perspective on the importance of supply chain within the three ‘legged stool’ or three pillars of McDonald’s, the franchisees, suppliers and the company. Karen O’Connor, Category Director of Meat Fish and Poultry at Sainsbury’s covered consumer trends post-covid, the affect of inflation on disposable income and her predictions for the category in the next few years.
5. Be resilient
Another key topic of conversation throughout the day was resilience. Karen O’Connor talked about the importance of self belief and resilience and central to getting to a place of self-belief and resilience is finding people who can act as advocates for you that and people that you can advocate for. ‘There’s so much power in female advocacy and lifting people up.” One delegate tweeted “Final speaker of the morning Karen O’Connor providing some really strong sentiments of self-belief and resilience to get through challenging times.”
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