A Blog series by Elise Misse

Blog #19

10 reasons to attend the LEAD Network Virtual Conference 2021

We’re living in a brave new world following the events of the last 18 months, but some degree of normality is steadily returning. Many of us are making plans to return to the workplace in some capacity. Whether that’s staggering time between home and the office or finding a new solution, our relationship with work will likely shift once more.

One thing is sure – we need to start planning for the future, even if it feels uncertain right now. With this in mind, I am personally hugely excited about the LEAD Network Virtual Conference. While I will undeniably miss some of the face-to-face contact with the inspiring men and women that make up the LEAD Network, the online conference and discussion are still sure to be a highlight of 2021.

Are you considering joining the conference too?

Here are ten reasons why you should…

Networking and the building of relationships are critical in business. Naturally, while face-to-face events have been on hiatus and most of us have been working from home, this has been problematic. The LEAD Network Conference may be virtual – we’re not quite ready for large-scale, “in-person” events just yet – but it’s still a chance to connect with inspirational and interesting figures from across our industry.

Inspirational Speakers
Arguably the greatest thing about the LEAD Network is the men and women that make up the membership. Several of these will speak at the event. The keynote speakers include Leena Nair, Unilever’s youngest ever Chief Human Resource Officer and the first Asian employee to hold such a title, and Sally Bucknell, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Ernst & Young, inspiring change agent and flexible working advocate.

Insights into the New Normal from Industry Leaders
It’s hardly a secret that the New Normal will look slightly different from what has come before. With so many senior leaders from across the world forming membership of the LEAD Network, the conference will provide industry insights into what we can expect going forward.

Frontline Experience from the Pandemic
Many of us have been working from the relative safety of our own homes during the pandemic. This has not been the case for everybody, though. In addition to the emergency services, employees of the retail and manufacturing industries have been facing this crisis head-on. Frontline workers will share their experiences at the LEAD Network Conference, imparting lessons learned while providing their services amidst the eye of the storm.

Discussions about Resilience
I’ve mentioned a handful of times just how challenging the last 18 months have been for so many of us. Thankfully, people are resilient – but we must not neglect critical self-care. The LEAD Network Conference will include discussions on resilience, and how there is more to this trait than simply gritting our teeth and ploughing on in the face of adversity.

New Era, Similar Concerns
Many people hope for a return to “normality” after 18 months of struggle. For the LEAD Network, the aim is to use this time away to create a better workplace. Active deliberations surrounding diversity and inclusion have not been forgotten or abandoned during the pandemic. Panels at the conference will discuss further actions to achieve genuine equality.

Replenishing Energies
For many people, working during the pandemic has felt monotonous and exhausting. The LEAD Network Conference offers energiser sessions and learnings that could be carried over into our everyday working routines, staving off unwelcome fatigue in the mind and body.

Awards Ceremony
We could all do with some good news and a reason to cheer after recent events. The annual LEAD Network Awards provides the opportunity to raise a glass and celebrate the achievements of partners and volunteers of the network that have continued to make a difference in trying times.

Career Advice and Support
There is nothing quite like a global crisis to inspire people to take stock of their lives. Many people may be considering a change in career following the pandemic, looking for a new work-life balance that better suits their needs. The LEAD Network Conference is the ideal opportunity to explore and discuss this option.

Finally, let’s take this full circle. We have all felt pretty divided from our colleagues and counterparts throughout 2020 and 2021. The LEAD Network Conference offers a welcome opportunity to reconnect with those that inspire, entertain and unite us.


Key Take Homes

  • After a prolonged period of isolation, it’s crucial that we get back out there and network – even if, for now, it’s still from the security of our own homes.
  • The world may have changed, but we will bounce back – it’s what humans do. The LEAD Network will do all we can to ensure that the New Normal is a better, more inclusive environment than what came before.
  • Everybody has had a unique experience during the pandemic and associated lockdowns. The LEAD Network Conference will share some of these perspectives and build a culture of empathy.

LEAD Network Virtual Conference 2021
October 6-7! 

The conference is a unique immersive experience where delegates – including CEOs of some of Europe’s largest companies –connect for two days of networking, inspiration, learning, discussions, and best practice sharing, to drive action as an industry to create more gender-equal workplaces.

Our theme for this year is Doing not Trying: It Starts with One. We believe that every one of us must play an active role in driving change, and every action counts. Whether you are a business leader trying to create a more inclusive organisation, a D&I professional seeking to learn from your peers, or a leader looking for ways to grow, this event will provide you with the inspiration, ideas, and connections to do so.

About LEAD Network Europe

The LEAD Network Europe is a non-profit and volunteer-led organisation whose mission is to attract, retain, and advance women in the consumer products and retail sector in Europe through education, leadership, and business development. The LEAD Network is run by and for its members, women and men, and we value every individual for their unique perspective. With a primary focus on promoting gender equality the organisation strives for the advancement of women of every race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, educational background, national origin, religion, physical ability and lifestyle. Its vision is of a fair, diverse and vibrant industry where everyone can thrive. A diverse workforce where both men and women are enabled to contribute their full potential and lead their organisations to the next level of value creation. LEAD Network accounts for 18,000+ members – both women and men – from 81 countries.

For more information, please visit www.lead-eu.net