The twenty-first in the series of PM+M’s ‘Navigating the Now and Next’ virtual panel events took place on Thursday 23 February, facilitating discussion between a panel of speakers on the current challenges faced by businesses and highlighting support, guidance, and best practice to navigate these going forward.
Hosted by our very own Neil Welsh, with digital hosting managed by our friends at The Landmark in Burnley, we welcomed panellists:
Dan Knowles (Digital & Ecosystem Builder)
Katy Parkinson (Harrison Drury)
Rae Brook (Community Foundation Lancashire)
Marc Pugh (The Foodie Footballer)
Following the opening introduction and welcome from Neil Welsh (PM+M), Dan Knowles (Digital & Ecosystem Builder) kicked off proceedings by discussing what an ecosystem was and how they are built. He explained digital ecosystems are about bringing people together who are working in tech to look at ways they can collaborate to drive innovation and promote growth.
Dan went on to discuss Lancashire as a climate for a tech business to start, grow and flourish. He said he has found that since the pandemic there has been a levelling out of opportunities in tech but he is now seeing more spaces being created where start up businesses can meet with like-minded people, which is great. Dan highlighted some of the incredible support available across county and that there is access to huge amounts of knowledge.
Focusing on the most important things needed to bring together a digital ecosystem, Dan stated having a community of tech people who have a real desire to collaborate and grow is absolutely key. He discussed that you also need spaces such as The Landmark and Society1 to be there and act as magnets for people to come together and share, he says this will drive the excitement forward in the region and encourage further growth.
Katy Parkinson (Harrison Drury) was up next and discussed some of the main HR issues she is seeing at the moment. She has seen an increase in complaints around difficult behaviours from employees and how businesses can look to solve these issues, a continuing candidate driven market when it comes to recruitment and issues with retaining staff. Katy outlined that although there hasn’t been as many redundancies as they were maybe expecting, she thinks the planned increase in national minimum wage and other factors mean this could be something they are dealing with more over the coming months.
Also touched on, was the ongoing issues around mental health and an increasing number of managers also struggling in this area. Katy explained that conversations are key, having conversations early and training leaders on how to deal with issues can go a long way.
Next up, Rae Brook (Community Foundation Lancashire) outlined what Community Foundation Lancashire (CFL) is and the work they do. She explained they are part of a national network and in essence, are focused on local giving for local good and about building strong communities.
Rae then shared the focus of CFL moving forward, explaining how the cost-of-living crisis is impacting many charities and small community groups, so they are focusing on looking at those groups that we cannot afford to lose and educating the funders who make the projects possible.
Mental health was also mentioned by Rae and how they must work closely with the funders who support projects in this area to make sure those who need the help most are getting it. In terms of what is next for CFL, she explained it’s not always possible to predict, for example many would not have expected the challenges we have had over the last few years. However, one area of focus will be looking to educate funders to be more strategic about their charitable giving and the importance of this.
Our final panellist, Marc Pugh (The Foodie Footballer) told the group about his background in professional football, his highs and lows, and how he came to be so interested in nutrition and the impact it can have on health.
Marc discussed how nutrition is so relevant for the corporate world and not just in sport as it allows you to get the best out of teams and employees. Covering topics such as brain fog, sugar intake, processed foods, healthy fats and vegetarian diets, he explained the huge difference some of these things can make to a person’s health and performance both in and out of work.
Marc finally touched on mental resilience and how he coped with his many footballing setbacks, he talked about how affirmations are important to him and how he finds it useful to put perspective on things to help with mental resilience. He emphasised that this can be particularly hard, especially with the younger generation and the use of social media.
Neil brought the panel discussion to a close and thanked all for attending and The Landmark for hosting.
If anyone would like to be introduced to members of the panel or audience, included in the invite for the next event or wish to speak to one of the PM+M team about our services, please get in touch with Neil Welsh via the button below.