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Client Success Story: Macquarie

Conference Facilitation for an Australian Financial Services Leader

The Macquarie Group is headquartered in Sydney, Australia and is a leading provider of diversified banking, financial, advisory and investment services. Macquarie Adviser Services (MAS), a division within the financial services group of Macquarie, manages relationships with external financial advisors and other intermediaries.

MAS runs an annual conference in November each year for its 300 employees. The conference is a two-day event on a Friday/Saturday with overnight accommodation. The goal of the event is to celebrate success, meet colleagues, hear from management firsthand, and generally have a great time! For the 2007 conference, MAS sought the assistance of a professional facilitation organization and distributed a detailed brief to multiple facilitation organizations.

“We needed someone to take our staff on a journey, with both a personal and business focus,” explained Helen Kalokerinos, the senior marketing manager at MAS. “We chose Leadership Strategies as they had the right personality for the conference: fun, intelligent and challenging! We also needed someone with experience in dealing with large conferences. Not to mention their fantastic energy!”

The conference had several working parts and involved numerous players. Planning was done over an extended period to prepare for flawless execution.

Helen explained, “The greatest benefit we found in working with Leadership Strategies was their commitment to meeting and exceeding the requirements of a continuously evolving brief. They literally raised the bar! We met weekly over seven months to define and develop the agenda for the conference. Our theme was ‘It’s About Me!’ and Leadership Strategies was integral in offering activities that would challenge everyone from a personal and business perspective, and yet also have that sense of fun.”

MAS wanted to maximize the benefit gained from the expertise Leadership Strategies brought to the table. So along with having Leadership Strategies facilitate the overall conference program, MAS also asked Leadership Strategies to:

  • Advise on conference design to maintain high participation
  • Hold a special evening session prior to the conference for those who would miss the first day
  • Serve as the interviewer in an insightful and humorous “Get to know the CEO” segment
  • Design and lead four other plenary activities: Communication Styles, Crossing the River, Brief Encounters and the Great River Race
  • Facilitate activities during the conference dinner
  • Lead break out sessions on leadership and consensus building

Helen was very pleased with the feedback received. “The conference Leadership Strategies facilitated was the best ever. We are a tough audience. Yet 90% rated the conference as either very good or excellent. This was due to Leadership Strategies. The facilitator’s energy really engaged and motivated the audience. Here are some typical quotes received from our written feedback process that followed the conference.”

  • I’ve been to quite a few [conferences] over the years & would have to say that [this one] was by far the best. To see a business invest in all of its people from the most junior, with such a high quality of personal/business development says so much for MAS and for the management team itself.
  • I must admit at first I was a bit tentative, thinking that we were about to be subjected to some clichéd American backslapping motivation speaker- within a few minutes the facilitator had dispelled any doubts I had and delivered an extremely relevant performance with style- well done!
  • This guy was amazing- He was so infectiously energetic and inspiring. We should get this guy again.

Thank you – best conference I’ve been to. Appropriate content, superbly organized, excellent speakers, high energy and I’ve taken some very practical things away from it.

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