Last Thursday evening Penna hosted a brilliant networking event, dedicated to our Executive-level Interim Managers in the Transport sector. Year Three has been hugely successful for the Penna Transport Practice, with interesting assignments across various modes including rail, bus, and ferries. So the aim of this event was to celebrate these achievements, based on the successful collaboration of Penna, our Transport clients, and our Interims.
Around 70 guests were welcomed with bubbles and nibbles, before settling in to listen to our wonderful speakers. The presentations were kicked off by Diane Burke, Interim Commercial Director at Southeastern Trains. Diane pointed out that being an Interim gives the licence to “be different.” Liberated from the usual politics of an organisation, short assignments allow Interims to focus solely on the job in hand. However, she also argued that “nothing is more important than the people in the business” – they must be made to feel valued. She illustrated her point with a case study from Southeastern, where she wanted to make significant changes around customer experience by introducing dedicated customer service teams in stations. Before instigating this change, Diane spent time really getting to know the existing teams, having cups of tea in the mess room and having in depth conversations about how they thought things could be improved. Their suggestions were formative in the strategy which was ultimately (and successfully) implemented. Diane therefore concluded that an effective Interim must be equally challenging and supportive.
The second speaker was Karen Wellman, Interim HR Director at Wightlink Ferries. After permanent roles in a range of sectors, Karen partnered with Penna to pursue Interim assignments and was placed with Wightlink. Though she is a new Interim working in a previously unfamiliar sector, Karen has established credibility through her dedication to the assignment. She spent time researching the sector, the organisation, and, like Diane, really got to know the people in the business. Karen has now become a trusted and invaluable support to the Chief Executive of Wightlink. Her enthusiasm for the role was evident from the amazing photos of ferries that illustrated her presentation!
Our final speaker was Phil Doggett, a career Interim with over 30 assignments under his belt. The theme of his talk was around “Diversity of Interim Experience as a Catalyst for Swifter and Better Change.” Building on the points made by the previous speakers, Phil argued that working in multiple sectors brings a depth of knowledge and increased efficacy for the Interim. He has also authored a book (entitled “The Secrets of Interim Management”) which promises to be an important read for any new Interim.
These talks prompted a number of questions from the floor, including: what is the best strategy for choosing roles/organisations/sectors? How do you pitch your day rate? We had some really interesting discussion, particularly around the role of the Recruiter as an intermediary between candidates and clients. Our Lead Transport Consultant Karen Camilleri pointed out that creating this relationship is a particular strength of Penna’s – and that the trust generated means clients are often more open-minded about taking on new interims from outside the sector, or considering different remuneration models such as a day rate plus performance-based bonus.
The evening ended with more networking, canapes, drinks and a raffle. The amazing turnout, productive discussions, and excited LinkedIn posts from our guests after the event were all testament to the success of the Transport Practice and Penna more broadly. In particular we should thank our Karen Camilleri who has built a loyal network of both Interims and Clients who feel that they are listened to, understood, and valued. In the year ahead we are excited to continue building connections with such great people and businesses. And of course, looking forward to celebrating again in 2018!
To view the photos from this event, click here.
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