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insight into some of the issues facing New Zealand and the impact that economic and social forces will have on how we will work in the future. Encouraging delegates to adopt a new state of mind, Shamubeel urged us to be deliberate and opportunistic in our choices for the future.

Being deliberate The theme of being deliberate continued throughout the conference. In relation to effective engagement with Māori collectives, Tracey Peters and Kirsten Hagan urged us to undertake due diligence, embark on, or continue, our learning journey in relation to Te Ao Māori and never forget the power of reciprocity and the strength of connection or whanaungatanga. GCs Tim Peacocke from Samsung and Andrew Cordner from Fonterra, urged delegates to take a measured approach in how to react “when you are the news”. Taking stock, transparency with the regulator, stakeholder engagement and making measured decisions and responses were some of their recommendations. This theme of responsibility continued when Banking Ombudsman Nicola Sladden, and Helen Davidson, General Manager Legal and Policy at Engineering NZ, shared insights and experiences from the banking and engineering sectors and their own versions of “seismic events”. Nicola and Helen adeptly covered the benefits of using complaints as a strategic tool to identify risks and opportunities in a business and left delegates determined to take up Nicola’s challenge to “learn to love complaints”. 88

Taking opportunities Speakers throughout the two days also reinforced the message to take opportunities. Grant Pritchard, ILANZ Committee member and a member of the Spark legal team, powerfully demonstrated this in his session on transforming mental health at work. Grant’s drive and passion to improve mental health in workplaces has been the catalyst for Spark’s workplace mental health programme and his compelling story and call to action reached the heart and mind of everyone in the room with the response being a well-deserved standing ovation and individual and collective commitment to making a difference for ourselves, our families and our workplaces. Grabbing opportunities to add value also featured in a session with Hayley Evans from Wellington City Council on how to translate data into insights and added value for organisations. Delegates were also urged to take the opportunity to thrive both at and outside work with clinical psychologist and efficiency coach Nicola Brown providing some strategies and tools to counter common obstacles. Easy to identify but harder to execute “soft skills” were a feature of the session from Grevis Beard, a workplace consultant who specialises in team dynamics and tools to foster positive rather than destructive relationships in the workplace. His delivery left delegates gasping – with laughter – but also with some useful research and guidance on the steps necessary to create high performance workplaces.

▴ ILANZ committee members, Sian Wingate, Hiramai Rogers and Jeremy Valentine gather “unconference” ideas.

▴ ILANZ conference delegates proving that learning can be fun.

Sitting in the driver’s seat In addition to a number of presentations from in-house counsel, this year also saw the return of the “unconference” sessions – two hours set aside for delegates to mix with their in-house colleagues and discuss issues crowd sourced during the first day of conference. Top picks were: • Managing regulatory and legal compliance. The challenges, the ways and the wins, • Are in-house counsel the conscience of the organisation? If so, is that really your role? • The legal team’s role in project management. Discuss. • Should GCs be on the executive team? Would the title CLO mean more to the CFO, CEO or COO? These themes also featured in the panel discussion on the preliminary results of the Deloitte/ILANZ in-house trends survey in addition to thoughts on how to get the most from in-house and external firm relationships and, a recurring theme, the importance of “soft” skills for in-house practitioners.

Sharing insights Over the next few months we will be sharing more insights from these and other conference sessions in the form of ILANZ President, Sian Wingate’s “Conference condensed” blog and the final report from the Deloitte/ ILANZ in-house trends survey. Both of these will be available through the ILANZ website  ilanz.org ▪

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