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CONNECT24 Catalysts – a round up of our young people's conference

The 2024 Catalysts Conference saw 150 of our young people from across the UK gather at Glasgow’s SEC for two days of insights, networking and knowledge-sharing.

Robertson Group Chief Operating Officer Brian McQuade and Group Financial Director Irene Wilson opened the conference with a warm welcome to delegates and introduced this year’s theme, ‘connecting – customers, ideas, people’.

Then it was over to our young people representatives and conference hosts Caitlin McGee and Euan Read to lead us through a packed programme set to inform and inspire:

How to deliver ‘celebrity service’

With humour and genuine passion, Geoff Ramm set the room a challenge – if your customer was a celebrity, what would you do differently? From airlines and hospitality to retailers and parking machines, Geoff shared personal experiences of extraordinary customer service and often in the most unexpected places – showing that some time and creativity can be all you need to stand out from the competition.

Robertson marketplace

Feedback from last year’s conference told us that our Catalysts were keen for activities focused on their development and career paths. For one hour, the Robertson Marketplace was open for business with over seventeen of our business functions taking delegates through their services, specialisms and customers, and a roundtable session with peers from across Team Robertson sharing their individual career progression and pathways. 

Elite-level listening

As former hostage negotiator and founder of the Listening Institute, Richard Mullender has worked with high-profile organisations including Scotland Yard, the United Nations and FBI. Bringing a unique understanding of what makes people think and act the way they do, he introduced us to elite-level listening skills which can be transferred to work situations. In this interactive session, Richard described past hostage situations before quizzing his audience and prompting them to question – am I really hearing what people are saying?  

Six pillars of a healthy lifestyle

David Bowmaker from Life Fit Wellness spoke to delegates about the six key pillars of a healthy lifestyle: healthy eating; mental health and wellbeing; healthy relationships; physical activity; minimise harmful substances; and sleep. Summing up, David shared this advice for anyone ready to make a change to their lifestyle, ‘Start slowly, because direction is more important than speed.’

Diversity, equality and inclusion

Chris Gibbons from Inside Inclusion used the power of words, imagery and experiences to encourage delegates to challenge perceptions around diversity, equality and inclusion. Bringing unconscious bias to the fore, Chris showed how diversity goes well beyond what we outwardly see, and that it’s ‘both the visible and invisible dimensions of human uniqueness’.

The career ladder isn’t for everyone and that’s ok…..because for those who don’t aspire to sit on the board, please know your contribution at Robertson is no less valued.
Elliot Robertson
CEO Robertson Group

Closing the conference, Chief Executive Officer Elliot Robertson remarked on how inspired he was by the extraordinary depth of talent in our young people. Touching on wellbeing, he reminded delegates of its importance, 'Believe me, your health is the most valuable currency that you have.'

Referring to a world of game-changing technologies, Elliot spoke about the fantastic opportunities ahead and the role young people will play in actively shaping the future of our industry. He was also keen to stress that he understood the career ladder isn’t for everyone, but here at Robertson every contribution is valued – and that every one of our young people with their unique backgrounds, skills and passion is a catalyst for change.

Thanks to everyone who attended CONNECT24 Catalysts, filling the auditorium with enthusiasm, ideas and laughter; to Caitlin and Euan our conference hosts who made a difficult job look easy; to our guest speakers and marketplace presenters whose words were insightful and motivational; and to the team behind the scenes whose planning and organisation made CONNECT24 Catalysts possible.