SLC’s round up of last week’s dinner and conference.
It’s mid afternoon on a pretty chilly Wednesday in London and Jo Green, our Head of Commercial Operations, has navigated her way to the Connaught Rooms in the SLC geländewagen (all purpose workhorse), full to the gunnels with our marketing material and stand. Given that this is one of our most important conferences of the year, the marketing collateral is new and the stand, in our opinion, simply amazing. We’ve also decided to overwhelm the conference by bringing out our operational ‘big guns’. Following Jo by train are Analise, Head of Property, Faye, Head of PRS, Amy, Accounts Manager and Katie our Trainee Solicitor. So, as you can see we’re covering all bases as far as our client’s are concerned.
After a little muscle is employed, the marketing material is safely stored in the holding room, the beast parked underground and the team arrive ready for action. Three of the team prepare for the dinner that night, whilst Jo, Analise and Katie set up our pitch at the conference.
SLC are sponsors of the event this year and we take our role within ARMA extremely seriously. Jo Green knows Nigel Glen, CEO of ARMA, well and that commercial relationship has led to SLC sponsoring the ARMA 2016 Benchmarking Survey. Standards are something we, at SLC, take extremely seriously and benchmarking is one way of raising and maintaining standards. We do it constantly and it’s an integral part of our ethos. So, when it comes to our stand at the conference it has to look good and didn’t it look great?!
The dinner at the Connaught Rooms was wonderful as always, but not too heavy. Everyone was reasonably restrained knowing that a full day of conference the next day was best approached with a clear head. Although, there were a few notable exceptions, and one of our troop did receive an interesting proposal during the evening!
The Conference this year was entitled “Raising Our Voice”. This signals a clear intention to reach out and increase the ARMA membership as well as take a more active role in shaping legislation for the future.
Moderator for the day, and opening the conference, was Joshua Rozenberg, award-winning journalist, QC and a familiar face to BBC viewers where he often gives legal insights.
This was the 21st ARMA conference but, as Nigel Glen informed us, the 25th birthday of ARMA! This raised a big cheer within the conference hall. It was also William Heneker’s first Conference as Chairman of ARMA.
The day was split into four incredibly interesting sessions. Each very detailed, topical and pertinent. It’s difficult to pick highlights from the day as there was so much to take away from each session. But Karina Ray’s update of the benchmarking survey (close to SLC’s heart) was interesting as were Philip Rainey’s points on leasehold reform which he says are badly needed.
Topicially, principally since it’s been featured in the mainstream news recently, was Jim Fitzpatrick’s parliamentary view on leasehold and commonhold reform. This is clearly an area where ARMA has to take a lead and it was heartening to hear many delegates very much in favour of doing so.
But, if there was one shocking highlight, it came from session four and the presentation by Angela Irvine of Adler Insurance Brokers and Anish Chauhan of Equilibrium Security. The ‘live hack’ demonstration showed how easy it was for criminals to take control of your PC or operating system. Frighteningly easy! Thankfully Anish had some very good advice as to how this could be avoided. But, it had the whole room thinking and, certainly from the SLC experience, it was the main topic of conversation when the session finished.
With so many of SLC’s senior staff at the conference, we were able to see a good number of our clients and network widely throughout the day and it was an enormously successful event for us. We would highly recommend ARMA and the conference to our clients who are not yet members.
As usual, Jo Green had the final word “We attend a great many of these events throughout the year and sponsor many of them. Personally, I think ARMA is making great strides and under the stewardship of Nigel Glen, is becoming the voice of the industry, with the credibility to engage with government on the crucial issues that face our business and the members. This is the go-to event of the year for SLC’s specific sector and we have come away, yet again, extremely happy and very encouraged.”
For some of our team, it was their first visit to an ARMA conference and one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
“This was my first time at an ARMA Conference so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had always assumed ARMA would arrange an excellent conference and exhibition and they didn’t disappoint. A particular highlight of the day from my point of view was the talk from Justin Bates and Amy Just of Arden Chambers; informative and lively as ever!”
“It was fantastic to meet with so many existing clients, large and small, and to engage with lots of new potential clients. We were able to discuss many of our innovative models directly and the interest and engagement was phenomenal. We have had a productive team de-brief and the follow ups will be worked through this week.”
“Anyone who feels the urge to brush up on their networking skills should head to an ARMA conference. Such a variety of interesting people attend from all across the residential property industry. I had a superb time and learnt so much whether it be from a seminar or an informal chat.”
“It was a real pleasure to be part of ARMA’s 25th anniversary. The conferences were brilliant and there was a vast variety of subjects in regards to the property management sector. I’m looking forward to next year!”