Deutsche Bank’s 12th annual Women in European Business (WEB) Conference and the 51st to take place globally saw more than 1,400 people attend the event at London’s Barbican Centre on Wednesday evening.
Exploring the conference theme, ‘Power on: Decoding opportunities in a changed environment’, distinguished guest speakers and panellists from finance, business and even music, discussed the revolutionary impact that technology is having on society. Of the many global trends and influences shaping today's business and social environments, technology continues to be the most transformational, they highlighted. The audience included professionals from across the financial services sector: investment banks, accountancy, management consultancy and law firms.
Colin Grassie, Chief CEO, Deutsche Bank UK and member of the Group Executive Committee, opened the event and offered a special welcome to Amaya Llovet, Chief Council of Deutsche Bank in Spain, who was hosting a live broadcast of the event for clients and colleagues in Madrid.
In his address Grassie said: “On behalf of the Board of Deutsche Bank it is a privilege to say that we are committed to delivering thought leadership platforms in diversity.” He highlighted the importance of diversity in fostering innovation and creative thinking – both of which are especially important in a changed environment. In thanking the WEB committee, chaired by Heike Nott, he commented that the conference is an opportunity to address and explore perspectives on a range of issues affecting the financial and professional services.
Grassie highlighted the powerful impact of technology, emphasising that a key component of decoding opportunities is to ensure technology enables rather than hinders. He stressed that personal skills and qualities will always be highly valued.
In his keynote address, David Rowan, Editor of WIRED magazine UK, talked about how technology is changing the world, from finance through to health, and opening new opportunities not just for large corporations but also for low cost start-ups. He went on to say how this shift has created a new corporate culture of entrepreneurialism and innovation in which social media contributes to greater dialogue in the workplace.
Rowan then led a panel discussion with: Wendy Tan White, Co-founder and CEO, Moonfruit; Sandra Alzetta, Senior Vice President, Head of Mobile/Contactless Business Unit and Innovation Strategy, Visa Europe; Julie Meyer, Founder and CEO, Ariadne Capital; Eric Whitacre, Composer, Conductor and Creator of the Virtual Choir.
The four entrepreneurs talked about their start-up journeys and how they have seized the opportunities that technology has given them. They provided insight into how the landscape is changing for new generations where young people are being “incentivised” to start-up their own business as an alternative to going to university. As an example of this societal shift, they pointed out that the UK saw a record-breaking 500,000 new companies set up in 2012. When asked what it takes to be an entrepreneur, Meyer described: “Someone who is so driven they cannot rest until they have made a difference.”
The conference’s closing speaker was Jane McGonigal, a world-renowned designer of online games. McGonigal presented the concept of how games can be used to improve real lives and solve real problems. From her personal experiences and research, she demonstrated that from the reward individuals experience through play, they can improve the way they learn, work and solve problems.
In the end, the audience was treated to a performance by Whitacre’s Virtual Choir, performing his composition ‘Water Night”’ alongside a live London ensemble. He explained how he used technology and social media to set up his Virtual Choir in 2009, which has since become a global phenomenon representing 73 countries.
Aside from Deutsche Bank’s WEB London conference, the Bank holds similar conferences in Frankfurt, New York, Singapore, Sydney and starting in 2013, Milan.
For more details, please visit http://www.womeninbusiness.db.com/.