Executive Networking Organizations Provide Synergy
The Global Executive Network
This international company, which has only recently emerged in South Africa, provides c-level executives and management a peer to peer exchange within a contained environment where competitors work together to exchange ideas. “The concept is revolutionary because it gives all of our guests an intimate atmosphere where they network and exchange ideas,” said Louise Muuren, the company’s South African delegate. “It’s a very interesting area, and an emerging market,” Martin Hegi, Managing Director of The Global Executive Network, said. “We have found South Africa is in its early stages of executive networking caliber, but we see this market as having substantial potential in the long run.”
The Global Executive Network is the first to provide South African executives with an opportunity to gain oversight on key issues in the business; the most recent including a dinner in Johannesburg with a topic on insurance. The G.E.N. hosts intimate dinner parties where anywhere from eight to 18 executives are offered an invitation to participate in the informal social networking event with other likeminded executives. “The people attending are only attending because they are interested in this exact issue,” said Hegi. “So there is a lot of peer to peer value.”
The dinners are typically separated into three parts –Muuren acts as the delegate for each and begins with a formal introduction; Hegi reasons that while every executive is in the same industry, only about three percent are familiar with one another. Following the formal introductions, executives are given a change to informally introduce themselves to everyone, followed by key leader speeches from executives on the dinner topic.
The system has worked globally. “As an executive involved in any particular industry you might be substantially interested just in exchanging your own issues with direct competitors, because obviously most of our attendees are competitors,” said Hegi. “That creates so much value to our dinners because it’s very rare that these people meet in such a relaxed and high level and pre-selected environment. It’s people that are direct competitors exchanging ideas, many whom might not otherwise exchange information.”
What better way to exchange concepts with your peers than in a relatively informal setting? With The Global Executive Networks’ executive dinners, attendees will find that their internal business perspectives will widen through this integral colleague contact.
“Our new networking dinner provides managers with the possibility to discuss efficient strategies for the current pressing market challenges and to benefit from a business-oriented transfer of expertise with the other participating executives. Our guests are deeply interested in learning from an extended network and in establishing high-level contacts also outside of their workplace,” Hegi said in a statement.
Whatever the industry, there are limits to how much you can be aware. The Global Executive Network unites likeminded individuals in a professionally informal atmosphere in an exclusive dinner where key issues are brought to the table to improve the sector as a whole.
Another area of interest is TEC, a South African networking company, where executives and senior managers are offered an array of activities to supplement growth in their personal businesses. As members of the group, CEOs and managers participate in roundtable meetings, leadership events and dinners. Peer group meetings, one-on-one meetings, key speaker seminars and leadership retreats benefit lead executives toward improved decision making, accountability, disaster anticipation and additional networking.
TEC has more than 10,000 international members and throughout the programs each member will find practical results that they can integrate into their preexisting system. Following each program, members will return the information gathered onto the floor room, bringing substantial expansion opportunities and adding internal growth and development for their business.
Additionally, public events are held for prospective TEC members to gain access to some of the tools and services that TEC provides. Any interested executives who feel that their company could benefit from their support or personally in need of specific industry growth can partake.
On the other side of the ocean is the London based saBusiness Club, a program that fused South African networking associations with London’s landscape. The program hosts “First Wednesday,” a monthly speaker series that introduces businesses with inspiring individuals who have conquered their industry in a series of projects or measures. November’s “First Wednesday” meeting welcomes Ian Goldin, Director of the James Martin 21st Century School at the University of Oxford. Formerly the Vice-President of the World Bank, Economic Advisor to Nelson Mandela and Managing Director of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the talk will spark interests in a variety of industries from Goldin’s diverse background.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.