Sharon Constançon chaired a panel debate in front of an invited audience of approximately 70 people  as part of a joint Genius Methods – ICSA event hosted by Citibank on 20th October in London.

The purpose of the evening was to allow for an exchange of information between like-minded peers and to get an understanding of challenges and issues faced by the different roles on the Board, people who have different skills but are focused on a common goal.

The evening was a huge success with significant feedback both during the meeting and afterwards. It was clear that there was a significant appetite to spend more time on the subject. The conclusions, together with the feedback will inform the White Paper which will be the prime output of the event.  

We must connect with the big players

IoD – Director Magazine – January 2015

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Sharon, a Chartered Director was interviewed by the Director magazine in late 2014.  The published articel “We must connect with the big players” gives Sharon’s view that the IoD reach into the FTSE Boardrooms needs energy. 

Board Directors need to understand their roles, responsibilties and the value of good corporate governance to be effective as a team.  Sharon notes that many Chairman are struggling to effectively lead boards due to barriers to governance understanding.

Working with Boards, Sharon notes that many Directors do not have a sound understanding of the requirements of the role and how to carry out their duties effectively, leaving personal agendas and ineffectively behaviours outside the door.

The Chartered Director program prepares Directors through study, case studies, shared learnings and experience adequately for the role.  Directors who have progressed to chartered agree that they are better equipped now to deliver effective contribution as a Director.

ICSA Award Sponsorship

The One to Watch ….

At the gala event held by ICSA at The Brewery in London on 12th November 2014.

The One to Watch

Sponsored by Genius Methods

Joe Bloggs

Winner: Scott Brooker, Sovereign Housing Association Limited

A clearly written and presented nomination, demonstrating significant activity above and beyond daily work. Read more

Shortlisted:

Hannah Blackmore, Integrated Financial Arrangements plc

Jill Elliott, Morgan Advanced Materials plc

Suzanna Dabski, Westpac Banking Corporation

Oliver Strawbridge, Shire plc

Sharon, CEO and Alan Hindley, Chairman of Genius Methods hosted a table with 10 guests at the black tie dinner.  We would like to thank our guests for making it a memorable evening.

The team at Genius congratulate Scott Brooker on winner the award in a competitve environment.  We shall watch you ….

Scott Brooker GradICSA

Scott Brooker

 

The judges were impressed by Scott’s impact on his department and the fact that, after only two years, he is perceived to be demonstrating many of the skills that a top company secretary needs.

Described by his Deputy Company Secretary as ‘one of the most exceptional talents I have been privileged to see and nurture at an early stage of their careers,’ Scott is described as ‘like a sponge, absorbing all new technical information imparted to him and translating it into pragmatic applications.’

The judges were impressed by Scott’s ability at such an early stage of his career to take on project work and additional responsibilities, as well as being asked to mentor new members of staff.

All the winners and further information can be found on the ICSA website.

Guardians of Governance

ICSA Magazine – Governance and Compliance – September 2014

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Sharon chaired a roundtable debate on 4th July 2014 attended by David Swabey -Head of Policy at ICSA, David Jackson – Company Secretary of BP, Lawrence Dickinson – Company Secretary of Barclays, Jeremy Small – Company Secretary of AXA, Alison Horrocks – Company Secretary of Inmarsat, Charlie Helps and David Thompson.

The focus of the debate was to understand the pivotal role the Company Secretary fulfils as the  champion of corporate governance, the right hand person to the Chairman and an Executive of the company.

The debate covered responsibilities of the role but more the value brought as the person that “makes it happen” but is not “obviously there” but missed when not delivering effectively.  The Company Secretary is in the unique position of being at Board meetings, not being a Director but being the competent observer of the activities and the owner of the annual governance agenda.

 ICSA published “Guardians of Governance” in September 2014, picking up on the key themes – governance, being the bridge, and the company radar – the role of the Company Secretary is being “recalibrated” and is gaining prominence.

 The roundtable was in response to the ICSA’s 2014 report “The Company Secretary: Building trust through governance“.
     

Genius Methods is honoured to be hosting an ICSA members event focused on the key topic of Board Effectiveness on the 24th June at ICSA’s offices. For ICSA members who would like to attend, please register via ICSA.

This is a very exciting prospect for Genius to interview Company Secretaries on the panel on their experiences on board effectiveness barriers they experience.  Sharon will share her experiences of barriers that she notices in the various market segments to either effectiveness of a board or the understanding of the value of a board evaluation exercise.

Genius is looking forward to the event and sharing the combined knowledge with ICSA members.

Following the latest in its series of Panel Debates, Genius Methods has released a White Paper on Tone from the Top: Understanding the Role of the Chairman. The debate took place at the RAF Club, London, on 26 February 2014.

The panel considered the traits needed by successful chairmen, and the vital role they play in any organization given that their tenure is often longer than that of a CEO. Setting the tone for the organization, acting as coach to the CEO, overseer of the risk horizon and guardian of corporate ethics, their roles should not be underestimated.

The debate was chaired by Sharon Constançon and consisted of eight panelists who contributed their knowledge, expertise and experience to the debate.

A copy of the White Paper is available here.

For more information please email Genius Methods’ CEO Sharon Constançon at sconstancon@geniusmethods.com.

There is an interesting article in Management Today on The Importance of Being a Chairman by Andrew Saunders.

Whilst the role of a CEO is well understood, the role of a chairman is less well known, nevertheless it is equally important. The chairman is someone who must have a long-term strategic vision for the company, and therefore encourage board members to act in the best way for the company’s long-term success, and yet not dictate.

The chairman has control over two things: the agenda, and hiring and firing the CEO. The chairman also has an important role as the mentor to the CEO. Whilst it is important that the chairman and CEO get along, there is a fine balancing act between making sure that they do not become too close to each other and yet the chairman should also show support to the CEO – unless he chooses to fire them.

There is an interesting article today on the IAPP website about Cybersecurity in the Boardroom: The New Reality for Directors. While the article cites lawsuits in the US, the risks are as relevant in the UK and elsewhere. 

Cybersecurity has earned a permanent presence on the boards agenda and is an increasingly important threat for discussion. Cyber risks need to be closely monitored in order to prevent cyber attacks and threats to the business that could potentially decrease shareholder value and damage business reputations.

Keeping customers’ personal information secure is more vital than ever, and boards need to lead on this by making sure that the risks are properly managed, whether guidance comes from knowledgeable board members, or from outside expertise. Every board should make sure they receive regular briefings on this subject.

Sharon – the Dragon

3rd April a team of 5 Dragons assessed 4 NHS technology applications and awarded £25 000 for a project to help children with hearing difficulties.

Minute 1.25 to 3.05 covers excerpts from the 90 minute Dragon’s deliberations and award.

Highlights: A short film  here shows some of the highlights of the day. This has been posted on the QEP site under #uclh_wired, with more information and clips from the day.

Sharon is winner of the Woman in Business Award 
South African Chamber of Commerce London –  2013

Wednesday, March 5th the team of five Business winners for 2013 came together to share with the audience under the guidance of Avi Lasarow, a South African businessman and Honorary Consul for the Republic of South Africa to the Midlands, our stories on how we achieved our business successes and what advice we had for the future.
 

Sharon shared a brief history and the challenges faced on the way here:-
–   Culture
–   Glass Ceilings (concrete ceilings) 
–   Passion / self belief / clear goals / focus / dedication 
–   Hard work / no balance as work overrides life
–   breaking new grounds and markets
–   changing countries
–   challenges of the UK Business committee and the outcomes of the global crisis    ….      

Avi guided conversations so that we all shared the community, charity and education work we were doing in our industries

The photo shows Sharon with the incoming Chairman –  Melissa Powys-Rodriques, a SA Attorney and UK Solicitor.

SACC Article

The South African business community meet monthly in the evening and monthly for breakfast to listen to speakers, share ideas, network and get business.  

To top the evening Sharon shared recipe ideas with the South African Chef Petrus Madutlela who excelled on the UK Master Chef challenge.  There is no smile like Petrus’ describe by Michel Roux as being able to light up any room on entry.     

Photos taken by Ronel van Zyl