Ireland's only dedicated building services engineering journal
Ireland's only dedicated building services engineering journal

IPFMA Annual Conference 2013 — Review, Renew, Remodel!

Vincent Hickey with Nick Leeson

The conference was comprehensively attended by property industry delegates, some travelling long distances to be in attendance.

In an era when most of us, either personally or professionally, are experiencing challenging times, it was reassuring to know the complications that present themselves in today’s business environment are being addressed, or being deliberated on, by other representative bodies and organisations with a long-term strategic view.

The assembly of presenters at the conference gave us an impartial and balanced awareness on how we might meet these challenges if we are to review, renew and remodel.

Our first speaker Aidan O’Hogan spoke about what is facing us in the commercial and residential sector in the not-too-distant future and said that if the emerging problems are not addressed we will soon face a housing crisis.

He pointed out that the current level of ghost estates had been used in the past as reason for an oversupply of housing and the reluctance to re-energise a housing programme. However, he said that the reality was that there are very few ghost estates and certain areas around the country, particularly in Dublin and Cork, are facing a massive shortfall in family dwellings.

Lorna Byrne gave us an insight into, and examples of, optimising a company’s greatest asset, its staff. She presented an in-depth look at what the work/life balance should be, along with practical examples of how companies can reward staff by way of “reward-strategy programmes”, and also keep them engaged in their roles. She spoke at length on the value of employee engagement and communications.

Lorna cited the banking industry as an example of where staff had developed low esteem due to the stigma surrounding some financial institutions. She explained how, by reviewing, renewing and remodelling in this industry, confidence among staff in this sector was returning with progressive results.

She also referred to what she likes to call the “Deal” for employees. This can cover such things as work/life balance, promotion, up-skilling etc. Essentially, she explained how rewarding an employee – not just financially – can motivate and encourage loyalty.

Luke Reaper presented a thought- provoking address on the cycles of change and behavioural attitudes in both Irish and global society. He referred to some very interesting trends within the marketing research carried out in Ireland and abroad and noted that, while some social networking sites receive negative exposure, social media marketing had increased overall.

Luke presented a very interesting example of the eminent closure of a public library and how a subsequent social media campaign delivered the positive result the campaigners were hoping for and saved the library.

Our keynote speaker Nick Leeson gave an open and frank account of how he reviewed, renewed and remodelled his own life. He gave us a relatively detailed interpretation of his life leading up to what was one of the biggest banking collapses of all time.

Nick, who has been referred to as the original rogue trader, talked about how he was left unchecked to carry out some of the biggest risk- taking financial deals of the 20th century. He also gave us an insight into the financial markets in 1995 and his role in the collapse of Barings Bank.

He went on to talk about his eventual capture, and the prison sentence he received and served in a gang-ridden Singaporean jail.

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