Strategy in Action – Lessons from London

How do you take strategy and practically put it into action? And what do the key financial reports really mean? These were just a couple of the many questions answered at our recent WLA Business Conferences held in London and in the North West.

The WLA had the pleasure of welcoming several keynote speakers and workshop leaders to help us. ‘Inspirational’ was the word used again and again to describe our keynotes: Elaine Wrigley and Jackie Hyde.

One of the first speaker was Alyson Chadwick, Director for Strategic Projects, The Coop Group. She shared a brilliant case study focused on the Coop’s new membership programme. Using this journey as the backdrop for strategy development, Alyson weaved her strategic planning process throughout. She stressed the importance of identifying strategic options (and how to do that), market conditions and how to filter so as to create a clear strategic plan. It was such an enlightening session and demonstrated clearly how to bring strategy into action.

Andi Lonnen, founder of the Finance Training Academy, has to be the most passionate speaker I have ever heard. She loves to make finance fun. I don’t say that lightly – as an ex Finance Director, she lit up the room with her energy and her supportive, non-judgemental approach. Andi trains both financial and non financial professionals. Please take a look at the wonderful work Andi does right here:

Elaine Wrigley, who is the Group Retail and Operations Director Outdoor and Cycle Concepts Ltd spoke passionately about her career. She shared a lot of personal insights, challenges throughout her life and highlights of her amazing career to date. One of her key principles is to always be true to who you are and align with your values. She was very passionate about having clarity about your own personal strategy and surrounding yourself with the right support network too. Here’s what one of the delegates had to say:

“A brave & truly inspirational woman, an absolute delight to have the pleasure to meet.”

In addition to our London event, the WLA was invited to work in partnership with the Institute of Management based in north Manchester. A different masterclass on financial reporting by key lecturer Sharon Harper discussed the current profit decline of John Lewis. Sharon was also enthusiastic and insightful about her topic and gave a couple of the financial professionals in the room some new reporting tools. Meanwhile Martin McAreavey, MBA Lecturer discussed how important it was to have the right people to deliver your strategy. His session looked at both the academic approach to strategy peppered with examples of organisations. Here was a fun fact.

What strategic planning tool do you think most CEOs use?

A SWOT analysis!

Our keynote speaker at this event was Jackie Hyde, director of Stanmore insurance, award winner and founder of dot to dot insurance. She spoke passionately about many adversities she had overcome to reach the top of her field. She also described how she is often only one of three women who attend industry sector events with around 60 men. It’s still a very male dominated world and one in which she has had to learn to adapt and navigate to phenomenal success.

Perhaps one of the biggest highlights of our events was our final keynote speaker Paula Chadwick. Paula is the CEO of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. This was were everyone got involved in helping Paula review, re-ignite and enable her to put her strategy in action. Her amazing organisation supports the early detection, research and care for individuals diagnosed with lung cancer. Did you know that 25% of individuals diagnosed have NEVER smoked? Did you also know it is the biggest cancer killer with the least amount of funding compared to other cancer(s)? And that 79% of deaths could be saved with early detection?  What would you do if you were Paula faced with these statistics?

Here’s a video Paula shared on the day (it’s a bit of a weepy but very powerful)…..

The delegates supported Paula by reviewing her strategy and suggesting new ideas and options. There was some amazing insights for Paula to take forward. This was one example of how our WLA Business event helped our members focus on the Missing 33% and find practical ways to put strategy into action.

Here’s what our delegates said about our first London event:

Don’t hesitate. You will meet a welcoming and supportive group, of inspirational women, across many varied sectors, who can all help you to achieve your goals.

Fabulous opportunity to learn, network and take time out to focus on me

We all lead busy lives & it is difficult to make some “me time”, but you definitely won’t regret making the effort to attend a WLA event.

100% do it. The people you meet at these conferences are so friendly and genuine, they make the experience not only helpful but enjoyable too. Also the speakers are interesting and relatable women who encourage and support you to become better and more developed people.

Bringing together a great balance of inspirational leadership stories and engaging theory to deliver a motivational day ! I’m going back to the office with a renewed spring in my step , refreshed knowledge on finance and strategy session plus a few more supportive like minded contacts in my network .

A great day spent meeting fantastic, like-minded people, learning plenty and being inspired.

An engaging, interesting, accessible way to learn and be inspired.

A very worthwhile use of your time.

I texted my husband during the morning break saying “This is actually amazing. I’m getting goosebumps”. It was so worthwhile and really gave me a chance to focus on where I can change things and what I am already achieving.

If you are interested in finding out more about the work we do or would like to be inspired, then please sign up to our brand new (complimentary) event. All you need to do is provide us with your email here:



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