When Coronavirus transformed our lives back in March, we brought our business community together to provide insights and information.

Now, we want to help you succeed through the winter months and the many challenges that they are likely to bring.

As part of the Owning the Winter programme, we will be running our second Virtual Conference on Thursday 15 October.

The conference is a half-day event which will provide you with insights from thought-leaders and business experts across critical topics, providing you with the tools to prepare for the upcoming months.

The virtual conference will be an afternoon of fun, peer-to-peer learning and conversations.

The expectations from almost 100 participants at the conference in July were:


And when asked at the end of the conference, their feed was:

In one word

Event programme

The afternoon will be packed with knowledge around the following themes:

Owning the winter – It’s time to take charge

Dan Gerrella will be walking you through how to prepare for a crisis, the importance of communication and how to protect your reputation and ensure that your business comes back stronger. Mike Lander will give you tips and hints from his experience as a Purchasing Director. Discover how people like him operate, whilst also learning how to negotiate effectively during challenging times.

Leadership and Organisation

Simon Hammett will talk about the importance of leadership agility and developing resilience - both personally and within your organisation. He will be providing advice to help you prepare and adapt to the ever changing environment that we will be dealing with in the next 6+ months. In slot 2, Kevin Yuen will explain how you can implement customer-centric processes into your business, he will be explaining that by doing this you can help your customers deal with uncertainty and decision-making during difficult times. 


Many of the conversations that we are having with SMEs seem to revolve around how to sell during the times of Covid-19. Howard Flint is helping us to identify the marketing strategies that will restart your business. Later, Adam Gray will outline why social media is crucial to your sales and marketing operations - now and in the future. Adam will help you to understand how Covid-19 has driven faster migration of prospects and customers away from more traditional channels to social media.

HR – Your people working from home in distributed and remote ways

The massive shift to working from home across many sectors is one of the most significant changes to our working lives. Nobody imagined that home-working would still be the norm months beyond the emergence of Covid-19.  Richard White will be exploring the myths around motivation and how some of the world's strongest businesses are embracing the strong correlation between leadership, employee engagement, customer loyalty and profitability. Nicky Buckley and Natalie Ellis from CIPD will provide us with insights into how we can look after employee performance, performance reviews and developing your talent with a distributed and partly remote workforce.

The EU Exit – Impact on you, your clients and your suppliers

With Covid-19 taking centre stage, we almost forgot about the hot topic of Autumn 2019. Once again, it is time to look at the impact of the EU Exit on the 31st December 2020. And whilst you may not be directly impacted, it will be crucial that you consider how it could affect your clients and suppliers. In slot 1, you will hear from Thom Webb from the Department of International Trade (DIT),will be offering advice and support for SMEs and giving an overview of what you should know about the EU Exit. Finally, Professor Emel Aktas will providing insights into how supply chains can be effectively managed during the uncertainty of the impacts from Covid-19 and EU Exit.

How the afternoon works

We have two time slots for speakers, where we will have five parallel sessions – one for each of the above topics. You can choose to join one live session per slot time,

After each of the time slots, we will be summarising and sharing the key takeaways from all the five parallel sessions. Therefore, you will not only take away the learning from the two sessions that you have participated in, but will also have exposure to all of the understanding from the ten sessions available on the day.

Based on feedback from the previous conference, we have included a greater focus on networking throughout the conference. There will be opportunities to connect with fellow business owners within breakout rooms. We hope that this will be an adequate substitution for the networking aspect that naturally occurs at face-to-face conferences.

You will receive exclusive access to all of the recordings after the event, allowing you to re-watch all of the content and discussions.




13:00 – 13:15

Opening remarks and welcome
Outline of the day

13:15 – 13:45

Economic Update
Keynote Speaker: Professor Joe Nellis
Professor of Global Economy and Deputy Director, Cranfield School of Management

13:45 – 14:25

Slot 1 – Parallel Sessions

  • Owning the winter – Preparing for a crisis - how to protect your reputation
    and ensure that your business comes back stronger:
    Dan Gerrella. Associate Director, Liz Male Consulting. BGP 2020.
  • Leadership and Organisation - The positive psychology of leadership agility
    as a source of advantage in challenging and dynamic markets:
    Simon Hammett. Director, Simon Hammett Consulting. Cranfield MBA, 1992.
  • Marketing/Sales - How to develop a successful go to market strategy that
    addresses current market challenges:
    Howard Flint. Managing Director, HG Solutions. Cranfield MBA, 1990.
  • HR – SNOG, MARRY, AVOID; What kind of business do you want to lead?
    Richard White. Founder and CEO, Incentivesmart.
  • The EU Exit – Growing your International Trade potential:
    Thom Webb. Senior Civil Servant, Department of International Trade.

14:25 – 14:35

Key takeaways
A quick round up from all five sessions
and what the participants can take away

14:35 – 15:05

Breakout session
An opportunity for networking and conversation
for participants

15:05 – 15:15

Coffee/tea break

15:15 – 15:45

Who cares? A review of the impact of leadership style on the response to Covid
Keynote Speaker: Caroline Southgate
Managing Director, Doris Jones Ltd. BGP Participant, 2019.

15:45 – 16:25

Slot 2 – Parallel Sessions

  • Owning the winter – How to protect your margins and grow your business
    when negotiating with tough Procurement professionals:
    Mike Lander. CEO, Piscari Ltd. Cranfield MBA 1993.
  • Leadership and Organisation - Using Human Centred Design techniques
    to help your business adjust to new customer behaviour:
    Kevin Yuen. Service Design Director, Spotless. BGP 2019.
  • Marketing/Sales - Embracing social media for sales and marketing in your organisation:
    Adam Gray. Co-Founder, Digital Leadership Associates.
  • HR – Managing Talent: Build a high performance workplace during challenging times:
    Nicky Buckley. Director, East Midlands HR. Natalie Ellis. HR Consultant and Director of Rebox HR.
  • The EU Exit – Managing Supply Chain Uncertainty arising from geopolitical disruptions.
    Professor Emel Aktas. Cranfield School of Management.

16:25 – 16:35

Key takeaways
A quick round up from all five sessions and what
the participants can take away

16:35 – 17:05

An opportunity for networking and conversation
for participants

17:05 – 17:15

Closing comments

What previous participants say

LizThe Cranfield Unconference in July was a springboard for some important discussions within LMC. We involved all the team, and also gave a ticket to a client that was interested in reviewing his business strategy in order to get ready for a post-COVID world and all the structural changes we expect to see in the future.

Because there was so much important content to cover, everyone attended different sessions, and then we swapped notes afterwards. I think it was an eye-opener for the team and it became a very energising experience for all of us.

The Bettany Centre has delivered huge value to our business over the last six months or more. As an owner managed business, it can feel lonely at times, and at first during the lockdown period it was difficult to get the perspective needed to make good strategic decisions. But the Cranfield experts were there for us and really helped me and all my team to see more clearly. I learned really practical skills – things I really wish someone had taught me 20 years ago before I started this business!

The conferences are another extension of that learning curve, and we will definitely involve the whole team again.

Liz Male, director of LMC, a PR agency that specialises in construction and the built environment


We have two types of tickets available, a single ticket for individuals and a company ticket which will allow you to bring 5 colleagues, customers and friends.

Standard tickets: £75
Company tickets: £250 

Book your place