Ben Heller, CEO and Chief Customer Officer
Producer of the 2021 IGNITE Program
Ben Heller's advice to attendees is to not try to take notes during the IGNITE session. "Be in the moment because this is high-level story-telling." Reprising his role as an IGNITE moderator for the fourth year, Heller has also presented his own 5-minute IGNITE sessions.
Heller describes the key with the IGNITE Sessions is you are getting insights that change how you live and work, so you need to be available for those moments. "In the first IGNITE session I attended six years ago, one presentation was about getting the most out of travel," says Heller, and "how every place you go has these little gems—so veer off the path and don't just go to your Hilton and your chain restaurant." It wasn't an insight he went to GWS seeking, and he had no notes from the session, but it has changed how he travels and what he gets out of it.
"Being in the room together for the final day on the main stage—it's a great way to end the symposium. It's a loud event, and it's the friendliest audience you have ever seen both because the content is exciting and everyone wants the speakers to succeed."
The IGNITE Session is one of the most popular with GWS attendees, who rated the last installation an average 4.9 out of 5.
Elena Anderson-de Lay, Co-Founder, Lead Strategist
At Ease Solutions
IGNITE Session Presenter
Elena Anderson-de Lay is tackling the subject of compassion fatigue and its impact on people in the mobility industry. In the current environment, when pandemic restrictions and supply chain issues create problems that have no ready solutions, people in this line of work have continued to fill their roles even as they are prevented from their customary success. "A common denominator in this industry—regardless of function—is that we are drawn to the role of trying to help people solve problems," says Anderson-de Lay. She describes this as a different kind of burnout that is particular to people in work like ours when we are confronted with problems that we cannot solve. "It saps a person's ability to do this work and reduces the reward they get out of doing it well."
Anderson-de Lay will surface the issue as well as help show how to identify it and prevent it from happening.
Eric Arnold, General Manager
Old Republic Relocation Services
Presentation: Managing Program Risk and Duty of Care in a Wild Real Estate Market
Eric Arnold will lead a panel of experts on every stage of the relocation process that discusses how the current environment is creating new complexity and risk. In the wildest market in memory, the pressures to meet client objectives are competing with the duty of care and due diligence.
"The state of the market means everything has to move much faster. In too many cases, moving fast is challenging established processes that ensure the required caution and scrutiny to safeguard the long-term interests of the transferee," says Arnold.
Arnold will guide the panel of experts through some best practices to apply in the current environment and some emerging areas of concern to pay attention to.
Jim Petzel, CEO
IGNITE Session Presenter
Jim Petzel has crisscrossed the country over a career in the mobility profession, working in the C-Suites for the major international relocation companies for more than 20 years. That experience has led him to recognize some common gaps that create friction for every professional in the relocation industry. At the same time, Petzel has preserved the beginner's mind that allows entrepreneurs to recognize friction as the opportunity to create needed solutions.
Whether you're a lifelong employee of a company or out trying to start your own business, Petzel asserts you have to be an entrepreneur. "There are six or seven key things you need to keep in mind to realize your potential contribution in any environment and elevate your career," says Petzel. One of these is resilience in the face of setbacks and failures—one point among the seven that he makes with well-known animated characters to serve as models for entrepreneurial excellence.
Larry Brouder, CRP, Global Vice President, Mobility Services
IGNITE Session Presenter
Technology cannot be the only resource. "There was a big misread of a generational shift with millennials that we could put out a system and they wouldn't need any further help," says Brouder. "But they do, and they always did need that human experience." Brouder acknowledges that relocation has become a more complex thing over the years but that there is the need and the ability to simplify it.
"There are aspects such as costs and schedules that are purely logistical," says Brouder, "and technology has made it so much more efficient. But this is a very personal experience; the needs of people also include family stability and the experience of children going through it. The simplification has brought in all of those elements where people need assistance to be successful integrating into new communities and cultures." At its ideal, Brouder sees the successful relocation as carefully balanced between applying technology and authentic human intelligence.
Lynn Greenberg, CEO
Presentation: We Can Do Better: How Mobility + Innovative Technology Can Drive New Value in The War for Talent
Mobility is a huge benefit for attracting millennials and is part of a new wave of benefits that are being tailored to win that war for talent. What role can mobility and technology play in the war for talent amidst the Great Resignation? In an environment where one in four workers are looking for a new job and companies are scrambling for talent, Lynn Greenberg has a theory of the case built on first-hand experience. Greenberg began her career as a transferee and experienced first-hand the disorientation that accompanies uprooting from the complex social structure most people take for granted.
"Companies spend $90,000 on average relocating employees, and about one-third of these quit their job or move back home due to social factors," says Greenberg. That has been the problem this industry has been working. But increasingly, as we continue to work remotely with some employees never seeing their peers face to face, the social isolation once felt by international transfers is being felt by a far greater number of knowledge workers. Greenberg sees many of the applied technologies for mobility as becoming vital for organizations in competing for and retaining talent across the board.
Morgan Crosby, Global Growth Leader
Presentation: The End of the Policy! Driving More Flexibility in Global Mobility Through Innovative Flexible Approaches
"That talent you need isn't always where you need it to be, and the pandemic hasn't changed that," says Morgan Crosby. "When we are able to do it, and where it is happening, these are critical positions we are filling." At the same time, competition has dramatically increased for high-skilled workers. "Employees seem to have the leverage to push for policies and experiences they want to have," says Crosby, "but most of the corporate world still has very rigid policies." That's where mobility has an opportunity to re-consider the way things have traditionally been done in a way the meets the strategic needs of today's organization.
Crosby will explore ways policies can be employed more creatively and meet the needs of people who want an experience that is meaningful. "Policies can do that by empowering employees to collaborate on creating a good experience instead of being used as a means of exercising control.
Simon Mason, COO & CRO
IGNITE Session Presentation
Mason is the opening act in this year's IGNITE session, kicking the session off with a look at systems thinking. "Systems thinking can be applied to all walks of life to make better decisions in work and life; I chose this partly because it is a challenge to convey this in a five-minute period."
Systems thinking, as Mason describes it, is more than the application of tools and processes to achieve predictable results, but an underlying philosophy that emphasizes the agency people have in working with an awareness of larger forces that create the conditions we grapple with. Mason's objective is to socialize this philosophy of understanding we are part of an interrelated world and have a far greater capacity to bend it to our benefit. Mason has just five minutes to reveal this ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything. Hard to imagine a better start to the IGNITE sessions.