Acacia Attends Simmons Leadership Conference in Dublin, Ireland

By Lisa Crewe | Posted on November 18, 2019

Acacia was once again proud to support the professional development of its women employees through participation in the Simmons Leadership Conference in Dublin, Ireland on November 5 – 6, 2019. This year’s conference theme, Designing Success, focused on the need for women leaders to constantly reinvent themselves and redefine what it means to succeed. Each of the outstanding speakers had a fascinating story to tell about setting her own measure of success and, by example, inspiring others to do the same.

For me, listening to icons such as Dame Jane Goodall was so motivating not only by what they have accomplished personally, but also by the path they have forged for all women for decades to come. I was honored to spend two days listening to and interacting with many of the accomplished women attending the conference, and I was proud to represent Acacia, who has continually supported programs for its women employees.

Here is a picture of the Acacia employees on-site at the conference.

We were all inspired by the roster of highly accomplished and world-renowned presenters at this year’s event. Here is what some of my colleagues had to say:

Dr. Colm Cryan, Managing Director – Ireland

“I was delighted to spend two days listening to thought leaders at the Simmons Leadership Conference. They surfaced some big forces for change, such as: the center of global activity is drifting towards Asia, the technological displacement of work is accelerating, and the changing climate is impacting how and where people live. The path we are on is unsustainable and blaming others is not a solution. Today’s leaders need to be braver; and they need to create organizations that facilitate greater diversity and inclusivity so that organizations can find a better path forward.”

Janene Asgeirsson, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary

“Tererai Trent (“Education is a Human Right”) and Noreena Hertz (“The Five Forces that are Transforming our World”) were my two stand out speakers.  Tererai’s story of the baton, carried by her great grandmother and passed down through generations was eye opening. This made me think about the beliefs and experiences that we should be passing on in our own lives.

Noreena spoke of political, technical and geopolitical risks that are negatively impacting our world today, but also spoke about how we can address these disruptions through high performance teamwork and more focus on community and eliminating distractions.  She stressed the importance of listening to each other’s opinions and views and striving to find common ground.  This is something we could definitely use more of in today’s world.”

Angela Cross – Planning

“My favorite speakers were Noreena Hertz, Tererai Trent, Jane Goodall and Margaret Heffernan. While they were four very different women, they all had a similar message on how valuable women are and the real difference we can make in the world. And while they all gave great advice, my favorite was from Noreena who said that in this digital age, we live in a state of continuous response allowing very little time to think. To combat this in our day-to-day lives, we should do the following:

  • Batch emails – read them every 2-3 hours
  • Do an email audit – Is it important, do I need to send an email or can a conversation be more or as effective?
  • Take a digital sabbath, i.e. one day a week ban mobile phones, social media, computers etc.
  • Carve out time in the day to just think

Neasa O’Donovan, Director Sales Operations

“There were many ‘nuggets’ handed down over the course of the conference.

I enjoyed Yang Lan who is a well-known talk show host, journalist and a successful businesswoman in China. She was quietly spoken but no doubt is a force to be reckoned with, given her success in China. This was her advice on building bridges instead of walls:

  • Stay true to yourself
  • Be brave and step outside of your comfort zone
  • Try to work for something bigger than yourself
  • Help other women
  • Learn the art of giving

I also enjoyed journalist Fatima Bhutto and Tererai Trent, but the ‘icing on the cake’ was Dame Jane Goodall, who gave the audience a reality check on mobilizing the collective power of individual action. She gushed about the energy and passion in young people and how this gave her reason for hope. She stressed the importance of using our brains and harnessing the indomitable human spirit. It was inspiring to see such hope, inquisitiveness and determination.”

We all enjoyed the traditional Irish dinner and networking event and were fortunate to be able to have a group photo taken with Tererai Trent. It was a great conference! Thanks Simmons for putting together such a powerful agenda. Once again, you did not disappoint!