Chairing the Digital Leaders: Visionaries Unite at the Impact Summit 2024

Written by Leigh Smyth, Founder, Impact Match

In the dynamic world of digital leadership, the year 2024 marked a significant Impact Summit, such impactful discussions across ESG initiatives. It was an honour to serve as Chair for this event and I wanted to share some of my personal highlights.  

The role of digital leaders in shaping sustainable practices and driving positive change has never been more imperative. The gathering of such a great bunch of individuals at the Trampery was a testament to the commitment towards a more sustainable future, and for me and many others I spoke to created such a sense of pride in the strides the UK is making towards a better world.

Reflecting on the day, several key points I wanted to share

Foremost among them was the awe-inspiring showcase of finalists and award winners, whose contributions warrant attention and recognition. I highly recommend exploring their work further, which can be found here. I especially wanted to congratulate Matt Adam who was awarded the Founders Award after a really endearing speech about Matt and both of their founder journeys from Gori Yahaya. 

Addressing the ‘E’ in ESG, CGI’s Head of Sustainability, Mattie Yeta set the tone with a poignant discussion on the significance of data in driving sustainable development. Her wealth of experience in this arena provided compelling insights into emerging focal points from very comprehensive slides. A notable highlight was the panel discussion featuring Dr. Maria Carvalho of NatWest, shedding light on the bank’s proactive approach in supporting sustainable practices among the UK’s SME sector. Dr. Carvalho underscored the pivotal role financial institutions play in facilitating the transition to a net-zero economy, emphasising the importance of customer engagement and the provision of tailored tools and services. Dr. Carvalho’s presentation showcased NatWest’s initiatives, including empowering SMEs to track their carbon footprint and that of their supply chain partners which was impressive to see. 

Andrew Morris, VP at aql, furthered the conversation by elaborating on the utilisation of “Good Energy,” offering valuable insights into aql’s pioneering efforts in this area. Julie Furnell, CEO of Mobilityways, shared compelling insights into the environmental benefits stemming from remote working, particularly in achieving Zero Carbon Commuting.

Then onto the ‘S’ in ESG, Duncan Parker, MD of The 44 Group, delivered a keynote on the Purpose Revolution, emphasising the role of investment in driving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Then the panel, featuring Moses Setler of Screen Share and Becky Burgess of Rochdale Borough Council, highlighted the transformative potential of digital inclusion, with an incredible story on the impact of refugees and community support initiatives.

Julia Chippendale from We Are Group advocated for a unified “one front door” approach supported by technology to streamline support services for vulnerable people, exemplifying this through partnerships such as the excellent one with Lloyds Banking Group to provide digital skills assistance from the comfort of people’s homes.

Turning to the ‘G’ in ESG, discussions centered on governance amidst societal challenges. David Kempster shared insights into property-level governance, while Mariam Chrichton, CEO of 7Sataya, articulated the importance of global technology solutions in fostering positive impact.

Louise Campton of Primary Goal shared an inspiring narrative of leveraging training levies for continuous professional development (CPD) in schools. We then had Gori Yahaya of Upskill Universe and Elizabeth Vega, CEO of Informed Solutions, engaged in a thought-provoking dialogue on organisational culture management, which from what I could see really resonating deeply with the audience.

Finally, what a team!  special acknowledgment goes to the Digital Leaders Team for their commendable efforts, supported by Daisi Parker on the day too. The magnitude of their accomplishments, including hosting numerous events and honouring outstanding organisations, underscores their dedication to fostering meaningful change. This fantastic event was in a week where the team also led 80 other events with 12,000 registrations. Just incredible. 

Looking ahead, it is evident that digital leaders will continue to exert a profound influence on ESG initiatives, setting new benchmarks for responsible leadership and sustainable business practices. The journey towards a more sustainable and inclusive world remains ongoing, with digital leaders spearheading the transformative agenda and I am so proud to have played a small part in the day

Can’t wait for next year! 

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