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London President: A year of bringing people together

In her last article before handing over the reins to her successor, LSCA President Helen Brennan reflects on the achievement of bringing London ICAEW members together “in interesting times”

"Helen

June 2019

This is the last opinion I’ll be writing as President of the London Society of Chartered Accountants. I’m delighted that, with the exception of the 2019 Annual Dinner, which will take place on 13 June 2019, the last event I will have hosted as President was an event for Younger Members London called Connecting the dots – building your network for the future.

While welcoming 50 or so members qualified within the last 10 years to KPMG’s headquarters at 15 Canada Square, I was finally able to own up to the fact that I’ve never been particularly comfortable with networking.

That discomfort hasn’t stopped me from building my network because I’m motivated by the fact that building a network:

  • Opens up opportunities in the broadest possible sense;
  • Allows you to define yourself on your own terms; and
  • Makes life more rewarding and fulfilling.

For me, building my network through engaging with ICAEW and LSCA has brought me opportunities to influence policy, to shape content and to develop my own skills, not least in the area of leadership. It has allowed me to move away from being defined by a job title on a business card to being defined by what I actually do and the reputation I have created for myself.

Most importantly, it has been the means through which I have developed relationships of lasting value, with people who are not just mentors but also friends.

Thanks to LSCA, no recently-qualified chartered accountant in London needs to start building a network from scratch, and for established professionals there are plenty of opportunities to continue to build on the foundations.

If I’m asked what has been achieved by LSCA over the last year, I could point to specifics such as the development of the new Essentials CPD programme, the increase in the number of younger members represented on LSCA’s Main Committee and representing London as elected members of ICAEW Council, and new, popular events, such as the panel debate on journalism followed by Christmas networking in the club at One Moorgate Place.

On the other hand, I could simply say: “We have brought people together.” Against the backdrop of the “interesting times” of the last year, what greater achievement could there be than that?

Helen Brennan is President of the London Society of Chartered Accountants

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