Thomas’s Thoughts – September 2020

Dear Members,

As I pen the first of my column as the new Chairman of XTEND, following our AGM last week, I would like to echo the Committee’s warmest thanks to Calum Byers for his quiet but strong leadership over the last couple of years. Calum has agreed to stay on the Committee and I look forward to his advice from Edinburgh.

A Tale of Two Halves

Calum kicked-off proceedings and reviewed 2019/20. The year had started with our traditional monthly face-to-face networking events culminating with a well-attended joint meeting hosted by Scotland House in March. Calum reflected on the successful switch, post-COVID-19, to twice monthly meetings on Zoom, enabling non-London based members to join in as well – click the link here to view the 2019/20 meetings
In spite of the lockdown, 4 new members joined following our on-line sessions, which I take as a positive sign.

Our New Committee
In the main, most of the faces will already be familiar to you. However, I welcome James Leeper on board for “Country and Overseas” members!
I would also add my warmest thanks to Peter Giles, our Acting-Treasurer, for steadfastly providing the Financial Report for 2019/20 and highlighting the Budget for 2020/21. The latter, a rather difficult exercise in current times, is based on 4 face-to-face meetings, 2 sponsored face-to-face meetings and the rest on Zoom.
We will continue to be ably assisted by Sue Owen and Joan Deans, our steadfast Admin Team.

Looking Forward

In the middle of the pandemic, as we “celebrated” 20 years of XTEND (formerly The Executive Network), I reflected on:
• how to keep our network relevant in what is business as unusual?
• how many on-line meetings would we keep attending at the end of another busy virtual day?
• how soon before we are able to meet up face to face?
• last but not least, how to turn Zoom meetings into “proper” networking sessions?

After formal proceedings, a lively debate took place with several suggestions:
• “Rule of 6” permitting, revive self-funded face-to-face local lunches;
• re-invigorate Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and create new ones (eg. Finance, Procurement, etc.);
• testing a new format such as Huddle groups and platforms such as Remo;
• but more specifically, foster an environment for members – existing and new – needing an established network to find new roles post-furlough scheme.

Further Talks

As Speaker Co-ordinator I want to thanks all our members who suggested speakers and indeed our very own members who volunteered to do so. Please do keep coming up with names, topics and thoughts for format (talk, panel, etc.)

The next talk about “Compassionate and Mindful Leadership” will be delivered by Linda Doe, an Occupational Psychologist, on Tuesday 6th October at 6pm.

Our Challenge

How to mix the best between face-to-face and on-line meetings? I would encourage you to share your thoughts and suggestions to me on [email protected]

I look forward to seeing you on-line and in person as we get into our stride this coming year.


Thomas Saltiel