Business leaders and executives gather for ‘Festival of Ideas’

BY: Graphic Business
Speakers and participants in a group photograph
Speakers and participants in a group photograph

Business leaders and executives across the country last Thursday gathered at the Marriot Hotel for the 12th edition of the Festival of Ideas, Ghana’s pre-eminent leadership development conference.

The conference, which was organised by Legacy & Legacy, was held on the theme ‘Leveraging Strategy, Technology and Best Practices.”

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The event brought together speakers such as Social Media Consultant & Educator, Naa Oyoo Kumodzi; the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Mr Kenneth Ashigbey; the CEO of Legacy & Legacy, Mrs Comfort Ocran; the Customer Development Director at Unilever Ghana, Ms Gladys Amoah, and the Director of Budgeting at the Ministry of Finance, Ms Eva Mends.

Other speakers included the Human Resource Executive of MTN Ghana, Amma Benneh-Amponsah; the Enterprise Architect at Oracle, Mr Franklin Asare; the President of CILT Ghana, Mr Ebo Hammond and the Second Deputy Governor of Bank of Ghana, Mrs Elsie Awadzi.

One of the standout features for this year’s convocation was the group coaching sessions, where participants engaged in interactive learning sessions with business thought leaders on topics ranging from compliance to social media.


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Mrs Awadzi, speaking on compliance, said as the regulatory burden on enterprises increased, there was the need for businesses to prioritise maintaining compliance.

Despite the present cost of ensuring compliance, she said it was necessary to safeguard the business’ future prospects.

“For compliance to succeed on a corporate level, it must be enforced on the individual level.

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Personal compliance can be promoted by integrating compliance into the culture and making it easier to raise red flags,” she noted.

Corporate governance

Touching on corporate governance, Mrs Ocran urged the participant not to just be part of the organisational system.

“You must take mental responsibility and ownership for your role in the organisation to perform at your best. There is a key individual component to upholding corporate governance systems,” she stated.

Social media

Ms Kumodzi also pointed out that social media was the future of businesses and it was, therefore, imperative that all enterprises take advantage to avoid being left out.

For companies trying to develop an online presence, she said it was necessary that a comprehensive strategy be developed from the onset.

She said the strategy should ensure that employees were fully briefed on what was acceptable to post on social media.

Finance and Budgeting

For her part, Ms Mends also advised the participants to determine how much their organisations were willing to spend before making a budget.

She urged them to ensure that all relevant stakeholders were consulted during budget development.

“During budget implementation, companies must exercise discipline and be compliant to stick to the budget. Quarterly and mid-year reviews are critical to determine if any adjustments are needed during budget implementation, however, the limits must still be adhered to.

Discipline is key,” she explained.

Night with great ideas

The evening component of the conference, dubbed “A Night with Great Minds”, was the zenith of the event.

The night commenced with a networking dinner and a musical cabaret, followed by a presentation by the Managing Director of Tullow Ghana, Mr Kweku Awotwi.

Mr Awotwi challenged the audience to grapple with Africa’s potential, citing projections of US$4 trillion worth of consumer spending, as well as a labour force of a billion people on the continent by the year 2035.

Ms Yolanda Cuba also spurred on the gathered captains of industry with a rousing presentation on the potential of technology to be a disruptor or enabler.

She stunned the crowd with her conclusion “Is technology a disruptor or an enabler? I really don’t care.

It is a tool available to you.

It takes no prisoners and all people are subject to it.

Disrupt or be disrupted”.

The keynote speaker, Dr Mensa Otabil, delivered a thought-provoking address on what it would take for meaningful progress to be made in the African context.

He extolled attendants to target double digit growth, challenging Ghana to design our economic policy to pursue minimum 20% growth to bridge the current development gap.

He also expounded on the importance of having the audacity to dream and write new narratives for Africa.

Dr Otabil wrapped up the conference with a call on African leaders to cultivate an environment that empowers people to break the mould.