Growth Through People Conference 2021

Tuesday 30 March 2021 (08:30-12:30)

Boost your firm’s productivity and grow through improved leadership and people management. Join this conference to explore exceptional perspectives on themes including responsible leadership, accessing and engaging talent, unlocking potential and harnessing resilience. Take away new ideas to drive and inspire positive change within your business.         

The Chamber’s Growth Through People campaign – the only campaign of its kind across the country - aims to help organisations across the region increase their productivity through improved leadership and people management skills. In 2020 we received over 400 delegates at 8 Growth Through People workshops and training sessions and the campaign’s first digital conference, which was quickly pivoted to address key leadership and people management challenges arising as a result of the first COVID-19 lockdown. Digital thought leadership, advice and guidance published by the campaign also received 3.1 million impressions on twitter alone.

The West Midlands has a productivity shortfall in comparison to the rest of the UK. GVA per head in the WMCA area is £3,652 less for each resident than the national average.

Research has shown that one standard deviation increase in the management score of British businesses can be associated with a 5% increase in the growth rate of firm productivity.

At this year’s Growth Through People conference, learn from our inspirational keynote speakers, expert panellists and interactive workshops. The conference will be a fantastic an opportunity to network with other local leaders, managers and decision makers from businesses of all sizes looking to grow through the adoption of new, best-practice ideas. 


Jess Phillips MP

Jess Phillips is a Labour Party politician who became the MP for the constituency of Birmingham Yardley at the 2015 general election.

Jess has committed her life to improving the lives of others, especially the most vulnerable. Before becoming an MP, Jess worked for Women’s Aid in the West Midlands developing services for victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence, human trafficking and exploitation. She became a councillor in 2012, in this role she worked tirelessly to support residents, with her work being recognised when she became Birmingham's first ever Victims Champion.

Since becoming an MP, Jess has continued her fight to support those who need it the most and has earned a reputation for plain speaking since being elected, unfazed by threats and calling out sexist attitudes as she promotes women’s rights.

Jess has written two bestselling books ‘Everywoman One Woman’s Truth About Speaking The Truth’ and ‘Truth to Power: 7 Ways to Call Time on BS’. Both books reflect her commitment to speaking up and having the courage to have your voice heard and make a difference.

Rosie Ginday MBE, Founder and Managing Director, Miss Macaroon

Rosie Ginday is founder and managing director of community interest company Miss Macaroon, the only patisserie in the world that can Pantone colour match macaroons. Inspiration for the business came from Ginday’s first job. Waiting on tables in her home city of Coventry, she’d find herself chatting to homeless people as she waited to be picked up at the end of her shift. “I got to know a couple of people and one young guy’s story really resonated with me,” she says. “He went to uni, and his mum passed away in a house fire. He fell to pieces and suffered with mental health problems and I thought: ‘If that was me, I’d feel exactly the same way.’ 

She trained in professional cookery at University College Birmingham before taking a job at Michelin-starred Purnell’s in Birmingham City Centre. Here, the technical skill level of the people crafting desserts was amazing. It was later on while working at the Hyatt Regency Hotel that she came up with the granular detail for Miss Macaroon.
Miss Macaroon works with organisations such as the Department For Work And Pensions, prison probation programmes, care leavers’ services and women’s refuges to recruit trainees. Interested people attend a taster day and can then self-refer to the full course. Not all trainees go on to work in food – though some do – but the emphasis is on getting people into employment, whatever that looks like. Tours of local kitchens build networks, mentoring from graduates of the programme enhance aspirations, and everyone leaves the course with interview practice, an up-to-date CV, a five year plan and help applying for jobs for up to six months.

Her work saw Ginday invited to the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and hosted HRH the Countess of Wessex at Miss Macaroon to meet the MacsMAD trainees and graduates.

Rosie is also passionate about leadership diversity and inclusion, gaining a place on the WMCA’s Leadership commision and Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Birmingham’s WE LEAD Centre. She has won many awards including the EY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year 2016, English Woman of the Year 2018 and ABCC Outstanding Business Woman of the Year 2018.

On hearing of her New Year’s honour MBE nomination she said “I couldn’t believe it, I was in complete shock for about two days. I feel really humbled to have been chosen for our work at Miss Macaroon helping long term unemployed young people into work. It will be a huge boost to our work, youth unemployment figures stubbornly high in the city and there is a continual need to upskill and build the confidence of our young people.”

Dr Holly Birkett, Co-Director of the Work Inclusivity Research Centre, Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham

Holly is a lecturer and academic researcher in Organisational Behaviour at Birmingham Business School. Dr. Birkett’s research interests are around career transitions, gender in the workplace and family friendly policies. She is a Co-Director of the Work Inclusivity Research Centre (WIRC), an Associate of the Centre for Responsible Business, Co-Director of the Equal Parenting Project and a member of the Department of Management.

More speakers to be announced.

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