The two-day Sustainable Leadership conference, hosted by the Executive Club took place 26-27 April in Warsaw.

With the rise of globalisation and increased tension on the political stage, leaders are debating how to strengthen Europe’s position in the world. Last week, economists, business leaders and politicians gathered in Warsaw for the fifth European Executive Forum. The sustainable leadership conference focused on the business environment, boosting entrepreneurship and social challenges. Organized by the Warsaw-based Executive Club, the event featured key speakers with diverse backgrounds – from publishing to politics and the panels featured executives and educators.

Prof. Guy Standing addressed a room of leaders from various sectors.

After a controversial speech by historian and professor Guy Standing about the corruption of capitalism and the precariat social class, Timothy Garton Ash – historian, writer and professor – stepped up to the podium to speak about the challenges of populism and the individual crises Europe is facing today. He made an argument about some of the general shared causes of this existential crisis sweeping through the continent.

The first panel discussion was about the business world at a time of uncertainty in Europe. The discussion focused on the state of Poland’s labour market and productivity as well as current policies which hinder development. The panelists also talked about the changes to the market and adapting and operating on markets with a high level of unpredictability.

Panelists discuss business in a Europe of uncertainty.

Another panel discussion looked toward the future and how to react to new opportunities on the market. Representatives from companies such as Google, Orange and MasterCard offered insights about supporting entrepreneurship and provided advice on how leaders can create a work environment that encourages the development of new ideas.

An expert in strategy, marketing and pricing, Hermann Simon spoke about global gross rates, exports and the world’s strongest economies. He outlined strategies companies can implement to become serious global contenders. The final panel discussion of the day was informational technologies and how the workforce must adapt to operational changes. The first day concluded with the European Leadership awards gala.

On the second day of the conference, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland, Eamon Gilmore, gave his perspective as a policy maker and political leader in his opening keynote speech. He talked about his experience over a four-year period as the leader of Ireland during a period of deep economic crises and how he handled the situation and the lessons he learned.

Winners of the European Leadership Awards

Following his speech, panelists talked about how European companies measure up on the global arena. Polish leaders from companies such as Oknoplast Group, PwC in Poland and Xerox Poland discussed Poland’s position on the EU and global market. They mentioned that some companies struggle to reach global recognition and must have visions for expansion. They suggested smaller companies work together to achieve world-wide success.

Professor Joseph Pistrui spoke about the impact of technology and the magnitude of change in an interconnected world. He discussed the connection between human activity and robotic activity in the tech-age and how leaders can respond to this change. Following his keynote speech, panelists stayed on the topic of technology and what new models businesses can implement during this technological revolution.

The final panel of the forum focused on managing an open-model company and how leaders can improve their strategies to improve the work environment and improve relations between management and employees in corporations as well as small and medium sized companies.

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