IOE and IT members reflect on a valuable day of discussion and learning

Wed 5 Jul 2023
Posted by: Richard Cree
IOE News

People networking at MemberCon23

If the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT)’s MemberCon23 event is about one thing, it is about the membership. Here, the Daily Update gets reactions from some of the members present at today’s event.

Adriana Santos, head of international at Tracklements, said this was her first time attending MemberCon. She particularly liked the format of the main sessions, which featured interactive panels with extensive questions from the audience:

“Normally, you go to these types of events, and you sit through presentations on slides, sometimes with people just reading from the slides. It can be repetitive and tiring. With these panel discussions the audience is able to engage with the subject and get more involved.”

Santos, added that seeing that other people in the room are in the “same boat” as her in terms of dealing with customs complexities was her favourite part of the day:

“It was great to hear from other businesses that have overcome these issues and can learn from them.”

Santos took part in one of the panels and said that she enjoyed the fact that the discussions carried on into the breaks:

“The discussions in the networking breaks were really good and because I was on a panel people came to find me because they liked what I said.”

Katie Birrell, head of international sales at Nairn’s Oatcakes, also a panellist, said the most interesting part for her was the networking and “hearing other people's views and experiences”.

A big takeaway for Birrell was a warning about HMRC audits and the need to make sure the business was fully compliant:

“I think it’s hit home that we need to make sure that we are compliant, right through the supply chain. I think that's been the thing that stuck in my mind and that I am going back to investigate.”

“It was helpful understanding the impact, and the fact that HMRC are obviously very interested in compliance and the repercussions if you’re not. I'm sure we are fine, but I just want to make sure that everyone in the business is up to speed with everything they need to be.”

Chris Woodington, co-founder at Exabler, said he enjoyed watching “traders having such valuable conversations, breaking down barriers and talking about some of the issues facing them.”

As an exhibitor, Woodington said it was also useful for him and his business to observe first-hand the value that his product was giving to customers.

David Akintade, CEO of Teximarco, had travelled from Nigeria especially for the conference. He has been a member of IOE&IT for 40 years. He was most impressed with the progress the Institute has made:

“We have never seen IOE&IT this way before.”

Akintade found the discussion on Freeports particularly valuable. He said the whole event had given him more knowledge and the chance to meet people.

“I was able to meet many people who are members of the institute. I've met some people who have promised they will follow up with me. I'm really impressed. I've gained a lot of things from this.”

For IOE&IT chief operating officer, Kelly Rawles, this sums up the ideal takeaway from the day. In her closing remarks she urged members to carry on the conversations started in Liverpool:

“I hope that everyone can take something useful away from today. It was amazing to see people travelling from Nigeria, Australia and Brussels to be part of the event. The main thing is that we want to urge that the many conversations continue after today.”