Cleaning industry professionals from across the UK gathered at Dexter House in London on 6 November for the British Cleaning Council's 5th annual conference. Delegates at the one day event were treated to an excellent array of keynote presentations, all around the theme of the day - 'changing perceptions'.
One of the most thought-provoking deliveries came from Ruby McGregor-Smith, chief executive of Mite, who held the audience with a very engaging presentation about her rise to the top of one of the UK's biggest firms. She spoke passionately about the importance of staff, and of treating them fairly and with respect.
The pre-lunch keynote was by Tony Anderson, former marketing director for EasyJet airline boss Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Anderson shared a number of amusing anecdotes from the early days of EasyJet, and revealed some of the marketing master strokes that helped the airline - literally - get off the ground.
A key announcement was made by BCC chairman, Doug Cooke, revealing to the audience that the BCC was to become a member of the Living Wage Foundation. He signed the licence document on stage with Living Wage programme manager, Caroline Reilly, in attendance. Doug Cooke said: “It's long been our intention to join the Living Wage Foundation and it's fabulous that we can do it at our conference and in the middle of Living Wage Week.”
The day's other speakers included: Stephen Kerr from headline sponsor, Kimberly-Clark Professional; Christopher Nicholas of tech firm Sumwot Social; Ken Hanslip from NSL; Paul Lewis, managing director of Reintec; Alice Teague, head of policy at the Equality and Human Rights Commission; and Sandy Aird from Enhance Cleaning.
Proceedings were brought to an end with a lively Q&A discussion featuring Doug Cooke, Alice Teague, Chris Cracknell, chief executive of OCS Group, Stephen Kerr, and Caroline Reilly. They faced questions on a range of subjects from the audience, and from Twitter.
Marc Crank from the London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy, the conference's charity this year, was presented with a cheque for £700 by Doug Cooke, which represented a percentage of the event's ticket sales.
Neil Nixon, editor of C&M, said: “In my opinion, this was the best BCC conference to date. The presentations from Ruby McGregor-Smith, Paul Lewis and Sandy Aird were particularly thought-provoking from an industry standpoint, and the insight into the early years of EasyJet given by Tony Anderson was outstanding. This event has grown significantly in stature and quality of content - I urge more industry professionals to make time in their diaries next year to attend. They won't be disappointed.”