The Double-Wicked Challenge Articles

Eithne O’Leary in conversation with…

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Over the last eight months Eithne O’Leary, President of Stifel Europe has hosted a series of roundtable discussions on Britain as she copes with the twin challenges of Brexit and the Pandemic. In this series of one-to-one interviews with four of the participants, Eithne discusses a range of issues that are being faced by businesses.

Topics included in the conversations are the new hybrid working patterns, the future of the UK High Street, women in financial services, the possibility of central bank digital currencies and the real nature of workplace diversity.

Eithne O’Leary, President of Stifel Europe, introduces this collection of interviews, providing an overview of the programme and an introduction to the guests featured.

Wendy Jephson, Head of Product Research & Ideation at Nasdaq, spoke about the challenge and benefits of the last year and the shift towards hybrid or home working.  Wendy spoke about the need for leadership, the ability to experiment and reinventing the working environment so that it works best for everyone: ‘It’s about leadership and vision’

Lesley Smith, Vice President of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs at Revolut, spoke about the shift in usage patterns for Revolut and the way in which the pandemic has encouraged the growth of contactless and cashless transactions. Lesley also spoke about the shift in working cultures and growth of workplace flexibility since the pandemic and how it can be mutually beneficial for employees and employers.

Simon McDougall, Executive Director of Technology Policy and Innovation at the Information Commissioner’s Office, spoke about the role technology has played during the pandemic,  the challenges of digital exclusion,  the role of regulators and governments in tackling misinformation as well as the ongoing debates about privacy and technology.

Ruth Sunderland, Business Editor of The Daily Mail, spoke about the ongoing debate about high streets and the challenges around the access to cash, as well as the rise of cryptocurrencies and the consequences of remote working amid debates about the return to the office. Ruth also spoke about the need for greater gender equality in STEM, the struggles of younger workers, and the tradeoffs of remote versus in-person working.

Here Eithne O’Leary summarises the discussions and reminds us of the need to seize the moment and make 2021 a year of change.

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