In the heart of London, England, York University and the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce joined forces and hosted a business luncheon to discuss innovation, automation and the future of work. Held at Pewterers’ Hall, home of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers – a medieval guild established in 1348 – 80 guests met to assess how universities and large business enterprises need to embrace innovation to survive, respond to societal needs and help society adapt to an ever changing world.
Special guest speakers President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri, and York alumna Moya Greene (JD ’78) CEO of the Royal Mail Group, addressed and engaged the full room. It was an opportunity to nurture relationships with alumni of influence and leaders of the local and international business community.
In his introduction of Ms. Greene, Dr. Shoukri acknowledged several similarities between them, including their efforts to help large, complex organizations confront and deal with change, to differentiate and build on strengths and to successfully evolve in increasingly competitive landscapes.
“To remain competitive in this new landscape of automation and digital disruption, governments are increasingly developing innovation policies and agendas to challenge all sectors, including academia, to contribute to knowledge mobilization and innovation in order to transform ideas into marketable products, services and business models, drive growth across all industries, and improve the lives of citizens,” said Dr. Shoukri in his remarks.
Moya Greene’s address was on the mark, presenting the effect of automation on the private sector using the example of past and future evolutions of the postal service. As CEO of the Royal Mail Group, she looks to innovate through the management of the business and development of the strategy. Prior to joining the Royal Mail, she was President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada Post, where she achieved a strong track record in strategic planning, complex negotiations and relationship building in the private sector.
The gathering was a great opportunity to engage York University students and alumni abroad, including Schulich student Roshaan Hajira, currently finishing her last semester of undergraduate studies at the University of Manchester’s Alliance Manchester Business School, and Maddaline Bertolo, a third-year student studying at Keele University in Newcastle Under-Lyme. Guidance counsellors from local high schools were among the guests to be exposed to York University to help them consider our institution as a possible destination for their high-performance students, who may be inspired by our forward thinking and path-charting vision and philosophy.
Among those in attendance were York University Vice-President Advancement Jeff O’Hagan, Dadco owner and Chairman, York alumnus and Honorary Doctor of Laws, and immediate past-President of the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce, Victor Phillip Dahdaleh, York University Director of Principal Gifts Lisa Gleva and the President of the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce William Swords.
As this event was part of Dr. Shoukri’s final months as president, he highlighted York’s decade of impact, addressing the changing and accelerating nature of automation, and acknowledging the important role for universities in anticipating the evolving nature of work and preparing students for future careers.
Photo Credit: Jose Farina