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From the Convent to the Class Room with IoD Gibraltar launch

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From the Convent to the Class Room with IoD Gibraltar launch

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This last week saw the launch of The Institute of Directors Gibraltar.

A series of events took place, starting on Thursday morning with a IoD breakfast at Solo Europort. Hosted by  Chief Economist and Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors James Sproule.

Screenshot 2017-04-09 18.18.59James started his financial career as a merchant bank economist working with Bankers Trust, Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Kleinwort, and eventually helped to found the boutique bank Augusta and Company. Before embarking on a career in finance, James was a signals officer in the Royal Navy, where he remains an honorary Lieutenant Commander.

Several of Gibraltar’s business leaders and entrepreneurs joined the breakfast and were able to have an intimate discussion with James who reflected that after a tumultuous year the UK and Gibraltar finds itself facing a very different 2017 to what was predicted this time last year.  Of course he remarked, back then, we did not forecast the event of the year, nay decade – Brexit!

James considered what might be in store for the next 12 months for Gibraltar and the UK. Brexit uncertainty, hugely complex and likely to remain the key focus, the final shape of “comprehensive trade agreement” far from assured.

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James at Solo

James talked about opportunity for Gibraltar, which as an agile environment, government and people, with a great history of adaptability will find ways to benefit from the situation whatever may present in the future. James enthused about his support for IoD in Gibraltar and the kudos that this will add to Gibraltar PLC, and more so being prepared for those future opportunities that are sure to present themselves.


Screenshot 2017-01-16 19.52.22Thursday evening saw a grand IoD dinner held at the Convent courtesy of His Excellency The Governor of Gibraltar. Attended by numerous senior business leaders and owners from Gibraltar, the dinner was hosted by Jo Haigh, our IoD course leader for ‘The Role of the Non-Executive Director’.

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Jo a hugely successful CEO and founder of FDS Corporate Finance, also specialises in putting together corporate deals for growing businesses throughout the UK. Jo has bought and sold 400 companies in the last 26 years, also having vast experience as an NED, holding 40+ non-executive roles over the same period.  Jo has sold three of her own companies and undertaken two personal MBO’s. Jo is currently NED chair on several boards.

Jo says, ‘I was 25 years old when I became a board director for the first time. I had no idea at the time what it actually meant to be a director. Back then it appeared rather grand to be a director such as having a nice car and eating lunch in dining rooms. The position meant a certain prestige and greater security. I was very lucky that I had a wonderful Managing Director who was hugely supportive of my appointment and me. In fact he is Chairman of my company now. I learnt so much during that time. We went through a management buy-out, made several acquisitions and eventually sold the business on”.

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Jo at the Convent


Jo said “I fully support IoD Gibraltar, who can support both established and aspiring leaders and Directors in Gibraltar, providing training, guidance, networking and numerous opportunities to develop skills and knowledge as professional Directors and Non-executive Directors”.

After a fabulous evening, Jo was up and Screenshot 2017-02-23 16.40.54ready Friday morning to kick off the very first IoD Award in Gibraltar ‘The Role of the Non-Executive Director”, delivering in one of the state of the art classrooms at the University of Gibraltar.

Fifteen delegates enjoyed the day with experiential learning covering:

  • Identifying the key attributes of an effective NEDScreenshot 2017-04-09 19.23.29
  • The legal and practical responsibilities of the NED
  • How a NED can help to create an effective board and how they can add value
  • Real life situations to practically apply newfound knowledge and skills to effectively deal with a range of boardroom challenges in different types of organisations



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The Board for the Day


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Contemplating challenges for the Board


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Enhancing skills


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Jo providing the benefit of her vast experience

The day was an overriding success and enjoyed by established NED’S and new NED’s, also those aspiring to these positions. Everyone agreed that their knowledge and skill levels have been enhanced significantly.

Here is what some of them had to say about the day

“As a director and chairman of small and medium size companies and having recently retired from executive responsibilities I now turn to a new phase of my life. For some years I have had the pleasure of mentoring entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into small business units. I now have the time to share my knowledge and experience as a non executive director but was unsure of the role and legal responsibilities. 

This one day course organised by the IOD at the University of Gibraltar not only gave me this practical understanding but also guided us to how best we could help create a more effective board and add value in the board room. I also found it stimulating to meet with like minded directors, a great networking opportunity.” 

Paul Moody, Chairman

“Thanks…thoroughly enjoyed it and left with some takeaways…can’t ask for more!!”

Franco Cassar

“I signed up not necessarily expecting too much. As an initial introduction it surpassed my expectations. Jo has an easy but very effective manner of presenting and involving all of the target audience. As someone new to the NED world I wish that I had done this before taking up a new directorship- it is an eye opener.

I am definitely looking forward to some of the more intensive IOD courses that I have signed up to in coming months.” 

Tony Welsh, Managing Director

Trish McCoy Associate Trainer Power of Words and Delegate ‘Role of the NED’.

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