PANGEO 2021 Day 1 Recap

 PANGEO 2021 Day 1 Recap

Pangeo Recap Day 1

October 20, 2021, concluded the first day of PANGEO, the largest global employment conference in the world. The main stage was graced with a stellar lineup of celebrity speakers from Sir Richard Branson and Safi Bahcall, to Globalization Partners’ customers and partners. The conference then explored the topics of building remote teams in further granularity through three tracks: Evolve, Grow, and Learn. 

Main Stage Sessions:

Nick Adams, the Vice President of EMEA, kicked off PANGEO 2021 live from the studios in Westminster, London, along with his colleague Charles Ferguson, General Manager, Asia-Pacific. 

Adams was later joined in the London studios by James Adkins, Head of Commercial at IRIS HR Consulting where they discussed “How to Increase Your Sales Internationally and Accelerate Your Company’s Growth.” The session explored how companies can make international growth impactful, as they begin to hire sales professionals in new markets. Both panelists agreed that the real challenge isn’t solving for today, but having a far-sighted vision and looking into the future. 

“It’s about growth. When we hire salespeople and look at going into new markets, the question is, why are you doing it?”
– James Adkins, Head of Commercial, IRIS HR Consulting

The next main stage session on How Tech Firms Can Grow Globally Faster Than Other Businesses was moderated by Mark Hedley, Vice President of Talent Recruiting, Globalization Partners, along with speakers Russ Shaw, CBE Founder, Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates; Kevin Smith, Global Co-Chair of Emerging Giants Centre of Excellence for Private Enterprise, KPMG; and Janet Coyle, Managing Director Business, London & Partners.

Scale-ups are currently surviving or thriving in the new world of work, but those technology companies that have created global remote teams that are both resilient and agile are doing particularly well in these challenging times. One of the major takeaways from this panel session was that collaboration and inclusion are critical for managing a successful and productive remote, global team.

“Many tech leaders are now shifting in the way they recruit and are hiring for values and culture, as opposed to purely skills.” Janet Coyle, Managing Director Business, London & Partners.


Today’s workforce has become increasingly decentralized and highly mobile. While the advent of technology is now a driving factor in facilitating the mobile workforce, the desire for flexible working arrangements has been on the rise, too. Managing the Mobile Workforce – Top Countries for Global Mobility and Relocation” was the next topic of discussion, where Diane Albano, Chief Revenue Officer at Globalization Partners, moderated a panel session with Graham McKechnie, Global Tax Director at activpayroll, and Paul Bennett, Co-Founder at Perchpeek.

Companies are now dealing with increasingly global operations, with a growing need for highly specialized talent across various geographies. This is making attracting and retaining the right people difficult unless companies adopt a more dynamic talent and work model, driven by technology. Albano continued the moderation for the next panel, with industry leaders Marc Coleman, Founder & CEO, UNLEASH; Shane Gray, Advisor, TAtech; Johnny Campbell, Co-Founder & CEO, SocialTalent; and Wendy Muirhead, Vice President of Ceridian, Europe, on the topic “The Next Wave in HR Technology.”

Globalization Partners Founder & CEO, Nicole Sahin then had a fireside chat with Safi Bahcall, Author of LOONSHOTS, and Ex-CEO (Biotech). They discussed the fundamentals of successful business growth, and the main factors that drive a company forward. Companies must aim for longevity by letting creativity flourish, and must focus on structured imaginative thinking. Both also agreed that leaders must avoid getting complacent with success. Additionally, Safi agreed that while remote work has both pros and cons, the trick is knowing how to manage the cons. Fostering creativity in the remote world is important for employees coming from different backgrounds, as it helps bring innovation to the mix.

“The one characteristic that distinguishes successful companies is their ability to try new things and experiment.” – Safi Bahcall, Author, LOONSHOTS; Ex-CEO (Biotech).

The final main stage session was the highlight of day one, when Nicole Sahin sat down with Sir Richard Branson, the legendary British entrepreneur and Founder of the Virgin Group, to talk about his lifelong mission of thinking beyond boundaries and borders to achieve what has never been done.

The advice given by Sir Richard Branson when asked about building global teams was that companies must begin by choosing the right team, and truly engaging with them. Getting to know and trust your people, and having curiosity about your team, how they deal with people, and who they really are is an important criterion at the Virgin Group.

Evolve Track:

The Evolve track focused on how companies can successfully establish the foundations of their international business growth through three main topics — strategies to find the best talent in emerging geographic hubs, building a global employer brand to attract and retain top talent globally, and navigating the common unknowns of international hiring. 

As more companies are looking to succeed in the global remote workplace, many are turning to emerging geographic hubs to secure the talent that they want.

“When you are hiring for local talent one of the things you want to make sure of is that you are ready to go when you actually start releasing the requisition and going to market because talent doesn’t wait and it certainly doesn’t wait in this market.” Trayc Keevans, Global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Director, Morgan McKinley.

Employer branding has also become a key element to attract and retain the best people for the job. A positive employer brand is crucial, as it signifies the company is a good employer and a great place to work.

“A strong employer brand will enable you to more quickly hire the right people for your organization while keeping your existing top talent engaged and performing well.” — Allie Kovalik, Community & Culture Manager, Globalization Partners.

It is without a doubt that the current world of work is very much a candidate’s market, with companies understanding that it is no longer simply about the benefits package — it is less about the financial, and more about the potential for future growth of prospective employees. Gen Y and Gen Z are the leaders of the future, so it is crucial for companies to tap into their desires and aspirations on a professional and personal level.

“In the real world, you can find passive candidates and their second or third question is, ‘Are they working remotely?’ and if the answer is ‘hybrid or no,’ a lot of them will say ‘Thanks but no thanks.’” – Giora Gil-Ad, CEO, CQ Global.

Grow Track:

The Grow track focused on the internationalization strategies to enter new markets and scale your company. The era of digital transformation has brought with it new opportunities and challenges for companies, and the best way to set up for success was discussed through three main topics — building high-performing diverse global teams, international growth mistakes to avoid, and how to scale a company without sinking.

Employees are the heartbeat of a company, and the very essence that drive a company forward. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are no longer just must-haves for companies aspiring to go global — they act as proven growth drivers.

“Give your team access to other people that are working in other departments, because once they know where they fit in that big puzzle, it allows the company to function better. If you just think about your particular position, you’re functioning in a silo.” Suki Fuller, Founder, Miribure.

A common question facing company leaders is the definition of remote work — whether it is work from home, or work from anywhere. The trick is understanding that every company functions differently, and has a different purpose. They must first begin by listening to their employees for their needs.

“Companies need to be considerate of that, and put some money behind that, as there are co-working spaces globally. Companies can budget for remote teams to work from hotels, cafés as not everyone wants to work from home the whole time,” Joe Batten, Head of Business Development and Partnerships at Hubble.

Learn Track:

One of the most daunting challenges for companies aspiring to go global is complying with the myriad of rules, regulations and policies set in place by governments for doing international business. The Learn track breaks down the most common compliance challenges companies face through three main tracks — steps to overcome the common compliance challenges of building remote teams, navigating the complex process of international taxation, and generating value through the right exit strategies.

Compliance at a global level should become executive priority, and must be backed by proactive management. This is of utmost importance, as the casualties of non-compliance could result in loss of trust in stakeholders, investors, and customers.

“There is a clear sense of responsibility of business leaders towards compliance.” — Mairead Divilly, Partner Financial Management and Outsourcing Services, Mazars Ireland.

A common mistake companies often make is being unprepared for sending employees to other countries for work, and not thinking about its implications. The compliant benefits packages, pensions, medical coverage, vary from country to country, and should be looked into with utmost care.

“It is very sensible for an employer to partner with a specialist in the particular jurisdictions that the workers are going to be sent to.” — Alastair Kendrick, Director at AK Employment Tax Services Limited.

Business owners looking for an exit in the post-pandemic and globalized market must focus on an increasingly detailed process of due-diligence.

“One of the most common hurdles business owners face during the exit phase is making sure they have ample time allocated and available to keep the company on track.”  — Espen Vestli, Business Area Director, Azets Insights AS.

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