Around 150 participants from all over the world gathered in Athens, Greece to attend two packed days of colourful and informative plenary sessions and highly interactive workshops. As befitting the conference theme of Heroes, the programme drew from Greek antiquity to the present, relating content to the business challenges we are facing today.

AGN International CEO, Malcolm Ward, said: “Our conferences focus on adding value in the areas currently critical to our members. It was great to see so many of our members connecting face-to-face and taking advantage of the programme to be well-informed as they tackle the key business issues in our industry. We covered the economic and future trends relevant to the present global talent crisis and focused on building the Next Generation of practice owners, contributing to business resilience. In smaller group sessions, members collaborated to address migrating to advisory services, outsourcing strategies, leading hybrid teams, technology developments and the value of diversity in the workplace.”

Opening keynote speaker Dr Theodoros Rapanos – Economic Analyst at Eurobank, presented a session titled Economic Uncertainty. Visual data highlighted past economic crises backed with insight into how they were overcome. Participants learned the main risks and challenges in the short, medium, and long term and were armed with the knowledge to help prepare them.  Dr Panagiotis Iossif then engaged members in an interactive session drawing out business and fiscal lessons from ancient Greece.

Closing keynote speaker Antonis Tspatakis – a Greek Paralympic champion, shared his emotional and inspirational story. Antonis’ passion for swimming began at the age of five. Following a tragic motorbike accident later in life, his need for independence and becoming active again led him back to the pool. Antonis’ power, passion and determination fuelled his heroic success. His mantra is Never stop dreaming. Anything is possible if you believe in yourself.”

AGN members were given the opportunity to nominate their own AGN hero in the run-up to the event. Shortlisted candidates were highlighted in the closing session, highlighting some incredible personal contributions to the Association, and attendees took part in a live vote to decide the winner. Congratulations to our AGN Hero of Athens, Randy Redwitz, Senior Managing Principal at Redwitz, Inc, California.

Three streamed sessions addressed key future economic trends focusing on various solutions firms can consider achieving their business goals in these challenging times.

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Topics included The Move to Advisory, Outsourcing, ‘The Value of Diversity in The WorkplaceHigh Networth Individuals and Metaverse.

During the conference, the AGN-verse was launched, along with a workshop briefing on the business implications of this emerging technology. Members could explore AGN’s new virtual reality world from their laptops or take a 360-degree tour using the VR headsets. The ‘AGN-verse’ is being piloted across the Association as the new ‘go-to’ platform for avatar meetings, webinars, AGN content and knowledge sharing.

Guest speaker Dimitris Dimitriadis’ session “Future is a Human Invention – Future mindset and how to be future-proof delved into the reality of technology in the future and got members thinking with a fast-paced and fun game. In small teams, participants collaborated to think of an object which would be useful in the future.

Guest speaker and author Artemios Miropoulos engaged his audience with stories of leadership from Ancient Greece, particularly the battle of Marathon. Participants of that session were presented with his book, The Nameless King.

Duignan Carthy O’Neill managing partner, Tim Carthy, stated: “I thought the AGN 2022 World Congress in Athens was excellent; the content was relevant, topical and well-presented. It was obvious that some thought had been put into the planning. The location and organisation were top-class – particularly in keeping delegates informed on a timely basis regarding complex transport issues. The Metaverse/Futurology session was fascinating, and the ‘Transition to Advisory’ session provided valuable key takeaways to future-proof the business. It was a well-attended event, and great to see worldwide friends and colleagues in person again after the Covid-enforced break.”

AGN also welcomed to the event the winning team of the Road to Athens 2022 NextGen programme. Three “NextGenners” from AGN firms in Texas, India and Poland each won a trip to the event for critiquing and testing the AGN Advisory Migration Methodology diagnostic tool – contributing to a valuable new tool for members.

The winning team met with other members of the AGN NextGen community to strengthen their connections and relationships, and representatives of the NextGen International Shadow Board were introduced on stage, bringing fresh and diverse thinking into the heart of the governance of our organisation.

In addition to networking activities, participants also had the opportunity to tour the city and visit the Acropolis Museum, devoted to the Parthenon and its surrounding temples. A Greek dinner at a traditional restaurant with good food, live music, dancing, and plate throwing created a lively and fun atmosphere.

The AGN World Congress 2023 takes place on 5-7 November in Tokyo, Japan.

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