About the Mid-West Society

The Mid West Society was re-established in 2007 and represents the interests of over 1,200 local business leaders, who are employed in senior financial positions in industry, commerce and practice. As a young and dynamic group of professionals (58% are under 40 years of age), the Society not only provides professional development and social networking opportunities but also has the necessary energy and ambition to foster enterprise in the region. Shelagh Marshall is Chairman for 2017/2018.

 

News

Pre-planning is key to an AGM's success, and maintaining a checklist from the outset can be beneficial for everyone involved, says Grainne Howard, Director of Corporate Governance and Compliance at Baker Tilly Hughes Blake. The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is an important event in any company’s yearly calendar. An AGM is an opportunity for the company’s directors to report and be questioned on the performance of the company while giving the members an opportunity to vote on resolutions.  Where the holding of an AGM has not been dispensed with (as provided for in qualifying circumstances under Companies Act 2014) the meeting must be properly convened, constituted and conducted. Pre-planning is key to an AGM's success, and maintaining a checklist from the outset can be beneficial for everyone involved. Before the meeting Familiarise yourself with the constitution and Companies Act 2014 Some companies have specific regulations regarding the convening of an AGM. It is important to familiarise yourself with the notice periods, quorums and those who are entitled to attend and vote at the meeting. Get the timing right Directors often have the task of setting the time and date of the AGM. However, it is important to remember the rules of the Companies Act 2014 which state that the first AGM must be held within 18 months of the company’s incorporation. The AGM must then be held within 15 months of the previous AGM. Additionally, it is important to note that an AGM must be held in every calendar year. Set the location An AGM may be held inside or outside of the State. If held outside of the State, the company must arrange for the technological needs of the members. When choosing the venue, consideration must be given to members’ health and safety, and their ease of accessibility. Consider and set the agenda The agenda must be discussed with the Chair. The business conducted at an AGM usually includes the declaration of a dividend, consideration of the company's accounts and reports, the election of directors in place of those retiring and the appointment of the company's auditors and the fixing of their remuneration. It is important to reflect on the year passed and the forthcoming year. Are there matters that need to be approved by the members, such as a change to the constitution or change of name? Give agenda items good thought. Meet the required notice period  Notice of the meeting and a copy of the financial statements must be sent to those entitled to attend and vote 21 clear days prior to the meeting. The members and auditors (where appointed) may consent to shorter notice. Proxies Any member of a company entitled to attend and vote at a meeting of the company shall be entitled to appoint another person to attend and vote in their place. The executed proxy should be deposited at the registered office 48 hours before the meeting. A schedule of proxies received, the votes cast and the date upon which they were received, should be maintained. Check technology It is important to arrive to the meeting in advance to ensure the room is ready and confirm all equipment required is working. This will prevent any delay during the meeting. At the meeting Have all required paperwork Ensure copies of all documents including the agenda are available at the meeting and that required documentation is open for inspection, such as combined registers, AGM minutes and constitution. Take minutes According to the Companies Act 2014, the minutes of general meetings must be kept. To ensure their accuracy, it is recommended that the appointed secretary or minute-taker possess the necessarily skills involved. Get the numbers A quorum must be present before the meeting can commence. Companies Acts 2014 states that the quorum for a private limited company (other than a single-member company) is two members. However, the company can set a higher quorum in its constitution. Keep to the agenda Cover all items on and don’t encourage deviation from the agenda. Sometimes other issues come up. Be sure to address them as quickly but thoroughly as appropriate to be sure the agenda items are ticked off. Ensure that votes and polls are conducted in accordance with the constitution By ensuring that all voting procedures are done as laid out in the constitution, you guarantee their validity. After the meeting Housekeeping To close out the AGM successfully, you should ensure that all papers are collected from the room, place signed minutes in the minute book and file any documentation required with the Companies Registration Office, within the required time frame.   Grainne Howard is the Director of Corporate Governance and Compliance at Baker Tilly Hughes Blake.

Jan 22, 2018
News

Orla Brosnan, CEO of the Etiquette School of Ireland, says strategic networking, rather than a 'work the room' approach, is the best way to build relationships and can aid your career development. The term ‘networking’ often conjures up images of people standing in a room engaging in stilted conversations and looking uncomfortable. It’s something that is seen by many as a chore with no perceived benefits. However, networking is an excellent way of making and building new professional relationships, and when approached in a strategic manner, can be very beneficial for career development.  Prepare yourself While walking into an event and winging it might sound like the easy thing to do, to get the most out of networking events, advance planning is needed. Forget about ‘working the room’. You need to establish objectives and research who is going to be at the event, focusing on those who you are interested in building a genuine relationship with. Putting the groundwork in may take more time, but preparations can pay dividends for your career progression.   Getting to know you It might sound cliché, but a good, firm handshake is not to be under-estimated when you want to make a good first impression. A firm handshake suggests someone who is authoritative and professional. On the other hand, a weak handshake leaves the impression of someone who is characterless. Just be sure that your handshake isn’t too strong; this can come across as over-powering and off-putting. Good networking is not a one-way street; it’s important listen. Be generous with your time and invest in conversations. Get to know the person you are talking to and take real interest in what they are saying. After all, the more you know about a person, the more opportunities you have to establish genuine, effective connections. Building rapport   Good interpersonal skills are a valuable asset when networking. Doing simple things like making eye contact and smiling can project a friendly and welcoming demeanour.   If you researched your audience, you should know what topics may arise during the event. Be well-read, aware of current affairs and up-to-date on the news of the day. You’ll be able to conduct and take part in conversations around the room more easily and establish a rapport with other attendees. If the people you hope to meet have a particular interest, do your homework so you can discuss the topic with confidence.  Although current events are important, don't let the conversation get too heavy. Having an interesting conversation about current affairs can work well to build relationships, but make sure that the topic doesn’t veer into something too intense that might divide the group or bring down the tone of the evening. Relationship building The networking event itself is just the start of the relationship. Maximise the contacts that you’ve established by following up with them afterwards. Suggest meeting for a coffee or propose having a meeting to explore mutually beneficial opportunities. Opening and maintaining lines of communication should be a key objective of strategic networking, so continuing to build the relationship long after the networking event is over is vital.  Finally, remember that when you’re at a networking event, you are essentially advertising yourself so put forward your best self. If you approach networking as a tool to aid career progression and development, you will have a much more enjoyable, productive and beneficial experience. Orla Brosnan is the CEO and Founder of the Etiquette School of Ireland.

Jan 22, 2018
News

Imagine your company managed its finances like it manages its employees; ignoring red flags, not following up with debtors and sitting down once a year to have a retrospective conversation about what went well and what didn’t. You wouldn’t be in business very long! Yet this is how managers often treat their most valuable resource: people. There is a very real cost associated with failing to give appropriate feedback, including confused priorities, missed opportunities and disengaged employees. Giving feedback is a key management responsibility (and a good life skill for anyone), but it’s the one managers avoid the most – particularly when the feedback is likely to cause discomfort. Consider these five pointers when engaging in feedback conversations: Set the scene. Regular dialogue forms part of your relationship with your team, extend this to include feedback. When a new member joins have a ‘positioning conversation’. Explain that as manager your role is to provide candid feedback on an ongoing basis. Clarify that the purpose of this feedback is to support the person’s development. The objective is to embed regular feedback as a team norm and create a culture of continuous improvement.  Check yourself. Challenge your motivation in offering the feedback – is it positive or negative? Make sure it's not your need for control, judgements based on your values or bias that is driving you to comment on an aspect of someone's performance. Consider whether or not you communicated your expectations clearly and give the other person the benefit of the doubt by believing that they didn't intentionally fail to deliver. That doesn’t mean that you can’t give the feedback, but it will make the feedback more balanced. Absolute honesty is critical as it demonstrates:  Respect for the other person How would you feel if your manager was unhappy with an aspect of your performance, but didn’t tell you? Perhaps causing you to miss out on promotion or a pay increase. Is that fair? Yet as managers we often put our team members in this position. Our own unease can cause us to dilute feedback or try to rescue the other person from a difficult message. What kind of a manager is prepared to set someone up for a lifetime of failure rather than experience a few minutes discomfort?  Respect for yourself   Difficult issues don’t go away just because you ignore them; they will only escalate. At some point, as the person’s manager, you will be called to account. Whether it’s your line manager, HR or a legal representative, somebody will ask you to demonstrate how you made the person aware that their performance wasn’t at the required standard.  Respectful language. The best feedback leaves the other party feeling respected and safe while understanding the challenge. This is achieved through the careful use of language. Where possible, avoid judgemental words like ‘why’ ‘never’ ‘always’ and ‘should’ and don’t overuse the words ‘you’ and ‘your’. Absolute clarity. Discomfort with difficult messages can lead managers to talk in general terms, be vague or even cryptic. In addition, we all process information through our own filters. A key component of giving feedback is to establish a shared understanding of the issue. Show  or tell the person what they could have done differently in a non-judgemental way.  Have them reflect back their understanding of what has been discussed.  Clarity allows the person to self-regulate and reduces the mangers need to micro-manage the situation.  Remember, feedback is a two-way conversation and it takes the engagement of both parties to find effective resolution to any difficulties.  Dawn Leane is Principal at LeaneLeaders, Leadership and Management Consultancy and Training.

Jan 13, 2018

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