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Exclusive thought leadership at the iconic Windsor Castle

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Alongside our event partner, University of Reading, we are delighted to announce that our topic for the next Windsor Debates will be ‘Business and Politics’. 

Our topic is inspired by the fact that 2024 is not just an election year. It’s perhaps the election year.  Across the world, at least 64 countries (plus the European Union) will have held, or are holding, national elections. This represents almost half of the people in the world going to the polls, the results of which will have profound consequences for global politics and on businesses for years, if not decades, to come.  

Our Windsor Debates will focus on Europe and the United States, as 448 million Europeans and 342 million Americans vote. Additionally, we will be reflecting on a UK election, now confirmed for the 4th July and consider what challenges face a new Government and how the Thames Valley can shape the future of the UK economy and sustained economic growth.

Scheduled for Friday 27th September, Windsor Debates will take place as our new Government is starting its work and in the lead up to what is likely to be a gripping election in the US.  Held under ‘Chatham House’ rules the Chamber once again looks forward to a healthy and open debate on all things business and politics.

If you are a Business Alliance member, please register your interest in attending by contacting your Account Manager.

Speakers

This bi-annual event, where “Chatham House Rules” are applied, creates space and, more importantly, time for invited guests to consider, reflect and grapple with a range of significant topics. Space and time for our guests to discuss, argue cogently and listen carefully. Space and time for people to disagree civilly, find common ground, test each other’s intellectual position, perhaps even reach consensus. Through participation we hope in a small way to nurture wisdom and provide personal business development.

Co-Sponsorship Opportunities

As one of the Chamber’s flagship events, Windsor Debates formulates clear and decisive messages, that help shape and frame TVCC’s strategic policy direction and wider programme of activity. 

New insights emerging from these events are fed into our Business Manifesto, which outlines the opportunities and challenges that the Chamber wants to champion in the year ahead.

“The discussions were nothing short of superb, and being part of such a dialogue at an historic venue was a career ‘pinch-me’ moment. The added experience of attending Evensong and the Chapel tour added to an already memorable event.”

“What a fabulous virtual Windsor Debates you produced. The session topics were spot on, the presenters superb with facilitators to match. The sessions I joined were all extremely informative and even better – they were very thought provoking. They were perfect.”

“The Chamber’s giving oxygen to new voices – Brilliant”

“The Chamber of Commerce Perfectly Joins People Together to be focused on Purposeful Actions”

“The event was superb! Very well run with a great upbeat tempo and vibe in the room. I also got a great deal from the speakers you had…one of the most engaging seminars l’ve been to in years…”

“So delightful to be in a room with leaders from an industry growing, wanting to grow a thriving sector with an appetite to deliver”

“Congratulations to everyone at the Chamber on the sessions you have put on… they have been – without exception – interesting and engaging.”

Previous Windsor Debates

Our first Windsor Debates of the year was held on Friday 15th March where we took the opportunity to explore the topic of: ‘Artificial Intelligence as a force for good’.  We look forward to returning to the Castle on Friday 27th September.

View the March Programme

As one of the Chamber’s flagship events, Windsor Debates formulates clear and decisive messages, that help shape and frame TVCC’s strategic policy direction and wider programme of activity. New insights emerging from these events are fed into our Business Manifesto, which outlines the opportunities and challenges that the Chamber wants to champion in the year ahead.

If you are a Business Alliance member, please register your interest in attending by contacting your Account Manager.

During the September 2023 Debates, we took the opportunity to explore ‘The future competitiveness of the Thames Valley’ through a variety of themes including: skills and the future workforce, regional leadership and international trade.

During the evening, we were delighted to welcome Nigel Milton, Chief of Staff & Carbon, Heathrow Airport, as the keynote speaker. A huge thank you to our event partner, University of Reading, our cast of engaging speakers and guests for making the day so memorable.

During the March 2023 Debate, we took the opportunity to celebrate Leadership. Over the day we covered a wide range of themes, taking into account what our leaders are being challenged on, how their skills are being applied and what is being considered in boardrooms across the Thames Valley. Topics included: What it means to be a leader today, Rethinking teams, Making a greater impact (ESG) and Leadership in science and healthcare.

During the evening, we were delighted to welcome John Campbell, QPM, LLB, MBA, Chief Constable of the Thames Valley Police as keynote speaker.

Film, High-End Television and Audio Visual: Thames Valley – the UK’s Creative Heart

During the March 2022 debate, we were delighted to welcome some of the region’s great thought leaders, industry practitioners, talent developers and skills trainers, producers and investors to take an informed look and perspective on the practical issues and challenges we are facing to deliver sustained success. During the debate, we took the opportunity to celebrate the region’s incredible global strength across the sector and consider the opportunities for and ambitions of the region to remain the beating heart of a truly great industry. Read more HERE.

With the best creative talent from fashion to film, the UK is home to some of the world’s leading creative talent, exporting £37.9 billion in 2019. With global demand increasing, our creative industries are one of the UK’s export success stories.

The industry is evidentially crucial to the ability of UK plc to drive investment and trade -see the UK Government’s “Made in Britain, Sold to the World” campaign. The topics discussed during the debate will contribute heavily to our ability to deliver success and for our region, sustain the Thames Valley as one of the world’s premier locations for attracting inward investment, and making films and media content.

View the programme

Building back better: Strengthening digital and physical infrastructure

The theme of our September 2021 Windsor Debate reflected one of the key priorities in our 2021 Business Manifesto, namely to:

promote the need for investment in a resilient infrastructure network for the Thames Valley, strengthening provision of physical and digital networks that will support the region’s future sustainable economic growth and innovation.

During this event, we continued to build on the sustainability discussion which was central to the March 2021 Windsor Debate. Outcomes of the debate were shared with Alok Sharma, President of COP26 and his wider team (ahead of the UK-hosted COP26 in November 2021) and Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). T

During the Debates, the Chamber also announced the launch of the Thames Valley Sustainability Working Group (SWG), in partnership with EY. This is a business-led roundtable focused on the theme of sustainability, climate change and net-zero.

See the programme HERE.

Building back better: Promoting intelligent climate planning and decarbonisation at speed

The March 2021 Debates took place over two days, using digital platforms.

The overarching theme of the March event reflected the Chamber’s ongoing focus on a low carbon, green economy and on showcasing commercially transferable best practice, leadership and innovation from across the Thames Valley – a key priority within our 2021 Business Manifesto. We discussed and challenged the business case for sustainability and examined how we as a business community can work together to meet current and future challenges and inform the work of COP26, led by UK President, Alok Sharma.

Please view the programme HERE.

The event was sponsored by EY and facilitated by Iain Anderson, Executive Chairman, H/Advisors- Cicero. 

Restart, Rebuild, Renew – the ‘new normal’, post COVID-19

In 2020, the Debates took place over a full week, using digital platforms and provided an opportunity for the Thames Valley business community to debate the impact – both present and future – of the COVID-19 pandemic. During a series of nine sessions, themes ranging from Technology and The Future of Travel (imminent and medium-term) and Mental Health to A Scientific Perspective on COVID-19 and The Future of Trade with the USA were covered. The Chamber also hosted an MPs’ Roundtable and held a conversational session with Ambassador Robert Wood Johnson, US Ambassador to the UK.

Key conclusions from this event, which have informed TVCC’s 2021 Business Manifesto, included:

  • The need for an integrated digital and physical infrastructure to support the rebuilding of the UK economy, including a carbon-neutral driven recovery, post COVID-19
  • The need to work locally to retrain and reskill those who have been most impacted by the pandemic
  • The need to work together to address the challenges of exiting the EU, e.g. product regulation.
  • The need for inclusive recovery for all.
  • Re-affirmation that the Chamber is well placed to be a (loud) voice of business for the Thames Valley region.

Please view the programme HERE. You can also read a full write up of the debate HERE.

Strengthening the Workforce in the Thames Valley – Mental health, diversity and inclusion in the workplace

The Chamber’s 27th Windsor Debate focused on the themes of Mental Health and Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace – both new and welcome additions to the Chamber’s agenda. Keynote speakers examined international developments in both of these key areas and shared real-life examples of how strategies had been implemented and the impact they had had on employees, inspiring a highly interactive and thought-provoking debate.

We were honoured to welcome former Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, as our keynote dinner speaker on the topic of mental health.

Commenting soon after the event, in her Foreword to the Chamber’s Business Manifesto 2020, Mrs May said:

“It was a privilege to speak at the Chamber’s recent 27th Windsor Debates – ‘Strengthening the workforce in the Thames Valley – Mental health, diversity and inclusion in the workplace’. An awakening for the Chamber, I commended their leadership for providing an opportunity to showcase great work and initiatives taking place and its commitment to help make a difference and champion this cause in 2020. A focus on mental health, fitness and diversity and inclusion in the workplace among our key Business Manifesto priorities for 2020.”

Building on the success of this event and the evident appetite of attendees to champion the topics of mental health and diversity and inclusion in the Thames Valley, the Chamber introduced a commitment to strengthening awareness of both as one of the key priorities of its 2020 Business Manifesto.

A series of webinars on the topic of Mental Wellbeing and the creation of a Thames Valley Mental Wellbeing Community, both led by the Chamber, followed, culminating in the launch of the Chamber’s Mental Wellbeing Charter, which was also endorsed by the Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

Please view the programme HERE.

You can also read a full account of the debate HERE.

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