Leading Edge members are now setting its agenda, says Ronan Hegarty

Young managers who are focused on their career paths and have a real interest in personal development should be signing up to Leading Edge, says Fiona Stratford, IGD’s business learning director.
Leading Edge, IGD’s networking forum for young managers, is now in its 11th year and now has more than 4,000 members.
Through its seminars and conventions, Leading Edge gives young managers in the industry a chance to meet people in similar positions in different parts of the trade and build important relationships. It also offers them an opportunity to develop skills and ideas for career development and helps to keep people informed of the key industry developments.
However, it is still on the lookout for new members. In order to achieve this, it has undertaken a major reappraisal of its strategy and has decided to focus completely on what members want.
Rather than simply having the agenda provided for them, young people in the grocery industry will now have a much greater say in how the group is run and what it concentrates on.
Leading Edge is busy finalising its members group, which will help provide important feedback on what members want to get out of its various events.
Eight members have already volunteered to join the group and IGD is hoping that another four will come forward in the next few weeks. Stratford explains: “The members’ group will play a key role in driving forward the members’ agenda. We have already received a lot of feedback from members suggesting that they want us to focus more on personal development. This has already been reflected in the schedule for 2005 and the new members’ group will make sure that it continues over the next few years.”
This year, Leading Edge seminars will be much more interactive than in previous years. As was the case last year, there will be two conventions, based in Leeds and London. These will be specifically targeted towards working more
efficiently, collaborative working and the work/life balance.
The first of the interactive seminars took place earlier this year. The topic was networking and, according to Stratford, it was extremely well received by the members who attended. “Comments on the feedback forms proved that we are on the right track. One member said that doing group exercises rather than just listening to a talk gave everyone a chance to participate and put some of the ideas into practice,” said Stratford.
“Another said the interactive nature of the session worked well in raising the group’s energy and passion for career development.”
According to Stratford, the numbers attending the seminars are up, both in terms of those who subscribed and those who actually turned up.
The next series will take place between June 16 and June 30 across seven venues throughout the country. It is designed as a practical workshop to help members develop creative thinking techniques.
Stratford points out: “These interactive seminars, in particular the forthcoming creative thinking workshop, can be of enormous benefit to young people. It offers them a chance to try things that they can incorporate into their working life - in a safe environment in front of friends and people they know.”
While maintaining a strong career focus, Leading Edge remains committed to providing members with an insight into the key issues facing the grocery industry.
Indeed, as part of its Member of the Year competition, it plans to ask members to tackle the controversial issue of health in relation to food and drink industry.
To enter the competition, which will be launched next month, members will have to come up with ideas on what role the industry should play with regard to health and diet. With members working in both the retail and manufacturing sides of the grocery business, they are sure to come up with some thought-provoking responses.
Leading Edge is a development network, initiated and run by IGD. For more information contact Tamra Detheridge on 01923 851915.