Speakers included senior leaders Mark Lightfoot (CFO), Stephen Dracup (MD), Kate Wood (Director of Culture) and David Pollock (CEO and Founder) who each took to the stage to motivate and inspire the team for the year ahead.

The theme of the conference was ‘#1 for Our People and Our Customers’, and David encouraged the delegates to really think about the message.

Mark, speaking about Chess’ performance over the previous financial year, highlighted in particular the fantastic sales growth seen by CyberSecurity.

Stephen set out the vision for the future which included improved accuracy, transparency and keeping things simple for our people and customers.

Stephen then went on to chair the Tech Board and Sales Q&A with Warren Pryer (Group Sales Director), Alan Cassidy (Digital MD), Tam Waite (Technical Director) and Gavin Wood (Group Cyber Director). The team gave a compelling overview of the challenges and benefits of the journey ahead.

With the company reaching its milestone 25 year anniversary, it was emotional to look back over the Chess journey and see how so many people have grown into great leaders. 

Kate Wood spoke passionately, bringing Chess’ Culture vision to life and describing some of the many things that make Chess a great place to work. Kate explained plans to leverage the great work of the Cultural Ambassadors who in future will champion customers as well as Chess People. Chess not only wants to keep its number one place in the Sunday Times Best Company to Work For list, but also wants to be the best company to be a customer.

David spoke with delight about Chess People’s charitable fundraising activities, saying: “I am always so proud of the great work so many people do to play our part in the wider community raising over £50k for charity so far this year.”

The bi-annual holiday draw created an electric atmosphere. David highlighted the positive impact of ‘Gimme 5’ chips:

“Holidays are well earned by our people who are rewarded with a Gimme 5 chip by going above and beyond for their colleagues and our customers. Each chip earns £1 for our chosen charities and since Christmas, £16,000 has made a real difference to those less fortunate than ourselves. Helping others is great for your own wellbeing, it stretches you, it’s fun and it helps you perform at a higher level ensuring you make the most of the opportunity that is working for Chess.”

The draw saw the Technical Support Team win a team night out; Lucy Spencer (Billing) won a UK holiday; Hayley Grimshaw (People Support) will be sunning herself in the south of France, and after a huge build up, Dean Cooper-Moss (Provisioning) will be taking his wife and young daughter on a world-wide trip of a lifetime.

The hugely successful event carried on late into the evening, with Chess People letting down their hair to really celebrate all the great work achieved this year.