The 27th Worldwide Meeting of our global network took place in the beautiful city of Hamburg May 3-5, 2018. The Meeting was held under the motto of ‘Success through being the Best’ and attracted some 350 delegates from more than 120 countries.
With all the changes in our organization going on over the past 2 years this was probably one of the most important Worldwide Meetings in years, as it needed to be made clear that although the company structure changed and although we have a lot of new faces on top management level, the spirit of our family owned company remains where it always was, a team oriented, focussed, professional company with family values.
Friendships were renewed and newcomers put faces to email addresses and the general opinion was, ‘mission accomplished’. Our spirit is thriving and visible and I did not hear any critical word throughout the days.
The general set-up was as always in the past, one day for a General Meeting, with updates and information, and 2 days of intense Bilateral Talks. 30 minutes per time slot is not a lot and despite it appearing like ‘speed dating’ as some say, the results were there. This was most evident by the positive comments of our US colleagues who came with a completely new team and had the most requests for Bilateral Talks of all countries, and they considered it a huge success.
But as usual, it is not only work, we also have fun in the evenings. Our Welcome Dinner is always special, as most of the delegates see each other for the first time since the last meeting and there is a lot of hugging and kissing going on, like at all family reunions, right? The ‘offsite-dinner’ saw the delegates visiting a typical German micro brewery restaurant, with beer barrels at each table, lots of food, and needless to say, it was a lot of fun.
Our Farewell Dinners are always the moment to simply let go, after 3 days of serious and intense discussions. It is always a great atmosphere, with countries celebrating the Awards they did receive at the beginning of the evening (see separate article) and everyone is in party mood. This time it got a little more emotional as Jost Hellmann bid officially farewell to our ‘First Lady’ Lucia (Fung/Ha), who retired end of last year, as well as Sara (Subirana) and yours truly, both retiring end of this year. Jost Hellmann went in his speech all the way back to the 80ies, and the photos shown on the screen were funny at times and also showed that Father Time took his toll, well, not so much from the ladies, but certainly from myself….
Sara and the entire Team from the Network HQ did their usual great job in organizing the event. I know myself personally how much work goes into it and how many hours are spent, and it is all worth it, if the Meeting is running smoothly and everyone can appreciate it.
Of course, every Worldwide Meeting is a big expense for Hellmann and our Partners, but it is a chance to meet everyone at one place and in the long run it will save money, but what it takes of course is ‘follow-up’. Following up on what was discussed, on the actions that were agreed and I call on all delegates to work diligently on it, because then, and only then, the Meeting was a total success.
As everyone learned, it is also time for a change in the Network Management and during our separate Meeting, our Partners welcomed Mark Hellmann in his future new role, but more on this in the weeks to come.
The awards are divided into two categories, one being perception (gut feeling) and the other statistics (Hellmann figures). Perception awards are the following: Sales, Best Partner and Best Overall. The way that we calculate the winners is that we invite the country MDs to vote in an online survey based on their experiences with the countries that they deal with. We then take the votes and tally up who has the most positive votes and formulate the list of top ten. The statistics awards are the following: Return on Sales (large country), Return on Sales (small country), Gross Profit (large country), Gross Profit (small country). Hellmann divides the statistics by small or large countries and this is based on employee count within the country. The statistics come from operational numbers and are used to rank the top 10 in each category.
By Michael Claus, President & CEO of Hellmann Network