In the heart of London, England, York University and the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce joined forces and hosted a business luncheon to discuss innovation, automation and the future of work. Held at Pewterers’ Hall, some 80 guests met to assess how universities and large business enterprises need to embrace innovation to survive, respond to societal needs and help society adapt to an ever changing world.
York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri and York alumna Moya Greene (JD ’78), CEO of the Royal Mail Group, offered the keynote speeches.
In his opening remarks and introduction of Greene, Shoukri acknowledged several similarities between them, including their efforts to help large, complex organizations confront and deal with change, to differentiate and build on strengths and to successfully evolve in increasingly competitive landscapes.
“To remain competitive in this new landscape of automation and digital disruption, governments are increasingly developing innovation policies and agendas to challenge all sectors, including academia, to contribute to knowledge mobilization and innovation in order to transform ideas into marketable products, services and business models, drive growth across all industries, and improve the lives of citizens,” said Shoukri.
He highlighted York University’s decade of impact, addressing the changing and accelerating nature of automation, and acknowledging the important role for universities in anticipating the evolving nature of work and preparing students for future careers.
Click here to download a PDF of Shoukri’s remarks.
In her speech, Greene spoke about the impact of automation on the private sector using the example of past and future evolutions of the postal service. In her role as the CEO of the Royal Mail Group, Greene said she looks to innovate through the management of the business and development of the strategy. The first non-Briton and the first woman to lead the Royal Mail, Greene was previously the president and CEO of Canada Post, where she led a successful change agenda, increasing profits and streamlining operations. Greene also worked in the Canadian federal public service over a 17-year period and has a strong track record of strategic planning, complex negotiations and relationship building in the public and private sectors.
York University students and alumni abroad attended the event. Among those at the event were Schulich student Roshaan Hajira, who is currently finishing her last semester of undergraduate studies at the University of Manchester’s Alliance Manchester Business School, and Maddaline Bertolo, a third-year student studying at Keele University in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. Also attending were York University Vice-President Advancement Jeff O’Hagan, Dadco owner and Chairman, York alumnus and Honorary Doctor of Laws recipient Victor Phillip Dahdaleh, YOrk University Director of Principal Gifts Lisa Gleva, and the President of the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce William Swords.