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How will the gig economy change the world of professional services?

Professional services firms have a vital role to play in today’s business world, and are generally admired for their integrity and stability.

But they are facing new challenges to their traditional way of working, including new competitors, changing attitudes to globalisation and the threat of technology taking jobs away.

Join us for this free, one day conference to hear from renowned thought leaders and executives running traditional and challenger firms as they debate these important issues.

Date: 8 June 2017


08.30 registrations

09.00 start

12.30 lunch

16.45 closing

Download the agenda here

Location: London Business School

What to expect on the day

This conference focuses on one specific challenge: how the rise of freelance work (the gig economy) is changing the business models, ways of working and career structures in professional services firms.

Much of today’s debate about the gig economy focuses on low-end work – with firms such as Uber, Deliveroo and Upwork. But there are equally important changes afoot in high-end professional work. Increasingly, lawyers, doctors, management consultants, accountants and media professionals have the means, motive and opportunity to work for themselves, rather than for a large integrated firm. And research shows freelance professionals are often more satisfied and better off financially than they were when they worked for someone else.

As the world of professional services becomes part of the gig economy, important questions arise: what is the future of the traditional professional service firm? Who will be the winners and losers? How will freelance work be managed in the future, and through what networks? And what are the smartest career choices people should make?


Confirmed speakers and panellists include:

  • Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School

    Julian Birkinshaw

    Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Deputy Dean (Programmes) and Academic Director of the Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, London Business School

    Professor Birkinshaw has written thirteen books, including Becoming a Better Boss and Reinventing Management. His most recently published book is Fast/Forward: Make Your Company Fit for the Future. His research focuses on how large companies can become more innovative and agile in today’s turbulent business environment. He came 43rd in last year’s Thinkers50 ranking of the top global business thinkers.

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  • Nishita Dewan, Growth & Innovation Consultant

    Nishita Dewan

    Growth & Innovation Consultant

    Dewan is an LSE and INSEAD graduate. An experienced strategy consultant, with a global mindset and collaborative working style, she has led projects and multi-disciplinary teams across London, Istanbul, NYC, Singapore and the Nordics. After completing her MBA at INSEAD in 2014, she joined Uber as an operations manager, responsible for centralising and scaling operations, expanding from London to across UK & Ireland and the Nordics.

    Dewan is the founder of CollaboratEQ, creating innovation through collaborations. She offers a unique approach to problem-solving and helps value-driven companies achieve growth by applying human-centered design alongside her strategic and operational skill set.

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  • Laura Empson, Director of the Centre for Professional Service Firms at Cass Business School

    Laura Empson

    Director of the Centre for Professional Service Firms at Cass Business School

    Professor Laura Empson is Director of the Centre for Professional Service Firms at Cass Business School, London, and a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession.

    She has dedicated the past 25 years to conducting academic research into professionals and professional organizations, publishing numerous articles in leading scholarly journals as well as three books with Oxford University Press.

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  • Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice, London Business School

    Lynda Gratton

    Professor of Management Practice, Executive Education Faculty Director, London Business School

    Professor Gratton is the founder of The Hot Spots Movement and for over five years has led the Future of Work Research Consortium which has brought executives from more than 80 companies together both virtually and on a bespoke collaborative platform. She has written extensively about the interface between people and organisations. Professor Gratton was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by HR Magazine, in 2013, and was amongst the 15 top thought leaders in the Thinkers50 ranking.

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  • Andrew Hill, Associate Editor, the Financial Times

    Andrew Hill

    Associate Editor, the Financial Times

    Andrew Hill is an associate editor and the management editor of the FT. He is a former City editor, financial editor and comment and analysis editor. A collection of his columns, ‘Leadership in the Headlines’, was published in 2016. He joined the FT in 1988 and has also worked as New York bureau chief, foreign news editor and correspondent in Brussels and Milan.

    Hill was named Business Commentator of the Year at the 2016 Comment Awards and Commentator of the Year at the 2009 Business Journalist of the Year Awards, where he also received a Decade of Excellence award.

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  • Herminia Ibarra, Charles Handy Visiting Professor of Organisational Behaviour, London Business School

    Herminia Ibarra

    Charles Handy Visiting Professor of Organisational Behaviour, London Business School

    Professor Ibarra is the Charles Handy Visiting Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School and the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning at INSEAD. Her most recent book, Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader explains how to step up to a bigger leadership role. Her best-selling book, Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career describes how people reinvent their careers. Thinkers50 ranked Ibarra #8 among the most influential management thinkers in the world.

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  • Emma Jacobs, Work & Careers Columnist, Financial Times

    Emma Jacobs

    Work & Careers Columnist, Financial Times

    Emma Jacobs writes about work and careers. She also writes columns, features and interviews across the paper, including for Weekend and UK news.

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  • Martin Laws, Partner, Deloitte LLP

    Martin Laws

    Partner, Deloitte LLP

    Martin Laws is the Lead Partner for Occupier Consulting at professional services firm Deloitte, co-coordinating real estate specialists from across Deloitte’s global Financial Advisory, Consulting, Tax and Assurance service lines to advise Government and Corporate Occupier clients on optimising the performance of every aspect of their operational property portfolios. He also leads Deloitte’s “Work+Place” Future of Work initiative, helping clients to align their Human Capital, Technology, Global Location and Real Estate strategies for maximum business impact – “Digital Work, Worker, Workplace”.

  • Dena McCallum, Founding Partner, Eden McCallum

    Dena McCallum

    Founding Partner, Eden McCallum

    Dena McCallum co-founded consulting firm Eden McCallum in 2000, seeking to take the best of traditional strategy consulting and freelancing to create a new consulting model. She works closely with clients in the retail, financial services, media and business to business services sectors.

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  • Tim Morris, Professor of Management Studies, Saïd Business School

    Tim Morris

    Professor of Management Studies, Saïd Business School

    Professor Morris’s research and teaching activities mainly focus on professional service firms in which he is acknowledged as a leading international expert. His other research, conducted with colleagues at Saïd Business School, has been concerned with the role and development of CEOs in large corporations based on data from interviews with a large sample of CEOs around the world.

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  • Patrick Petitti, Co-Founder and CEO, Catalant

    Patrick Petitti

    Co-Founder and CEO, Catalant

    Catalant’s innovative human capital solution connects top independent professionals with enterprises to tackle projects flexibly, quickly and efficiently. Catalant has built a global network of more than 27,000 boutique consulting firms, custom teams and independent experts, as well as best-in-class software tools for engaging and managing this market. Based in Boston, Catalant serves thousands of clients, including Fortune 1000 companies like GE, Pfizer, Staples and more on a confidential basis.

    Prior to founding Catalant, Petitti was a consultant at negotiation and conflict management consulting firm Vantage Partners, and before that at Booz Allen Hamilton. Petitti received his BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a Bostonian born and raised

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  • Gianpiero Petriglieri, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour, INSEAD

    Gianpiero Petriglieri

    Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Academic Director, Initiative for Learning Innovation and Teaching Excellence, INSEAD

    Gianpiero’s award-winning research and teaching focus on what it means, and what it takes, to become a leader. He is particularly concerned with the development of leadership in the age of “nomadic professionalism,” in which people have deep bonds to work but loose affiliations to organizations, and authenticity and mobility have replaced loyalty and advancement as hallmarks of virtue and success.

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  • Richard Punt, CEO, Peerpoint, Allen & Overy

    Richard Punt

    CEO, Peerpoint, Allen & Overy

    A strategy consultant, Richard Punt leads Peerpoint, which enables Allen & Overy to access a broader range of high quality talent. Its primary focus is developing a placement business for contract lawyers both into A&O and to meet more of clients’ high value resourcing needs.

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  • Ian Sanders, Author and Consultant

    Ian Sanders

    Author and Consultant

    Ian Sanders took the leap to work for himself back in 2000. Today he’s a consultant, coach and storyteller who works on a diverse mix of projects from helping brands and businesses tell their story to coaching executives who are navigating change in their work lives. The author of four books on work and business, he’s also a former contributor to the Financial Times.

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  • Danny Shteinberg, Co-founder, Workey

    Danny Shteinberg

    Co-founder, Workey

    Danny is a co-founder and chief marketing officer of Workey, an anonymous social recruitment and career enhancement platform, based in Tel Aviv and New York. For millennials who feel pressure to keep their career developing at an ambitious pace, Workey is revolutionising HR through AI and machine learning by helping to guide the careers of a connected generation.

    Shteinberg was an officer in an elite intelligence unit in the Israel Defense Forces (8200) where he established and led a team of technological experts. Prior to Workey, he worked in both engineering and marketing at Xeround, a big-data cloud start-up and at Verint, a security, surveillance and business intelligence company, where he managed a team of technical and marketing professionals. Shteinberg holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya.

  • Christopher Tchen, Independent Consultant

    Christopher Tchen

    Independent Consultant

    Tchen has 30 years of global consultancy experience across media, telecoms, leisure, financial services, consumer goods and professional services.

    He has specialised in corporate strategy, growth and innovation, operating model development, process reengineering, cost reduction and restructuring. Particular interests include new business models, data analytics, corporate venturing and activity-based costing.

    Tchen is Chairman of Carbon Limiting Technologies, which works to support and grow clean-tech businesses in the UK and internationally.

    He began his career at Bain & Company, was a VP at Gemini Consulting and ran the European business of Strategos. He has been an independent consultant for more than 10 years. He studied Chemistry at Oxford University and has an MBA from INSEAD.

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  • Romanie Thomas, Founder and CEO, Juggle Jobs

    Romanie Thomas

    Founder and CEO, Juggle Jobs

    Romanie Thomas is the founder of Juggle Jobs, a platform enabling high-quality management professionals to work flexibly and on their terms. Challenging the 9–5 status quo, Juggle is pioneering new ways of working and consequently encouraging companies to hire from a wider and more diverse talent pool.

    Thomas has a decade in the technology and recruitment industries prior to founding Juggle. A huge advocate of gender equality since university, she is now challenging policies around board hiring, maternity leave and gender pay reporting.

  • Matt Trinetti, Director of Education, Escape the City

    Matt Trinetti

    Education Director, Escape the City

    Matthew Trinetti is a former IBM consultant turned writer, entrepreneur and career change consultant. He joined Escape the City in 2014 to launch The Escape School and design programmes to help unfulfilled corporate professionals pursue more meaningful work, start businesses and build careers on their own terms.

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  • Jeroen Wels, Executive Vice President of Human Resources – Organisation, Talent and Categories at Unilever

    Jeroen Wels

    Executive Vice President of Human Resources – Organisation, Talent and Categories at Unilever

    Jeroen oversees organisational transformation for the HR operations of Unilever’s categories and R&D divisions. His responsibilities include helping develop and execute local and global strategies for organisation, talent, employer branding and recruitment.

    He is also a member of the Global HR Leadership Team and business partner to the presidents of the company’s personal care, foods, home care, refreshment and R&D units. Jeroen joined Unilever Europe in the Netherlands as HR Director in 2005. He has since worked for the organisation in Spain and the UK.

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