2,700 future PwC leaders come together in ‘The Outside’ experience

22 June 2022 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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After two years of remote working challenges, 2,700 future leaders from PwC have come together in NSW to experience a unique professional development event: The Outside.

Professional services firm PwC has celebrated its inaugural Academy Signature Experience Program event ‘The Outside’, which across five weeks saw 2,700 future leaders participate in the immersive four-day skills and development program held in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales.

The event was themed around country, self, the future, and community, and represented a $15 million investment.

2,700 future PwC leaders come together in ‘The Outside’ experience

“The Signature Experience Program is something we want to give back to our people, and it’s about more than just skills,” commented PwC CEO Tom Seymour. “The program is about creating communities, friendships, lifelong relationships and deep learning which will make our people better professionals no matter where they end up in the future. It’s a significant investment in our people and our thank you to them.”

Hosted by Holly Ransom, the high-profile founder of leadership consultancy Emergent and a board member of the Port Adelaide Football Club (which PwC joined as a sponsor in 2019), other guests and speakers at The Outside event included Paralympian Kurt Fearnley; Ash Barty’s ‘mindset coach’ Ben Crowe; Mundanara Bayles, the co-founder of cultural competency training firm BlackCard; and Indigenous media identity Stan Grant.

Each intake of attendees was greeted with a Welcome to Wonnarua Country smoking ceremony and dance experience on arrival, before embarking on three days of self-curated learning with a diverse range of offerings to choose from. Options on the first day alone included experiences with psychologists, performance trainers, artists and Indigenous leaders, with topics ranging from biohacking to the healing power of elders.

Ransom said; “Two aspects particularly stand out for me: the diverse themes and contributors and the intentional disruption of the idea of a ‘conference’. From the event design, through to the smorgasbord of learning and enrichment options – from ice baths and debates about the future to improv – this event’s content and design reflect the dynamism of the world in 2022 and the way we need to be thinking about preparing our people for it.”

The event was described as a reward for hard-working staff who had endured a long period of remote working, largely via digital devices, and the opportunity to reconnect with community and briefly leave those digital worlds and everyday lives behind. On the final day, each group of 600 or so diverse participants came together to lead the agenda and do the speaking themselves, with the aim of stretching personal and professional thinking.

Lawrence Goldstone, PwC’s Future of Work lead partner who put together the Signature Experience Program, said, “This is truly learning reimagined. A unique investment, directly into our future leaders, giving them the skills to be the leaders of tomorrow. The aim is for people to return home inspired and motivated and to create a foundation shift in their thinking that they continue to use for years and years to come.”