Lookers Annual Conference provides plenty of Irish charm​​

There was much to cheer about at this year’s Lookers Conference, which, titled ‘We are Lookers’, celebrated the diverse talent among its people.

The conference is the flagship event in the motor retailer’s annual calendar and saw over 700 senior figures from across the business come together to celebrate with guests in Belfast, the home of the group’s Charles Hurst division and its iconic 20-acre automotive retail park on Boucher Road.

The event took place at Belfast’s premier conference centre, the ICC, which was chosen because of its state-of-the-art conference auditorium and fantastic catering facilities. Belfast was the perfect backdrop for the group to celebrate its Charles Hurst division and the huge contribution it has made to the wider business since it was acquired in 1996.

The event gave Lookers colleagues from right across the UK the chance to network and share ideas as well as reflect on the successes of the previous year. Among the milestones highlighted were the acquisition of the Jennings Group and the impressive Lookers Electric Charge, which raised £215,755 for industry charity Ben through an electric car relay across its entire dealership network.

Highlights of the conference were guest speakers Sarah Stirk, Sky Sports presenter and award-winning author of ‘The Barcelona Way’ Damian Hughes, who shared their own insights into people management gleaned from the world of sport.

Lookers Chief Executive Andy Bruce and Chief Operating Officer Nigel McMinn also used their presentations to highlight the group’s desire to become a truly diverse and inclusive employer and retailer.

With this year’s event themed around the “We are Lookers” and “Lookers is for Everyone” slogans, attendees were reminded that the group has been named in the Sunday Times 25 Big Best Companies to Work For in the UK 2019, as well as a ‘Top Employer’ by the Top Employers Institute for the third year in a row.

Both Andy and Nigel also applauded efforts to attract more women into the business, particularly within non-traditional roles. This has seen 17 female apprentices join the business over the last two years, the majority of which have been in technical positions.

To show just how much the business values its people, Nigel McMinn also announced the 2019 finalists of the Lookers Excellence Awards, which will see 100 finalists and their guests treated to an all-expenses paid trip to Berlin in May, where the winners will be announced.

Andy Bruce said: “The Lookers General Manager’s Conference is very much the highlight of our calendar here at Lookers and a fantastic way to stop and take stock of the progression we have made over the last 12 months. This year we chose to look at the many multi-faceted contributions made by our talented and dedicated people, right across the group.

Nigel McMinn said: “This year’s conference was a huge success and will no doubt help to inspire our people to go on and achieve even greater success once they get back to their respective dealerships. Our industry is facing some major challenges at present, however, what our conference has highlighted is that Lookers continues to buck the trend in a number of areas and its our diverse mix of people and skills that have helped us to achieve this.”

Heike O’Leary, Group Marketing Director added: “Belfast has been a fantastic location and a very gracious host. The fully integrated service provided to us by ‘Visit Belfast’, the Hastings group, the ICC and the various catering and event supporters, was nothing but outstanding!”