Aspen UK was delighted to host the first Aspen UK Annual Meeting on Thursday 11 May – the event took place at the US Embassy in London.
The afternoon began with a speech from Her Excellency Jane Hartley, the Ambassador of the United States to the UK, which led to a conversation between the Ambassador and Ed Williams, Aspen UK’s Chairman. This was followed by a mini-seminar, where the participants joined their original seminar cohorts in small group discussions around the meeting’s theme, the Power of Extended Networks.
For the final part of the day, a series of high-profile speakers were invited to join a conversation with Aspen UK Rising Leaders Fellows about their leadership journey and how they have used networks to support their professional journey. These included Justine Simons, the Deputy Mayor for London for Culture and the Creative Industries; Anthony Anaxagorou, an award-winning poet; and Muyiwa Oki, the President Elect of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Over 200 people joined the meeting. They included Aspen UK seminar alumni and the Rising Leaders Fellowship community. For many, particularly the Rising Leaders Fellows, this was the first opportunity to meet in person. The Fellowship, which launched in summer 2022, starts with an intensive two-day virtual seminar and empowers some of the UK’s finest high potential leaders to people understand, respect, and celebrate differences, and learn from each other. Once participants complete the seminar, they join the growing Fellowship alumni and enjoy ongoing development opportunities – including inspirational monthly webinars/conversations and peer mentoring groups.
The day finished with a reception, enabling people from different industries, geographies and parts of the Aspen UK community to get to know each other. Throughout the day, participants were encouraged to write down some thoughts about Aspen UK – a notable comment read “Aspen UK makes me think about how hopeful we should be for a future UK”.
The day was full of joyous reunions, new connections and engaging conversations – reminding us of the vital role that dialogue and networks play in our lives and the power of the Aspen Institute’s convening might.