The snow and transport mayhem caused by the ‘Beast from the East’ came and went last week. While not exactly the winter storm common in parts of Siberia or (spoiler alert) coming up in the next season of Game of Thrones, the hostility of nature could not stop our second Comotion Meet Up from occurring. The attendees, tougher than nails, were richly rewarded with food, good company and an apparently bottomless (this time) range of drinks. The real treat, however, was two speeches by two exceptional speakers with rich stories to tell.

The first speaker of the night was Gemma Harrison, the Head of Customer Experience at HSBC’s ring-fenced bank. Gemma was the winner of the Extraordinary People Award in 2015 for outstanding Customer Experience. To put this in context, she beat 2500 other nominees within the Retail Bank. On the night, Gemma talked us through a profound moment in her career (between July – Oct 2017) where she convinced HSBC to allow her to second at seven organisations across a variety of sectors, including Hospitality, Higher Education, Online Retail and Consulting (with lucky us). This particular story is best described in her own words and can be found here ( ) but the main takeaway was that large organisations are both capable and increasingly willing to change, to engage with and learn from disparate experiences and industries, and to develop good customer care towards achieving wider success in customer experience.

Our second speaker is no novice to the international speaking circuit and to senior leadership roles across several household brands. Manuela Pifani took us on a tour of what it means to achieve success through CX. And she knows her stuff – among a string of other awards, she was the winner of the 2015 CX Professional of the Year award (I spot a trend in our speakers). Her insight into why CX fails – because of the relationship between poor strategy, bad execution and executive disengagement – was familiar music to the ears of attendees, but what blew away the audience was the rendition of her experiences at RBS, Direct Line Group and Barclays. Achieving success through CX, in her mind, can be done best through the combination of proper customer strategy and design, agile execution and executive engagement at all touchpoints. Indeed, you should get in touch and check out some of the interesting things she is currently up to ( ).

Both speeches were highly informative, incredibly engaging and brought a warm feeling at the end of an otherwise cold day. As with last time, do join us from 6pm every last Tuesday of the month at the Glassblower in Soho. In March, we have Gerry Brown and Ann Booth-Clibborn presenting. Ann will be giving a crash course on the power of stories and how they can help you achieve your business goals and Gerry will be discussing some of the findings and rich stories of his new book! You can rsvp here:

A big thank you once more to Gemma and Manuela and everyone else who attended. Our Community is so much richer with you all. As always, if you want to write for the Community, then email me on

Article by Emiljan Gega