Barn to Boardroom 2019

2 December 2019 | Carly Murray


The big oak barn doors here at The Surgery have closed on another fun and engaging Barn to Boardroom event.

Each year we invite clients, colleagues and connections to come down to our offices in downland Sussex to chat all things internal comms in our oak barn event space.

As well as offering fascinating insight from keynote speakers, Barn to Boardroom gives us all a chance get out of the office, to stop for a while, breathe in some country air and take stock.


This year’s locally made gin tasting session courtesy of Sandhills certainly helped with that part of the day as did our Creative Director Nick’s now-famous event wrap barbecue (the veggie burgers this year were particularly delicious!)

It’s wonderful to be able to see so many friends and colleagues in one place, and we know that everyone who comes along gets so much out of it.


Our inspirational presenters were drawn from all walks of life, different businesses and diverse areas of internal communications expertise while fun workshops brought everyone together to do some problem-solving.

This year we heard from Sarah Meurer, Head of Internal Communications at Nestlé who spoke about how I/C can foster a shared community spirit in business, and how it can really help people feel valued especially through change and uncertain times.

Nathan Wallis, Head of Talent and Culture at Wesleyan launched workplace by Facebook there and offered great insight into how to get senior management commitment buy-in and how it can be used as a tool to share, learn and collaborate.

We heard Shan Chatoo’s jaw-dropping inspirational story about how she used communications to make a difference to our planet. As Group Head of Corporate Communications at OCS, Shan was so moved by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet TV programme that she set out on a driven and emotional journey to transform her workplace.

As a Facilities Management and Maintenance Service, OCS used thousands of non-recyclable plastic items every day. Shan’s programme overcame huge logistical hurdles to change that, and the UK business has now become a more sustainable enterprise. Her passion for change is now driving other OCS businesses in other countries to do the same.

Paul Jackson, Communications and Change Director at Marsh & McLennan Companies, shared some of his inside knowledge, guidance and advice on the challenges faced by internal communications during mergers and acquisitions. He spoke about the importance of integrating smaller business culture into larger businesses and how it can impact on people.

Video is the future and not just for external customer-facing communications. Virgin Media has embraced video and television with some fantastic results, and Hannah Shepherd, Head of Internal Communications there showed how, with some brilliantly funny real-life examples, it could drive and inspire employee engagement. Her own personal story from shop floor to be head of I/C was fascinating too.


We can’t put it any better than Gemma Lacey, Southern Co-op’s Sustainability and Communications Director who said; “another fabulous event – great speakers and people and as always a refreshingly different event!”

Here’s to B2B 2020! #barntoboardroom