MBC Compliance Retreat
Paris, October 22-23rd 2020
MBC Legal Retreat
Munich, November 12-13th 2020
MBC Privacy Retreat
Leuven, November 26-27th 2020
MBC Internal Audit Retreat
Brussels, March 18-19th 2021
MBC Public Affairs
Spring 2021 in Brussels
The Mont Blanc Circle concept
There is a Mont Blanc Circle in the following professional domains: Compliance, Internal Audit, Legal, Privacy and Public Affairs.
The number of members is capped which offers a better opportunity for developing strong personal contacts and active contribution. Membership is intuitu personae.
Besides the two-day Retreats we organise each Spring and Fall, the Mont Blanc Circle also provides a series of services and activities allowing the members to share and/or collect best practice information, benchmarking data and peer feedback, even in these covid times.
Each Circle has a Steering Committee composed of a number of Members, the Moderator/Content Director and the MBC Managing Director. The Steering Committee vets new members, validates the Programmes of the Retreats and assesses the suggestions made by the Members.
The activities of the Circles and the topics covered are based on the suggestions made by the members and therefore focus on concrete sharing and discussing common concerns. We also involve selected External Speakers who bring value with their expert insights.
Last but not least, the Mont Blanc Circle is an independent initiative with no sponsors or vendors involved.
For those who prefer figures
Highest Satisfaction Rate
presentation by a member
Highest Satisfaction Rate
for an External Speaker
SAQ (Seldom Asked Questions)
Following the crisis, it was decided to cancel all gatherings in 2020. During Spring, we organised monthly Group Videocalls in all Circles. Meanwhile, in close consultation with all the members, we developed a series of new services and activities allowing the members to continue to share and/or collect best practice information, benchmarking data and peer feedback, even in these covid times. Some if not all of these new services and activities will be continued even after the covid crisis, be it at a lesser pace. Hence, after the covid crisis, the offer of the Mont Blanc Circle will only be richer !
Talking to leading executives showed that existing associations and networks were not fully satisfying their needs and expectations. In their experience, all were failing on one or more of the following points:
- They were mostly polished gatherings where making a good impression was more important than displaying genuine listening skills to the enrichment of all.
- The presentations were brought with no or little interaction with the audience and were too much of an academic nature, not bringing a lot of value for the daily practice and reality of the participants.
- One could feel that people were not speaking openly but only sharing showcases.
- The organisations behind these associations and networks were almost all of Anglo-Saxon origin (UK and even USA) which was reflected in their approach and programmes. Whilst this will certainly correspond to the needs of some, it was felt that there was certainly room for a strong and genuinely international initiative.
- Most of these associations were de facto dominated by a few very big players, to the detriment of participants representing other but nonetheless really international and even (very) sizeable corporations.
- They were sponsored by Vendors/Service providers who were eating up your time (up to and including a series of mandatory one-to-one meetings), distracting the group focus and stifling the discussions.
- The pricing was either very high (up to over 20.000 €) for what one received or not expensive at all (a few hundreds) but delivering not much added value.
The first Mont Blanc Circle was set up in 2010 and was a peer network of General Counsels and some selected international Outside Counsels. It was very well received and received high Satisfaction Rates. Based on this good experience, some suggested to start a dedicated Circle for Compliance Officers which was done in 2015. One day, a member of the Compliance Circle invited his Head of Internal Audit to come and address the group. Back in his company, another participating member shared that presentation with his own Head of Internal Audit who wondered why there was not such Mont Blanc Circle for CAOs. This was set up in 2017. That same year, the CPO of a worldwide company came and made a presentation to the Legal Circle. From the discussions, it appeared that there was great interest in creating another Circle for this important and growing function of Privacy. Hence, the Privacy Circle was created in 2019.
We are not interested to set up Circles for the fun of it. But when we receive direct requests of interested leading professionals in a given function, we are happy to take action and see whether there is indeed a broader interest. Today, we also benefit form cross-fertilization between Circles in terms of speakers, contacts, referrals etc. The members consider this to be a key strength of the Mont Blanc Circle. Currently, based on new input and requests we received, we are exploring whether there is interest from other functions to set up their own Circle as well.
Whilst there are of course financial considerations in setting up and managing the different Circles, we aim first and foremost for long-term quality, both in terms of the people we bring together as in terms of the programmes we present. That is the reason why membership is intuitu personae and the very reason why we limit the membership to a number that allows strong personal contacts, intense and open interaction during and in between the Retreats and most important, the building of that genuine trust-based relationship amongst members.
Unfortunately, this happens. “Unfortunately” because there are very good and talented people we have to refuse because they do not have the most senior position in their area in their company or sometimes because the company is too small or has only a limited international footprint. We take great care in building a coherent and consistent membership so that the members are really meeting up with their peers and can learn from each other and grow together.
No, this never happened. We invite the members to give feedback and are always very open and happy to discuss any issue, there are no taboos. We are very flexible and accommodating, it is the Circle of the Members ! We understand that our members are under high pressure and have their own constraints. When members leave it is always for reasons not related to the functioning of the Circle, like a change of job outside their function, an international assignment outside Europe, an internal move to a different function, retirement, …
Not to have dared to start the Mont Blanc Circle earlier.