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When TGS members meet, they are happy to be together.
Underpinned by an unrelenting entrepreneurial spirit, the growth of TGS is as much to do with expansion as it is about empowerment and inspiration.
TGS President and CEO, Marc Desjardins speaks with journalist Mark Alexander to explain what lies behind one of the world’s top 25 international networks.
Like many businesses, TGS was borne out of a desire to do things differently. Indeed, while the idea of championing responsible global business practices would come later, the crucial spark was ingenuity. To get under the skin of TGS, you first have to understand the creative and entrepreneurial catalyst that led to this global network and the modest origins from which it came.
“For me, it was completely crazy because we started from zero; from scratch,” says Marc Desjardins, partner in TGS France, co-founder and CEO of TGS. “We decided to launch a new business network not exactly knowing what that would involve – but we did it.”
“It was completely crazy because we started from zero”
Marc Desjardins, CEO and co-founder of TGS
TGS was founded by two members in 2011 with the idea of creating a genuine alternative network to the existing incumbents. A decade later, it is ranked in the top 25 international networks representing 70 members across 57 countries. Its sustained growth has been rooted in the potent foundations of entrepreneurialism, which continues to be a driving force today.
“Our first intention is to make our members active – we want them to do it for themselves”, says Marc. “We want our members to active partners – we don’t treat them as clients. If we have a mission, it is to empower our members and feed their entrepreneurial spirit.”
This determination is probably most evident in the TGS program of conferences and webinars where the practical benefits of membership extend far beyond the tantalizing draw of networking. Conceived as occasions to exchange ideas, the conferences and webinars provide the fertile setting for members to discuss and exchange best practices.
“We don’t like to arrange seminars and conferences where you sit and listen to one speaker after another”, Desjardins explains. “Instead we have workshops where ideas are shared. It’s an obsession. We can’t imagine having a speaker and then no workshop or discussion. We want people to be active. We want to brainstorm to transform ideas into projects; into something practical.”
If we have a mission, it is to empower our members and feed their entrepreneurial spirit
Marc Desjardins, CEO and co-founder of TGS
Even more significant is the organic nature of this exchange which is made possible by a network of more than 4,500 professionals specializing in accounting, audit, tax, business advisory, and commercial legal services. To do this sustainably, TGS employs an inspired system of self-determination where members participate in expert working groups, technical committees, and a strategic council. It is, after all, a global network created by its members for its members.
“We speak about the TGS family, and I am happy to say that did not come from me. The first time I heard that was from one of our members”, admits Marc. “Our members are responsible for their own network.”
The significance of this autonomy extends to the network’s regional groups which use their niche status to focus on issues affecting their own jurisdiction and devise seminars accordingly. Indeed, both these regional groups and those focussed on core competencies develop training topics, such as corporate social responsibility or business development, which are then developed by TGS University (TGS U) – a continuing program of educational seminars provided exclusively to TGS members.
“TGS U is fed by the TGS Quality Programme but also by the TGS advisory committees”, Desjardins explains. “We have different committees and defined groups, and it is thanks to these committees and groups that we can identify topics. It’s a good way of identifying training opportunities.”
The TGS Quality Programme is a comprehensive process that ensures the highest levels of quality across the network. It also acts as a potent source of inspiration for education and training. In conjunction with the committees and groups, the TGS Quality Programme creates an interconnected network that supports the professional development of its members.
“It’s about communication, education, and sharing ideas”, says Marc. “TGS is where global entrepreneurs meet. It’s where globally-minded people help each other to grow by expanding their horizons and exploring practical and innovative business practices. It’s about adventure!”
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