Friday, May 29, 2015

Yes, we soared… to giddy heights

It is a bit like a wedding really.  You work all year planning an event, and whoosh, in a few quick hours it is over.
I always need a few days to step back and reflect on the conference.

As I read through the evaluation forms, Sam Horn’s presentation was the highlight of the day by a long shot, followed of course by the firemen.

What an entrance my MC Liz Radzick made, complete with pink boa being carried in on a stretcher by four hunky firemen, followed by the dancing gals. I don’t know how she comes up with these ideas, and of course she never shares them with me. It’s always a surprise. So I have to say, I’m just a tad worried about what she will do next year.

Sam was so approachable, telling memorable stories to illustrate her points, so everyone came away with concrete tools.  She also hung around to work with people one-on-one after her talk was over. Everyone at the conference got a copy of her book and I highly recommend reading it.  If you want to know more, check out my book review for Actionable Books.

One of the challenges as an event planner is last-minute cancellation and we had our share for this conference, with three speakers having to cancel last minute – all for good reasons – but which left me scrambling.  Momentarily.  This is when the power of your network comes through, and I am most appreciative to the women who came to my rescue – Krista Wright, Michele Bailey and Jackie Dinsmore.  Ladies, I owe you one.

And the panel was amazing.  Each woman shared her story with real honesty and it was clear there is no magic formula to success as each took a different path to get there, but each showed the tenacity you require to stay the course.  Perhaps one of the great one-liners came from Julie Cole when she said when life hands you lemons, make a gin and tonic!

This year we added two awards to the event, which for me, was special.  I felt like a little kid bursting to share a secret. We had ten nominees for the Woman of Inspiration Award – each worthy of recognition – but it was Colleen Saunders who won over both the members and the judges with her courage in taking back her life after her husband committed suicide and her willingness to share that horrific time with other families and mental health workers so the pain was eased for them, as much as it could after such a tragic occurrence.

But we also wanted to honour a long time friend and member of Company of Women – Donna Messer – who had sadly died in April and so a special tribute was played in her memory and we presented an award to a woman who, like Donna, is constantly helping others and linking them to people they need to meet, and that was Linda Sztanko.

For me it was a long, full day and I suspect for the women attending it was too – with 24 speakers sharing their stories and expertise, two heart-touching award presentations and then let’s not forget… the firemen.   What more could a gal ask for? 

Yes, well that’s my challenge for the 10th Journey 2 Success conference in 2016.  The good news is that I have a year to plot.   Thank you everyone for making this year’s event happen.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

And Soar we did..... Higher and Higher. Thank you Anne for an amazing day! My first Company of Women Conference was just last year and I left with new thoughts and goals. I met so many incredible professional women and it gave me confidence that I could do great things in my life as well. So, coming to This Years Conference was already going to be on my Calendar when I left the building last year.
You have once again out done yourself and provided an action packed day to inspire the women in the room with wonderful speakers and a panel. Their stories and encouragement and willingness to give freely their expertise, leaves me a feeling of excitement for what I can do in the future.
I was thrilled for Colleen Saunders. She so deserved that recognition of her kindness in supporting others who are going through a tragic death. It cannot be easy for her to relive her pain each time she comforts another.
I was shocked, surprised and very humbled to receive the Donna Messer Connect Us Award. It was the first time I saw myself the way others see me and that was a huge AHA moment for me. To be recognized even the same arena as an icon like Donna left an incredible feeling in my heart.
What an amazing Journey 2 Success we are all on because of YOUR efforts and willingness to help all women to find their path.
I can't wait to see what next year's conference will be.

With MUCH Gratitude,
Linda Sztanko