As December begins I am still so bewildered by the months that have preceded us. Before we start the annual hype up for the holiday season (albeit a bit more local this year) I reflect on the year and where we were this time last year. In 2019 we had run 17 major conferences and seven of those were held between October and December! Things were hectic and everyone I knew was ‘too busy’ and just wanted time to stop for a while. Stress was the norm and no one had enough time. What a difference a year makes….we have run one physical, face-to-face conference this year and while we are now running full virtual conferences online, it’s certainly not even close to the old ‘busy’.
Around the globe we all had to slow down and in some ways come to a complete halt. However, as devastating as this has been for our economy (and personally to my team and business) I do also feel like it has been an opportunity for many of us to take stock, evaluate and find so much to be grateful for. It has definitely been a reminder that nothing can be taken for granted. Some of the lessons I have been reminded of this year are:
Have a back-up plan
As we have seen so many businesses crumble, impacting on economic and mental health, it’s important to remember to have a contingency plan. If your job or your life as you know it was gone tomorrow, what would you do? How would you cope, survive or adapt?
Look after your health
Physical and mental health can’t be ignored. They must be a priority at all times or nothing else matters.
Do work that matters to you
One of our long-standing clients has been instrumental in the research for a vaccine for COVID-19. While things may have slowed down in many sectors, others have never been busier and it makes me proud to be associated with work that makes a difference. It has always been my passion to ‘connect people to share knowledge’ and while we now connect very differently to what we did last year, the desire and passion have never been stronger.
Value the simple things
Face to face events, hugs, sharing a cuppa with a colleague… nothing can beat these! So as we ramp back up and face to face events start to be normal again, let’s remember the value of connection and make the most of the simple but most fulfilling moments in life and at events. We have twelve large face to face conferences scheduled for next year and we are roaring to go, connect, and get back in a room with all of you!
Hand sanitiser and Zoom meetings are life now
Not sure this needs explanation… however COVID safe plans, social distancing restrictions, and hand sanitiser stations are commonplace now. Our team is trained and ready to meet health regulations and strive to keep our delegates and guests safe at all times.
This year Expert Events celebrated our 14th birthday. From a one-woman show with a newborn to the eight-woman strong team we are now, I am grateful that the foundations, business basics, industry associations and programs I made sure I invested in and put time aside for ‘a rainy day’, were all used this year. I have faith in the mentors, industry colleagues and friends that have offered advice and taught me what I know. My team is stronger and more capable than ever and I have confidence in our future success.
Remember to grow
This year has given my team and I the time to upskill and expand our service offering in many ways (well beyond what was planned). Many of us have done jobs that weren’t in our job descriptions and we are tougher and more dynamic for it. I’ve had time to get to the bottom of my to-do list and dust off old skills too. While using the best technology and staying abreast of developments has always been very crucial to our business model we now have a stronger, smarter and more technologically advanced offering. Our latest virtual conference the ASCEPT-APSA 2020 Joint Virtual Scientific Meeting was a huge success with over 100 speakers, 120 e-posters, 350 virtual delegates and 4 concurrent sessions over 3 days.
So as we move towards the end of the year, our thoughts go to 2021. I wanted to extend my thanks for your support and for riding through the year with us. We are now capable of running full virtual events, we earned more certifications for our team and we became closer.
As we stare down the barrel of 2020 ending, I hope you get to spend time with the people you love, cherish your connections and have much to be grateful for.
Thank you for your support. Here’s to what’s next!