Reporting my daily going-ons online is not something I excel at so I thought I could pick out and share my 2018 highlights instead. I feel so very blessed to work in our industry : I am so often surrounded by the most talented experts in such a variety of fields that there are always opportunities to learn and to share knowledge too.
2018 started with a favourite..
..my 16th Cisco Live since 2000. We returned to Barcelona after 10 years but to a much larger venue than back then as the event has grown so much. It feels good to still be a trusted member of the production team after all these years, to witness the evolution of this annual customer conference first-hand and play my part, working with clients and teams who push hard to find and implement the most innovative ways to enhance the delegate experience.
New destination coup de coeur..
2018 saw a few firsts. Working in New Orleans was a first, and what a wonderful experience.
The city boasts a formidable and lively French Quarter and contrasting Warehouse District, each with fabulous culinary delights. A personal favourite is The Butcher on Tchoupitoulas Street, check it out if you can.. and if you are not a vegetarian I suppose!
The event was a finance conference at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, conveniently located on the banks of the Mississippi River. Some of the many local staff hired for the occasion shared a little bit of their life story which were dramatically altered by Hurricane Katrina, yet they showed so much positivity, kindness and strength that it was impossible not to be inspired by them all.
The winner of the ‘new’ goes to..
.. Las Vegas! All my ‘new’ boxes got ticked : a new destination, a new venue, a new client, a new agency and a new event. A large digital signage project with a twist as the core team was based mainly in the US West Coast but also on the East Coast and in London. This meant adapting working hours and using online tools more to ensure communication was optimum, content created, reviewed, signed off and scheduled effectively.
Technology has gone a long way in a short amount of time and I doubt this would have been so smooth or even possible when I started in the industry in the late 90s.
Continued involvement with the GDUK community
Once again we supported the charity with the production of its 4th Leadership Symposium and Champion of Hope Awards evening. Each year, I get a further reality check on the challenges faced by the families of individuals affected by a genetic disorders. I am blown away by the determination and dedication of the many small charity leaders in this community and I have nothing but deep admiration for them all.
Another first for me was a half marathon walk fundraising for Genetic Disorders UK around what turned out to be a rather wet London! This experience was full of positives, as not only did I raise £567.50 thanks to the generosity of my friends, colleagues and ‘gift aid’, but I also shed a few pounds in the process!
For the 2nd time also, we supported the CGD Society with the production of their family conference which takes place every 3 years. It was wonderful to see many returning faces and hear some truly positive updates on bone marrow transplant and gene therapy from the medical experts.
A big chunk of the year was spent on digital signage projects, with different levels of requirements, both in Europe and the USA, in the IT and finance sectors. Three of these projects involved 180+ screens of various sizes which kept me on my toes for a period of time.
A fabulous year taking different approaches with the designers and animators but also with the technical teams and venues and working with really solid content management systems. I look forward to the next one, which is only a few weeks away now.
Le French package
I don’t get to work on many French-speaking events. The last time had been a few years back, producing a dental health conference at Le Louvre with a group of French-speaking scientists – the photos of tooth decay and gum diseases they included in their PowerPoint is forever embedded in my brain..
When I was offered to use my mother tongue on a French pharma packaging event at Paris Expo, I jumped at the opportunity and braved the snowy weather. It was something quite different, with front line contact with attendees, and I learnt that little bit more about sachet, pouch, stick pack, multi-chamber, laminate, film, foil, pvc, tear open, blister and peel!
So here we are, a new year with new adventures on the horizon. I look forward to working with the familiar faces that make our industry so great and with the new ones which will bring in new fun, highbrow raising challenges and innovation.
Brexit is round the corner and our industry could be affected pretty heftily – the word carnet keeps popping up.. However, and like everyone else, I am simply not sure what the impact will be.
Here is to keeping optimistic then, I have no doubt 2019 will be a year to remember!