Conference. Such a dull word, immediately brings to mind over air-conditioned rooms, sensible clothes, sensible people, endless talks. Not much VA-VA-VOOM.
We wanted to be together, we wanted to train and learn and share, but not in a conference-y way. No no no.
So I asked my friend and IH Ambassador Melissa if she would think about organizing the event. She’s a very Virgo Virgo and very bossy. She would cope.
Several hundred women descended into the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa. Eau-M-G became rather a weekend catchphrase. Eau-M-G, the pool is cool. Eau-M-G, have you seen the spa? Eau-M-G, these warm-parmesan-crispy-things are delicious.
My mate Jonathan Adler had designed the rooms upstairs, they were very funky, vases with boobs, mugs with lips, egg shaped baths, sunshine yellow bed covers, navy trimmed pelmets. Donald Robertson sketches hung on the wall, he had been my brother’s best man. All good, this tribal gathering, our GREAT GET TOGETHER, was meant to feel like a family affair.
With that in mind Domino, my 8 year old, led the Junkanoo parade, spear in one hand, shield in the other, drums beating, girls dancing, cowbells ringing, and Conrad, my 13 year old, opened our main session. “I have watched my Mum grow this business from nothing to….this,” he said, opening his arms to a room filled with extraordinary women.
But this event was much less about me and much more a celebration of the women who have collectively chosen to take an unexpected path, to partner in this company of ours and run it as their own business. And this was the weekend where we thanked them for making this choice.
Nicholas, THE CEO, (‘THE’ is always capitalized. He’s German and we pay attention.) talked us through the company goals and achievements. Brooke Shields moderated a panel discussion where we listened and learnt from some wise chiquitas who have grown their businesses considerably this past year, and there was a social media workshop where we heard from one of the original Pinfluencers.
We had dinner by the pool with our new directors, and jogged between breakout training sessions during the day, and in the evening found bananas on our pillows reminding us to be extraordinary, and, of course, to go bananas.
On the last evening we drank and danced in the ballroom, after my 22 year old niece Maddison May (the person not the bag) said a few words about learning to be yourself and her husband, a musician and songwriter, serenaded us, and we thanked our incredible team who had masterminded this whole affair, and reminded everyone not to mess up the coral on the tables, it was being returned in the morning!
I looked around that grand room filled with candlelight and English roses and white coral and saw so many friends, old and new, and felt very happy.
This was not a conference. This really was a family affair.