The mission is to build a network of pioneers who share the ability to respond to change, identify opportunities and act on them to better shape our collective creative future here in New Zealand and beyond.
To continue the process of learning out loud, here’s my review:
It was another sold out event with nearly 200 leaders attending from 85 entities (most represented above – in 2017 there were 150 leaders from 70 cross-sector organisations).
One third came from outside the Wellington region (in 2017 it was only 15%) and nearly two thirds have female names (similar to last year which was 65%). It’s also interesting to note the reach in terms of how many humans the delegates accumulatively lead: 7,295 (an average of 40 per delegate).
Taking the feedback from last years event, the intention was to create more reflection time and space to connect. Therefore we had nine speakers rather than the thirteen in 2017, simplified the workshop offerings and added in generous time for morning / afternoon tea and lunch (plus networking at the end of both days – click the above image to download the full event brochure).
What was amazing this year was having five volunteers / event assistants (last year I had two plus some venue staff). Was also more vocal about the aim of the conference beyond the usual learnings and networking, this was about building a conscious and hungry community of leaders who are seeking out creative insights, literacies and skills sets.
Probably one of my favourite parts of this process is finding / choosing / liaising with the speakers. Nearly all of the speakers I had a previous relationship with so the focus was ensuring diversity and nuance to compliment the ‘intersections’ theme.
All but one of the speakers were paid for their time and involvement plus all expenses were covered. This is a continued attempt to shift the culture in NZ of paying for talent at events (which is not the usual). Each speaker got a plus one also.
this was privately funded venture and delivered under the Creative Welly initiative;
financial grant support was secured again from the US Embassy and Australian High Commission who provided funds to cover the expenses for Aaron, Butterscotch and Tim (respectively);
further partner support came from Wellington Chocolate Factory who offered gift packs for the speakers / facilitators, MOJO in providing coffee / tea refreshments for both days for all breaks (plus an espresso coffee from downstairs in their cafe), QT Wellington Hotel donated rooms for our overseas guests (with a reduced cost for others), and finally a small but appreciated discount from our caterers, The Lab.
Overall, the event profit doubled from 2017, a result of applying learnings, smaller venue cost and having less speakers to pay.
Audio and visual (AV services), catering and venue hire are always chunky fixed costs, and this year, there was the addition of some ‘CLNZ’ letters to ensure the stage looked great.
There was also the speakers / partners meal the night before plus everyone who attended got given a printed brochure / agenda, notebook, pen and badge (plus espresso coffee voucher for the cafe downstairs – see ‘partners’):
Other costs were the bar tab for the networking drinks at the end of the first day, We Do (for photography) and Empire Films (for the review video).
Again with last year, as a solopreneur all aspects of the event are produced by me, which includes:
website design / copy;
speakers curation / negotiation / support;
invoicing delegate registrations;
partner / venue / catering liaison etc.
The design of the brochure / agenda was a trade with a local supplier for a couple of delegate spots.
Marketing & Sales
As with last year I produced these little ‘teasers’ as way of promoting the talent on offer. Here are all the Linkedin versions: Aaron, Jo, Melissa, Paula, Paul, Te Aroha, Tim.
Other activities were time intensive in terms of taking time to reach out specifically to folks in my network although it yielded results. The event details got featured in about half a dozen email newsletters of other networks which definitely raised the profile as well.
My interest definitely lies in crafting and curating the experience rather than promoting and selling it.
As the focus was on creating a community through conversation and connection, there were no exhibits or distracting activities other than one: at the beginning of the event the delegates were asked to write down a creative or leadership challenge they are currently dealing with. These were collected in and stuck on one of the walls which became the ‘wall of wisdom’ where throughout the rest of the event, others added their responses to the questions posed.
Also, during the final reflection session delegates were asked to write a ‘letter to self’ – these will be posted early in the new year as a reminder of the experience and commitment they made to themselves.
This year I decided to MC the event. Was very overwhelmed and will be doing things differently in 2019 to ensure the pace is kept solid whilst freeing me up from most of those duties.
As it was the first time in the venue there are lots of opportunities to hone the experience from dressing the spaces and ensuring the flow of delegates are positive. Still gathering delegate feedback although wonderful to see some offering their insights and creative reflections:
Feeling lucky to be a citizen of a country when the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, says stuff like:
If I could distill it down into one concept that we are pursuing in New Zealand, it is simple and it is this: kindness.
In this time of hollow nationalism and fracturing distrust, a call for compassion, togetherness, thinking of the other truly is unusual and all the more important as we struggle forward in these dark times.
Sign me up for ‘team kindness’. Who else is with me?
Thanks to the event organisers for the opportunity to have voice:
DK gave an inspiring address to the Rotary Club Forum: “Achieving the ‘Impossible Dream’ for Wellington: the city and region” on Tuesday 1 August 2017. His themes included creativity, innovation, compassion, empathy and branding. He challenged the audience on achieving a “creative Welly”, connecting the creative capital, providing leadership across the sectors, an independent collective and a community that is simultaneously globally minded and locally focused. He personifies the quote of “Life’s too short not to be audacious.” He set the stage for a Forum that was bold, diverse and audacious about achieving ‘Impossible Dreams’ for Wellington.
Dr Roger Blakeley Chair, Wellington Rotary Club 2017 Forum
Since arriving over five years ago, Aotearoa definitely feels like home.
Due to the international audience and network I’ve been luckily enough to accumulate over the years, here’s a couple of ways to get your bums over here, live the dream and add value to this progressive little nation:
If you’re in the tech industry then *Looksee Wellington gives you no excuse to explore opportunities in the creative capital. If you’re free 8-11 May 2017 then hurry and submit your details to the site:
“…we’re bringing 100 of the best people we can find to fill 100 great tech jobs right here in Wellington. It’ll be four days of pre-arranged job interviews, meet-ups and exploration, with all flights and accommodation paid for. At the end of the week there’ll be offers to jobs you never knew existed in a place with a lifestyle you never thought possible.”
*Edmund Hillary Fellowship is the brainchild and result of the good work my pals at Kiwi Connect has been doing. Be sure to check the small print though as applications can set you back $850-$3,000 if applying from overseas (although this is cheaper than other visa routes):
“Global Impact Visas (GIVs) is an innovative new visa programme that aims to give visionary entrepreneurs, investors, and startup teams a platform in New Zealand to build, incubate and support ventures with global impact potential.”
Have seen so many folks stand and speak about their particular topic then struggle with the storytelling aspect of their message. Or suffer with nerves and other nuances which detract from the talk in some. Or fail to understand the importance of a well crafted slide deck in assisting their delivery.
This conference is for them.
It’s the wrong time to be announcing any kind of new initiative, let alone a medium-sized conference, however, just couldn’t keep it under wraps till the new year.
Check out the current impressive line-up who will be sharing their wisdom (more to be added soon):
The early-bird offer along with the 25s-and-under registrations rates are currently active under a first-come-first-served scheme*:
As already mentioned, the day will include a mix of keynotes and workshops focussed on deconstructing presentation styles, understanding the psychology of what makes a good talk, exploring models of speaking, other good practice insights and delivery methodology. On top of the usual food and refreshments and networking opportunities.
*At the time of writing, over half of the early bird spots have already been registered, so please act quick.
Would truly appreciate you sharing the above announcement:
with team members, colleagues, friends, family members etc.;
HUGE thanks to Michelle and KiwiBank for filming and allowing me to share this presentation on ‘speaking with purpose.’
Twenty minutes, full of advice, sometimes contradictory and hopefully some useful.
It’s a concentration of learning from a decade of public speaking experience, what we do with our five/six week coaching course for TEDxWellington (which is where the presentation starts, after I showed the latest review video from the 2016 event) and some stuff borrowed (like an artist) from others.
What did I miss out? What do you agree / disagree with? What were the takeaways for you?
We were very privileged to have DK present to Kiwibank as part of our Knowledge Cafe series. His presentation highlighted tips and tricks for improving as a public speaker, and I was very impressed with both the presentation and his advice.
As someone that fears presenting, his tips provided easy yet elegant advice for how to overcome that fear.
I would unhesitatingly recommend DK for anyone that is looking for either a presenter, or a coach. His techniques are excellent and he is inspiring to work with. Michelle Farrell, Knowledge Manager at KiwiBank
In the last six months I’ve been lucky enough to secure some paid coaching work around public speaking. The first was a three half day sessions for a major production studio in the capital, the second with a science communicator sharpening her delivery and confidence, plus the latest is a set of one-to-ones with senior executives and public sector officers for an important NZ-based government-led symposium early next year.
Think it may be time I updated my website to include this in my offer to the world.
As we near the end of the first year the time to reflect seems appropriate and here are some learnings:
variety is key—the usual sage-on-the-stage presentations is now mixed with seminars, workshops, masterclasses, roundtables, one-to-ones, mentoring etc, ensuring all tastes and learning styles are catered for. It’s also a trial of see what fits and sticks, plus what formats can be morphed and realigned with others;
reframing was important—originally, many were describing the piece of work as an umbrella although the quick reframe as a scaffold (supporting existing good projects and initiatives whilst filling in the gaps to create a broad foundation) made it more accessible. It was also gentler as there’s a huge amount of good work in the city and moving forward with humility has been crucial;
trying is better than not—as you can read from some of the highlighted choices in this blog post review, there’s been some fun goes at changing the offer. Merging disciplines and styles is always a step into the unknown although excited we had the opportunity to try;
capacity is the biggest issue—a four-day-a-week (which is what I negotiated before I start to ensure I can still produce the most creative TEDx event in the world), does not leave a lot of time other than nailing KPI’s (which we are with a little added on top). Reflection is still needed although the accepted transition into a more quality-versus-quantity mode has ignited the creative possibilities;
hidden impact—the softer side of running an activation programme is in the connections made, the conversations had, the thoughts sparked, the ideas inspired etc. The stuff incredibly hard to monitor or track, however, can be found in the stories shared back and the side chats had. It’s the fabric which builds communities of practice and the stuff which amplifies opportunities.
Here’s the next 100 and year two with an emphasis on audacious activations which make the world take notice.