We all lead busy lives and it’s never an easy thing to take three days away from work and family commitments,but there is an event in the calendar that I will move heaven and earth to find a way to attend if I’m fortunate enough to score an invitation.
Last week was the 6th Women in Focus Annual conference, and saw 180 business women from around Australia descend on Noosa for 3 days of presentations and workshops, but above all conversations.
The quality of speakers that the team at Women in Focus put forward for us to listen to and learn from is always outstanding and this year was no different. My inner tech geek saw me incredibly excited by Dr Fiona Kerr and Dr Jordan Nguyen’s opening session on the exciting possibilities opened up by the combination of neuroscience and robotics, while Rosie Batty’s dignified, steely determination to change Australia’s current appalling family violence record left me filled with hope that this change was indeed going to happen provided we all commit to playing our part.
While these and many of the other presentations had a real and lasting impact, of equivalent value are the conversations that happen off the stage. Katie Mihell, leader of the Women in Focus team posted this ‘collaboration map’ illustrating some of the wide web of connections and impacts that prior years conferences have generated.
I absolutely love this visual, and can personally attest to how real and how valuable this is with so many of my own connections and collaborations born from past events. I’ve written about some of those previously here and here.
There isn’t a way yet that I’ve seen of visually illustrating the idea’s sparked from this event, which come about from the conversations. The conference venue absolutely hums with the buzz of conversation, in the breaks, in the lifts, over meals – wherever you find more than one delegate at any given time. Even when wearing cowboy hats on the backseat of a bus!
The other soundtrack to these events is laughter. It’s impossible to go anywhere without hearing the sound of women laughing together, and I’m sure Dr Fiona would tell us there is science to document the value that laughing together brings us – not to mention that there is no need for crunches when you spend 3 days belly laughing, my abs are still feeling it!
A huge thanks to all of my fellow delegates who engaged so freely in those conversations and belly laughs, and of course to the fabulous Women in Focus team who put on an absolutely fantastic but oh so carefully constructed event to facilitate those outcomes. It would also be remiss not to acknowledge the wider CommBank team whose support for the Women In Focus community has been unwavering.
I’m looking forward to discovering how many new connection web’s I’m going to add to Katie’s map as a consequence of this years event!