Exactly two years ago this evening, I was standing in the ballroom of the Four Seasons Hampshire, my hands sweating.
I remember it like it was yesterday.
My heart was beating like I was doing a spinning class. My knees felt weak and I was having trouble standing tall without my hands shaking.
To say I was apprehensive ahead of the very first Connections event is an understatement.
I vividly remember walking up and down the ballroom practicing my inaugural speech, trying to get the words memorised and trying my best to keep my clipboard from shaking in my hands.
Was this just two years ago? I can’t believe it. What a journey.
Thank you so much for participating. Thank you so much for your belief and your support.
Next year, we’ve got crazy big plans, including launching the first ever Connections event to take place on an independently floating iceberg in the Arctic Ocean.
Ok, so I’m kidding about that last bit. But now I mention it, there’s an idea… 😉
I wanted to quickly share some of the highlights that came to mind last week when I was contemplating our upcoming two-year anniversary.
I won’t ever forget the excitement of zooming around the tiny country roads near the Four Seasons Hampshire in a bright red Ferrari. My very first closing night speech, thanking everyone for attending, was something of a watershed moment for me. I’m welling up right now remembering the feelings of relief, delight and appreciation for the outpouring of support I felt from the audience.
When I watch back the video from our Abu Dhabi event, I can’t help but recall being driven at high speed around the Yas Marina circuit by a racing driver. This was one of the ‘Connections Experiences’ we offered the delegates at this event. I spent almost the whole journey screaming, continually. There’s a rather good photo of me mid-scream flying over a hairpin corner.
Our journey in the desert at Zaman Lawal Heritage Village, I am still astonished that Rob Sinclair-Barnes (from our global technology partner, Amadeus) agreed to take part in a ‘catch a chicken’ activity – apparently a local indication of one’s physical capability. The grin of triumph on Rob’s face when he returned back to the group holding the chicken was memorable. To this day I can’t help but say, “Kudos, Rob”.
Over in Beijing, I still remember the crazy rickshaw rides along with a perfect end to the event lighting traditional Chinese lanterns together and sending them up into the cold dark night.
Thinking back to the Rocco Forte Verdura Resort, I remember the delight I felt cycling through the Sicilian countryside from my room to the hotel ballroom for the opening keynote. And of course, I will never forget the grand entrance made by Peppe Mendola in his Fiat 500.
I always enjoy the group experiences, particularly the group cooking activities, most recently at the famous Blue Elephant restaurant in Phuket. What a time that was in Thailand.
As exciting as these memories are, it’s nothing – absolutely nothing – compared to the delight and satisfaction we all feel here at Connections. The opportunity to help contribute toward the forming of so many long lasting business relationships and friendships between you all is the most rewarding part of our work.
From everyone at Connections and from my amazing team, I thank you so much for all your help and support.
Thank you for picking up the phone in the first place!
Thank you for believing in us.
I’d love the opportunity to welcome you all back again next year in India, Ireland, Iceland, Italy and Ecuador. Please drop me a note at [email protected] or give me a call to discuss.