I miss Ecuador already! I miss the scenery – the green dappled mountains, the impeccable colonial buildings, the delicious, fresh food and, most of all, the wonderful people I met there.
What was different about Connections Meetings in Quito? Well, apart from the fact that we held meetings on the edge of an active volcano Pululahua, and made some small but important changes to our operations thanks to the event theme of sustainability, there was one other thing.
This time, I actually had a full agenda of meetings with buyers and some suppliers, which was something I really wanted to do.
I had conversations with people about new destinations where we could host Connections, and new potential sectors that we could expand into, which was fantastic. So I really want to continue to do this, and I really appreciate the time that buyers and suppliers gave me.
By actually living the experiences with the delegates, it puts me in their shoes. I got to see what works about our events, and what needs to evolve, so it’s been an eye-opener for me.
My personal highlights? My first is the Quito cathedral dome experience. As a claustrophobic, who also has a fear of heights, my hands were sweating as I squeezed through these tiny tunnels to reach the top of the dome.
The delegates I was with looked after me so much – I had one person in front guiding me with their iPhone, and someone else behind me encouraging me to keep going! When I got to the top, it was all worth it, and I had some great conversations up there.
Another highlight for me was all the evening dinners. During our opening dinner at Techo del Mundo restaurant at Hotel Quito, I sat there twirling my napkin above my head and cheering on the singing, dancing delegates – it was my favourite start to any of our events, ever!
And our second dinner at the colourful Pepe Botella restaurant, which was sponsored by Quito Turismo. Once again, we were all on our feet dancing. I felt so happy, and I just felt like I was out partying with a group of close friends.
Throughout the event, we had the theme of sustainability in mind. Prior to Connections Meetings in Quito, we made some sustainable changes to the way we plan our events – and now, we won’t look back. I look forward to fulfilling my promise to source food responsibly for Connections Meetings in Italy in November.
I’m pleased to say that we managed to collect 80 lanyards back from delegates, which will be used again at our next event. And, we donated our attendees’ rucksacks to the Pululahua community, so that they can be used by children who attend the summer camp there – part of our speaker Rosa Chipantasi’s plans for sustainable development in the area.
I want to thank our content sponsors for really bringing the theme of sustainability to life.
Mike van der Vijver from Mindmeeting, and Claudia Van’t Hullenaar from Sustained Impact – thank you for bringing your creativity to the event. Thanks to you, we all left with some inspiration and personal goals for making changes to our businesses.
Some delegates have been championing sustainability in our industry for some time, and I want to thank them for sharing their expertise and for showing them the way to make changes.
To our brilliant destination partner, Quito Turismo, thank you for everything! Veronica, Norma and Alexandra, you are all fantastic. Thank you for the support, the ground handling, the dinners, the experiences and the stunning entertainment. In particular, the closing dinner in San Francisco convent was just breathtaking! Thank you for unlocking the secret buildings of Quito, and showcasing your beautiful city to us all.
Thank you to our fabulous host hotel: Washington, Roberto and everyone at Hotel Quito for creating such a great home for us in Quito. Your staff are excellent, no request too big or too small.
To our sponsors Sheraton Quito – who provided our delicious sustainable lunch on Monday at St Agustin – and Hotel Hilton Colon, who co-sponsored our unforgettable closing dinner at San Francisco monastery with Quito Turismo – a huge thank you for your support!
I could go on! But instead, let me just say a final thank you to the buyers and suppliers who were such a pleasure to host! I say it every time, but these events are made by you. It was your energy, sense of fun and open minds that made the event a true success.
I hope to see some of you at Connections Meetings in Italy in November – please do drop me a line or an email if you’d be interested in another round of the Connections Way! It would be an honour to have you all with us again.