June is conference month for CIMA Members in Practice and for the last 14 years I have been there – whether at Heythrop Park, Heathrow or, more recently, Nottingham.
But this year I had to miss this staple of my working calendar. My eldest son was graduating as a fully fledged teacher (to be set loose real children!) so of course I had to go to his graduation.
So I have been thinking about what I missed most from not going.
I missed the opportunity of seeing some great speakers from Will Kintish (what he does not know about networking isn’t worth knowing) to Levi Roots of Dragon’s Den fame. In the past we have had some excellent main stage speakers including Mark Ormrod, who got a standing ovation for his down to earth talk on his experiences following extensive injuries in the Gulf war, and Debra Searle who rowed across the Atlantic single handedly.
I always enjoy the main stage speakers but it is some of the break out sessions where the real value is gleaned. Practical, relevant sessions on how to run our businesses better have really helped me to develop my business.
I missed the fab gala dinner with entertainment and disco to follow – as anyone will tell you the disco is my favourite part of Conference downtime!
But what I missed most of all was catching up with the great friends I have made over the years who have helped support me and given me the confidence I now have. There are many people on that list but I want to particularly mention Mark Allen, Stephen Milne, Ian Ross, Kim Swarbrick and Antony Holdsworth (although if you look at the photo you will see that Stephen and Ian quickly found a substitute for me in my annual ‘guys in kilts piccie’.
So come what may I will be at next year’s Conference!!