Our Sage Business Expert, Janice B Gordon, shares her Top 5 Picks from last week’s Sage Summit and reviews the goals she’d set herself before going.
1. Mentor Neighbourhood
I spent two days in the mentor neighbourhood connecting with other mentors, advising and supporting mentees. Although it was the mentor neighbourhood’s first year, the facilities were excellent. I know many mentors felt as I did, inspired by the creativity and enthusiasm of mentees who were a pleasure to work with.
William K Humphrey said “Just had a mentor session with the beautiful Janice B Gordon. She is a phenomenal speaker that has motivated me and transformed the way I view sales. She is a deep well of knowledge who is extremely personable and easy to understand. This moment is surely going to move me to the next stage of my personal growth and business mind-set. Now I know the power of giving value and how to better present my services. Thank you, Janice B Gordon, you are really amazing.”
I also realised how lucky we are in the UK and Ireland to have an abundance of sources of advice and support for start-up and growth businesses.
I loved the opening keynote – Stephen Kelly, CEO who ignited the Sage innovation ecosystem and talked about partnership in leapfrog progression.
Other highlights include Stephen Kelly’s interview of Richard Branson, not only that – I met Richard Branson – whoopee.
Then I found Jennifer Warawa’s interview of Robert Herjavec and Daymond John relevant and insightful as they shared their start up journey and lessons learnt from Shark Tank and their many challenges on the road to great success. If you look at the @SageIreland timeline, the Shark Tank session is full of business insights and quotes that engaged their audience.
The Keynote from Ashton Kutcher and Yancey Strickler was so full of wisdom and future thinking, like get a mentor, and how social media is a conversational tool that provides essential feedback.
If you missed any of these, make sure you watch them online.
After visiting Chicago 17 years ago, you cannot ignore the impact of the city on the delegates.
Chicago was a beautiful setting for Sage Summit which was hosted in McCormick Place, on the banks of Lake Michigan.
As a single female, I happily walked to and from my hotel near North side, at 6 am and 2 am. The city grid system means, with a good sense of direction, it’s hard to get lost in the city, and I averaged 20,000 steps per day.
Many international delegates planned a day either before or after the summit to enjoy beautiful Chicago.
4. The Summit
The Sage Summit facilitation was excellent. McCormick Place, like all convention centres, can be cold and unwelcoming, not so at Sage Summit. The welcome and facilitation team were amazing, I spoke to many of these young students who do this work to earn money while on summer break from college, all very enthusiastic. The Sage Village floor was spacious and well-lit and created a wonderful atmosphere and user experience. The food had an emphasis on meat eaters. However, the beverages flowed all day. The transportation between hotels and venues was well organised, even the luggage drop on the final day was well thought-out.
5. Social & Networking
You will see from @SageIreland twitter feed that I and others had fun in the evening socials. I connected with the PwC guys the first night, great band. I had three socials in one night on the second night and met the Killers the third night, that’s after I had to ask who they were.
However, it was through chance conversations while sitting next to a partner or customer in the keynote presentation or over lunch; that ideas ignited your passions and connections are made. I met and interviewed Lionel Josset from Alego Solutions France on Monday morning and bumped into him on Thursday; he said he connected with many valuable contacts from France, who he’d never have met living in France. The enormity of the summit with almost 20,000 delegates can be overwhelming, all the more reason to have a goal and a plan of action.
So did I achieve my #SageSummit goals?
- Meet connections, relevant partners and possible investors (10 per day). YES
- Deliver an informative and engaging speaking event and get onto a bigger stage. YES
- Help companies gain clarity and strategies through my business mentoring sessions. YES
- Sell all my books during my #BusinessEvolution book signing sessions. NO – few did due to PR and location issues.
- Talk to companies about key account management and social selling and create consulting training opportunities to follow-up post event (2 per day). YES
- Create awareness for Africolette clothing and survey responsiveness for this product in USA. YES
- Meet Richard Branson and have a proper conversation – this could be the day it finally happens. YES AMAZINGLY
- Tweet, share pictures, live stream reaction and event happenings to take my audience on the #SageSummit Chicago journey. YES
- Meet new people, have fun and party (sleep on the return flight ready to take action next day) YES
I spoke to many people in the course of posting 80+ social media Tweets, Instagram, Facebook Periscope and Videos interviews, check my twitter feed. All said they enjoyed the experience, 80% would return next year, and 80% said their expectations were exceeded. I am so grateful I got the opportunity to meet so many great leaders, entrepreneurs, practitioners and business owners from all over the world and to top it all I met Richard Branson – thank you Sage.
Ignite your passions! I hope to see you next year.