Last year’s Beyond Pink brought together an amazing 150 delegates, 40 tradeshow exhibitors, 35 mentors, and 20 high profile speakers and business leaders for a phenomenal weekend. We were honoured to be part of the organizing process and took away many invaluable lessons. The importance of working with a fantastic team was definitely one of our leading achievements and a source of constant support. These were some of our other highlights: Vision.
One of the greatest benefits of co-chairing a conference is the chance to create the vision, from scratch to finish. You steer the direction, content and structure of a conference that you would want to attend, with speakers you’d want to hear from.
Your scribbled notebook ideas become a reality for 150 people. How amazing is that!
Not only do you get to work with some of the top business leaders in Vancouver, you also get to hand-pick your executive team. What skills are most important for your team? What personalities do you want in the room? How do you cover the gaps? You recruit, evaluate and bring everyone together!
After you handpick your awesome team of young professionals, you become responsible for leading everyone towards your united conference vision. You will learn how to work with different personalities and communication styles, how to provide clear directions on next steps while encouraging a level of creativity and independence, how to celebrate big victories and encourage the team after set-backs, and finally, how to guide the mood in the room.
You’ll learn how critical it is to maintain the right balance between excitement, ambition, anxiety and stress. And you’ll recognize that throughout all the shifting and changing details of the event, your team will be your steady backbone.
Negotiation (and creative spending).
Young Women in Business is a non-profit organization with a vision to make leadership opportunities available for all young women. This means working on a budget. A tight budget. You get to be creative to get what you want - anything from hotels, to sponsors, to food.
There’s no better opportunity to hone the skill of negotiation!
A conference of this scale might seem intimidating. It might seem too big, too complicated, or too time-consuming. But one of the biggest lessons we learned was our personal capacity to adapt and get the most out of our time. Even with full-time day jobs and other personal commitments, we always managed to find a couple of extra hours for the conference and our team. Through dedication and excitement, we even found Beyond Pink to be a source of energy - more fuel - to do just a bit more every day. And when set-backs happen, you develop a mental toughness, an unrivaled optimism, that will see you through to success.
This isn’t a job. Neither you nor your team get paid yet you all invest your valuable time and skills to make something amazing happen. Who wouldn’t want to work with such talent and altruism?
You experiment, you learn, and you grow from start to finish.
Janelle+Iva BP 2012 co-chairs