Only a week ago we were blogging about what’s coming up with “Executive Escapes”. And now all I can think is, “doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun”.
As a blogger, my intention was to simply observe the inspirational speakers and delegates, in order to reflect and feedback on how these entrepreneurs and hard working thinkers interacted, learned and also socialised with each other. I didn’t for one moment think I’d end up participating with, sharing knowledge, and learning from all those present at Executive Escapes. Yet here I am, 4 days gone, and returning back to London with huge learnings to take home both professionally and personally.
I then reflected and thought why that was? I’ve attended many business conferences before, so why was this so different?
My question was answered when I had the chance to interview Catherine Labinjo, the brains behind the concept of “Executive Escapes”. As an entrepreneur herself, Catherine told me she’d been thinking of the life of an entrepreneur and how rarely they’re able to get away without switching off. She wanted to build a concept that could allow a creative, safe space, for like minded people to come and network, learn and also wind down, without feeling guilty. The leisure aspect of the concept is why an overseas location was chosen.
When debating which country, Catherine did due diligence in her research and finally settled on Malta, because as a destination, it’s not overly populated with tourism like other possible choices, and she could make it exclusive in her offer. Malta also provide a lot of tax relief and business support, so what better location for entrepreneurs.
My one on one conversation with Catherine was insightful to the person she was, and further into the business leisure conference, I realised the speakers chosen were also a testament to who Catherine was. She had carefully chosen those who could share knowledge about growing a business, but also about developing you as an individual. Because without taking care of the mind and body, how can you build and lead a team?
For some people, the thought of networking with “entrepreneurs” could sound daunting. What could I possibly have to give? Will they look down on me? Will I feel inadequate? And maybe in other business networks, those questions may be valid, but with Executive Escapes, I quickly saw that no one was there to judge. They were simply there to learn, be open, ask questions and help each other. Despite the different mix of backgrounds (from Nigerian, Jamaican; Zimbabwean; to English; and Italian), right there in Malta, everyone was simply one; and it was really good to witness.
On this note, I give kudos to Catherine. As the saying goes, “if you want to know if you really get on with someone, go on holiday with them”! In the business sessions, everyone got on fine, but would that reflect in people’s leisure time? Would you see a different side to these people? Well, yes, they were all ready to drink, eat, shake a leg and have fun. But still with each other. For a relatively large group of travellers, not once did I witness any arguments or negative talks between people. It really showed me that this group of entrepreneurs were more than just business focused. They had integrity and compassion. They were happy in their comfort zone and encouraged / welcomed people within that comfort zone.
Malta really was a fantastic location. With the right balance of conferences, business breakfasts, fantastic hotel with all the right amenities (spa; tennis courts; lovely restaurants; bar; indoor and outdoor pools; games room; and more); yacht party; carefully selected history tour to give our delegates a break; and also more than enough bars, clubs and restaurants off site to keep this clearly inquisitive group engaged and satisfied. You wouldn’t even know that some of them were strolling back to their hotel rooms at 4am in the morning, because the next day, by 9:30am, there they were, back in those meeting rooms ready to deliver their presentation or as a delegate to learn. Over a weekend, in one’s own time, is real dedication.
Every single attendee present attested to gaining from this unique business leisure getaway, including forming new connections and friendships. And I for one, want to be there in 2019 to continue learning from what clearly was, a sound group of individuals. I’m simply waiting to hear the dates and the speaker line up!
I know a lot of you reading this are nodding your head thinking, “yes, this sounds like me” or, “this is totally my cup of tea”. My simple advice is, take the plunge and join this awesome group. You won’t be disappointed.
For the wanderlust readers, this was my second time to Malta, and we saw a huge improvement to this country. We also found new spots and sights to visit (thanks to Executive Escapes); so much so, that if we returned again, we’ve decided to combine it with Sicily! This place really does have many opportunities.
I’ll leave you with a beautiful motto Catherine shared with me “Pursue excellence, and success naturally follows”
I hope to see you next year for 2019 Executive Escapes, and we’ll be sure to give you ample notice!
To watch the video, click here: https://youtu.be/gbAu2ut275A
Author: Tina Benson