Hello, Sydney--Again!

Four years ago, we gathered in Sydney, Australia, for our first-ever Australian/New Zealand convention—and last week we were there again! Four years ago, there were many empty seats; this year we met in the same room and pretty much filled it. How fun and exciting to see the growth that is taking place Down Under!

Of course, one thing that hasn’t changed in the passing years is the enthusiasm of the demonstrators. My favorite part of convention has been, is, and probably always will be the people. Connecting with demonstrators, sharing stories and experiences, and strengthening our dedication to each other and what we all believe in is what convention is all about for me.

I also really enjoyed spending time with our staff. Despite our growth, we still haven’t reached the numbers we see in the United States and Canada, so in many ways it reminded me of the early years of Stampin’ Up!, where everyone pitched in, did whatever needed to be done (whether they’re assigned to or not), went the second (and third and fourth and more) mile, and smiled the whole time! There’s a camaraderie that occurs when a fairly small group of people works together to create something special, and I love being a part of that. I was so proud of our staff!

(A side note—it’s also this mentality that explains the lack of photos. I was so focused on helping out and fulfilling my assignments that I totally forgot to take photos! We had an outside photographer there assigned to take photos for the company, but we don’t get those from him for days. . . and I didn’t even stop to think that I’d need photos for my blog! I’m so sorry!)

We simply loved the entire experience. (Sterling is right here and he said to mention that he didn’t necessarily love the flight over and back!) The Managers’ Reception, which was held the night before convention started overlooking Darling Harbour, started things off perfectly. The Harbour is one of my favorite places to be in Sydney; there’s always something happening!  About 75 demonstrators attended the reception, and we had a yummy hot chocolate and pastry bar, along with great conversation. I invited them so ask questions, share comments, and talk about what they loved—and didn’t love—about Stampin’ Up!, and their compliments outnumbered their complaints by a long shot!

The two actual days of convention were full of wonderful presentations and classes, done by both staff members and demonstrators. I attended most of them, and was very impressed. The focus of convention was the workshop, and many demonstrators commented on how appropriate and helpful they thought everything was.

Our numbers are still small enough that we can do a dinner along with the awards program, which is fun. I always look forward to recognizing our demonstrators for their amazing achievements, so the Awards night is a highlight for me. And the announcement of our 2012 Australian/New Zealand incentive trip to Fiji was complete with talented Fijian dancers, who pulled demonstrators—and Sterling!—out of the audience to perform with them.

I talked to many demonstrators who had attended previous conventions, including several who had been to all four, and they all agreed that this was the best one yet! And as we left for the long flight home, both Sterling and I had to agree.