I attended the Women in Business Network, or #WIBN Conference in Toronto on May 31 and June 1. I’ve been asked many times since then “how was it?” and “what was that conference about?” and “I was thinking about going – what do you think?”. Hence, time to share my WIBN Conference experience in a blog post.
The event was held in the lovely Radisson Hotel Admiral Harbourfront. As a conference sponsor, Chevrolet Canada provided shuttle service from Union Station for all the GO and TTC users. I flew in from Ottawa on Porter Airlines, and they were kind enough to arrange for my pick up. My Chevy guy was polite, on time, and it made my trip in so easy.
On the morning of June 1, when the rains had caused Union Station to flood, Chevy provided service further up the TTC line. Flexible and responsive. I love that!
The facility was perfect. Lots of space to network with all the amazing women who were there from all over Southern Ontario. No trouble hearing the dynamic speakers. No problems using WiFi (that I experienced). Not too hot. Not too cold. Washrooms were close. No lineups for the toilets (that I experienced).
The speakers were excellent. The topics were business-focused and informative. As is often the case in such situations, I spark with ideas while listening to the speakers, and go off on brainstorming tangents. This conference was the first time I did this live on Twitter. Most people had a screen of some size in front of them. It was interesting to follow the #WIBN stream and read the conversations happening on Twitter between the women in the room. Though the audience was mostly silent, there was a definite buzz in the air as everyone shared thoughts, comments, and made new connections.
I wish now I had taken photos of my room. I could have stayed a week. Cosy bed, lush bathroom, and trendy work space. My room was shaped like a slice of pie. The curved wall was floor to ceiling windows looking east down Queens Quay. A telescope was set up so I could…I’m not sure…spy on the people in the condos across the street?
The Best Parts
The recharge centre to boost battery power in laptop/iPhone/etc was a grand idea. It also became a great place to hang out and chat with people.
I met Erica Ehm! Watching Erica was a big part of my growing up in Toronto during the 80s. I’ve enjoyed her Yummy Mummy Club for years, but I’d never met her in person. Chatting with her about motherhood and business was a thrill.
The Worst Parts
By worst I don’t mean really, really, bad. The event was extremely well organized, well staged, and worthwhile. There is always room for a smidge of improvement, non? My only suggestion is about the food. Which seems to be a theme for me at conferences, because I’ve written about this before. Each day of the conference ended with a networking cocktail reception. This started about 5:30pm after a very long day – everyone was ready for some food. And wine – we were all ready for some wine. At both receptions, by the time I had talked my way through the room, squeezing myself between cracks in the crowd, the food table was empty. Literally. Ok, I exaggerate. On Friday night there was hummus, but nothing to dip into it. I was hungry enough to scoop some up with my fingers, but I resisted for the sake of manners.
Overall, my WIBN Conference experience was wonderful and I made great connections with other women in business. I’ll attend again next year, and will talk less on my way to the food table at the after party!