Monthly Archives

May 2018

Empowerment in the Age of AI: Event Review

By | Business

I attended the Empowerment in the Age of AI event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce on Thursday 31st of May.

The event was held at Pongo Labs on Queen Street from 12pm-2pm.

I wanted to attend this event to learn more about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how organizations around the world interact with AI. Artificial Intelligence is here, it’s now and its the future and we must accept this.

Arriving to Pongo Labs, there was a large selection of sandwiches, vegetable sliders, brownies and a coffee machine for all attendees to indulge in. The food was delicious and this served as a great way to mingle with the other guests before being seated.

We sat down to listen to the three key note speakers. The panelists included Johnathan Chang, Founder of Silverpond, Dee McGrath, the Managing Director of IBM Global and Professor Tim Miller from University of Melbourne.

Throughout the conversation, there was a live infographic artist, Luke Feldman who drew images on the backdrop screen to support the current discussions. This was a great addition to the event as the attendees loved seeing Luke’s drawings change and develop from topic to topic.

A lot of the attendees had introduced virtual personal assistants into their organisations. However I still believe that there is a huge value of having a personal assistant and face-to-face social interact in an organisation.

Overall the event was interesting however was more of a Q&A as the attendees spent most of the time asking the panelist questions. The majority of attendees already had their questions pre-prepared and knew about AI.

The event was well worth attending although I was hoping for the seminar to be an introduction to what is AI as well as time for the panelists to discuss their business and how they interact with AI. Instead of Q&A with the panelist.  I feel I did not really get to know the panelist well.

Things to Note:

Location: Pongo Labs, Level 20, 31 Queen Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000

Highlight: The food

Cost: $69.00

Hot Tip: Get in early to eat the delicious food

Ratings:

Venue: 5/5

Catering: 5/5

Speakers: 3/5

Networking Opportunity: 1/5

Total: 14/20

League of Extraordinary Women: Event Review

By | Uncategorized

On May 9th Natalia and I attended an event hosted by the League of Extraordinary Women. The event was held at the We Work co-working space in Bourke Street from 6pm-8pm.

We Work holds events after work hours throughout the year for various organisations, such as the League of Extraordinary Women.
The League of Extraordinary Women strives to bring together female business owners, entrepreneurs, and start-ups, to connect, share and inspire.
The presenter representing the League of Extraordinary Women was an inspiring business owner, who started a photography business. She directed the conversation with the female owners of two successful businesses. The guests included Alex who founded Her Wardrobe and the two founding friends of Hunting For George.

Her Wardrobe is a women’s outfit rental brand, operating out of a physical store on St Kilda road, with Alex managing the business whilst focusing on growth.
Hunting For George was represented by Jo who specialises in customer service and Lucy who works within the design and communications department. They discussed their online business which primarily offers homewares to Australian’s.

The two guest speakers were great at public speaking and didn’t need much guidance from the host. They discussed where they were when they started their businesses, both physically and mentally, the transition from working for someone to being a business owner, how important their staff are in order to run a small business successfully, and the challenges they faced when trying to grow their businesses. The event was informational, with The Hunting For George speakers discussing what it is like to operate a business through an e-commerce platform, comparing their retail experience to Her Wardrobe’s physical retail business. With e-commerce impacting the retail industry, it was interesting to hear their perspectives on successfully navigating the retail space. Aligning communication channels and content with business goals is crucial, and the speakers briefly explained their choice of channels and the type of content they share to their consumers.

Whilst the event promoted a networking component, the We Work event space is part of the reception area, so it was unclear who was there for the event. Secondly, to use the lifts required a key card, and a designated staff member buzzing attendees to We Work on Level 4 would have been beneficial, as we relied on a passer-by buzzing us up. Lastly, the event did not provide food, and there were limited drink options.

Who attended the event
The only attendees at the event were women, determined to start their own business but slightly overwhelmed by the decision. They wanted advice and a support network from other women who have been in their shoes, and successfully navigated the market.

Take outs 
Test the waters and experiment with your business idea to understand its viability.
Maximise your resources before growing.
Focus on understanding your type of customer and how to reduce their pain-points.
Whilst E-commerce is altering the retail industry, physical store presence gives the brand a stronger personality.

Cost$29.50

Location 

We Work
152 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Ratings

Venue: 4/5Catering: 2/5
Speakers: 4/5
Network Opportunity: 2/5
Total: 12/20

Networking with a Twist – Event Review

By | Business

I attended the ‘Networking with a Twist’ hosted by Your Time Matters on Tuesday 29th of May.

The event was held at the Deck in Brighton and ran from 5.30pm-8.30pm. Your Time Matters is a networking group ran by Kerryn Powell and her husband Leigh Powell for the past 8 years.

Your Time Matters hosts monthly events. They seek to build a trusted network emphasising on creating strong relationships and connections.

The guest speaker was Stephen Read, a landscape designer who spoke about the importance of collaboration and who we should seek to collaborate with. His motto is ‘Stop Collaborate and Listen’ and he had recently collaborated with a few attendees in the room designing their new gardens!

We were given a complimentary drink on arrival and there were shared cheese platters on each table. The attendees sat around on tables and answered questions given to us on our Your Time Matters ‘conversation cards’. These questions were either personal or professional related and designed to have the group talking. Through this we were able to find solutions, share knowledge and see connections.

The idea of asking questions was an interesting aspect to the night which was different to simply networking. This was a great discussion tool and you learnt more about all attendees. The event wasn’t primarily about networking, it was more focused on building relationships with all attendees.

As this is a monthly ran event, the majority of attendees knew each other quite well and had been coming for a while to Your Time Matters events!

The type of attendees were IT and web developers, inter designers and other small business owners.

I found the event worthwhile to attend it was enjoyable and I left with new ideas and connections.

Things to Note:

Location: The Deck, 212 Bay Street, Brighton

Highlight: The conversation cards

Cost: $60

Hot Tip: Come with an open mind

Ratings:

Venue: 5/5

Catering: 3/5

Speakers: 4/5

Networking Opportunity: 2/5

Total: 14/20

StartUp Grind Event: Global Female Founders Month

By | Business

On May 23rd, Natalia and I attended an event hosted by StartUp Grind. The event was held at the Zendesk venue at Queen Street in Melbourne.

StartUp Grind holds events after work hours throughout the year, to accommodate the busy working individuals that come along straight after work. The event started at 6:00 pm with networking and food, a Fireside Chat at 7:00 pm, and finished with networking at 8:00 pm.

The event was hosted by Nick Bell, one of Australia’s most prolific self-made businessmen, who started WME in his bedroom with only $400 and sold his business to Melbourne IT for $39 million. He organised three female entrepreneurs who have successfully launched their own businesses, such as Dr Kate Cornick, Shahirah, and Emily Rich.

Dr Kate Cornick is the CEO of LaunchVic, the Victorian Government’s lead start up development agency. She made sure to emphasise that being a ‘CEO’ is not as glamorous as people believe, and involves a lot of responsibility. She mentioned the stresses involved of having a high job position, by drawing on previous experiences and failures to discuss the importance of work-life balance and listening to your mind and body through stressful times, in order to make appropriate choices.

Shahriah is the co-founder of Finch, a financial app for your social life that helps you track your social spending and pay and request money instantly. She agreed with Kate, and shared that when you start a business, it is everything to you, you live and breathe it, and therefore it can take its toll on friendships and family. She brought up the commonly held belief that ‘when you start a business you have no life’, and mentioned that for people who are passionate about their business, this is a choice that they make. Shahriah relaxes and takes her mind of work by getting up early in the morning to do yoga.

Emile Rich is a young woman with a wealth of knowledge at such a young age. She is a tech entrepreneur, having sold Jemsoft to a publicly listed IoT company in 2017, she now invests in projects at their early stage. She shared that from her own personal experience with gaining venture capital, it is crucial not to take the first investor’s offer, and to choose your investors wisely by looking at what they can bring to the table. Therefore, she only invests in start-ups based on what she can bring to their team.

The guest speakers discussed the processes involved in starting a business, and the struggles faced along the way. In particular one of the struggles raised by a member of the audience was sexism and asked whether the entrepreneurs whether they have experienced and how they handled it. Shahriah answered this by saying that in a meeting she was presenting, she was ignored by her male audience and all questions asked were directed to her male colleague. She handled this situation by carrying on with the meeting politely, despite knowing immediately that she would not take any investment offers from them.

There were some attendees who were passionate about technology and others who plan to start their own business in the future and wanted to gain insights from the experiences of successful entrepreneurs.
We attended this event to organise appointments with people who want to grow their businesses and reach their goals. We met individuals who have started a business and would like to receive structured support through our Marketing Governance Framework to make more informed business decisions.

The women were well informed, and discussed their experiences starting a business and the processes involved in gaining investment. However, the discussions were constrained to starting a business and did not delve into the successful management of the business and maintaining momentum over the long-term.

Location:

Zendesk

67 Queen Street, Melbourne , VIC 3000

Cost:
$25 per person

Highlight:
The chance to meet passionate individuals

Hot Tip:
Get there as early as possible to network before the Fireside Chat starts, as people tend to leave after the speakers have finished

Take Outs:
Work-life balance is so important to run a successful business
Ignore sexist remarks
Only accept investors who can bring something to the table
The Government has a lot of work to do in assisting start-up businesses in Victoria

Overall Rating:

Network Opportunity: 3/5
Speakers: 3/5
Venue: 4/5
Food: 3/5
Total: 13/20

Grow a Sustainable and Viable Business with us

By | Business

The end of the financial year is fast approaching. Often the end of the financial year is a time for reflection and new beginnings.

We are here to help make the transition to the new financial year smoother.

We would like to offer you a complimentary business growth consultation to help you gain clarity about the future direction of your business.

Generally valued at $500, you will have the chance to sit down and have a chat about your business in the cosy confides of our boardroom. Discuss your goals and what you want to do over the next 12 months.

What are you waiting for?

Book your session before the end of May to take advantage of this complimentary consultation here to attain ongoing business growth.

Australia China Business Council: International Education Forum: Event Review

By | Business

I attended the International Education forum Delivering Value to the China Market on Wednesday 16th of May from 10.30am to 2pm.

The event was hosted by the Australian China Business Council (ACBC) and was held at the Westpac building on Collins Street.

Chinese students are the major source of income to the Victorian economy and Australia is the 3rd most popular education destination in the world.

The forum focused on the topic of International education and how we can best deliver value to the Chinese market.

The event begun with a selection of breakfast items such as fruit, pastries and chocolate cake.

The host, Ms Virginia Birrell, the CEO of the ACBC who welcomed the attendees and introduced the key speakers.

The speakers were Phil Honeywood, the CEO of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) and Rob Thomason, the Group Executive of Member Engagement and Education.

The keynote speakers discussed some interesting points about International students in Australian Universities and how the percentage is increasing each day.  This was followed by a Q&A panel discussion with the speakers Phil Honeywood, Rob Thomason as well as Judith Uren, the manager of International Education for the Victorian Government and Irene Yu, the Victorian Director of the Cultural Diversity Leadership at Westpac.

Overall, I found the event interesting and I’m glad I attended as the speakers discussions were intriguing.

The forum ended at 1pm with lunch being served and an opportunity to network with the attendees. The majority of the attendees were from leading education providers.

Things to Note:

Location: Westpac Building, Level 12, 150 Collins Street, Melbourne

Highlight: The key speakers

Cost: Member rate

Hot Tip: Arrive early so that you have time for networking

Ratings:

Venue: 4/5

Catering: 4/5

Speakers: 4/5

Networking Opportunity: 3/5

Total: 15/20

 

Australian British Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook 2018 & Beyond

By | Business

I attended the Australian British Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook 2018 & beyond event.

The event was held at Zinc in Federation Square. We are a member of the Chamber through our parent brand Syneka. The event was set out over lunch with the main meal and dessert provided.

When I got to the event it was raining heavily. The entrance to Zinc was blocked off by some construction work so I had to wade my way though mud and water to get there. Attendees at this event were mainly corporate organisations. There were many tables where people form the same organisation sat together.

I was put onto a table where the majority of attendees were from the University of Melbourne. Often with sit down events this can happen. If you are ever at an event such as this I would recommend that you contact the event organiser and arrange to be put on a table with a mix of businesses – otherwise it can be quite a lonely experience.

The speakers at the event included Richard Yetsenga from ANZ, Grant King from BCA, Louise Lovering from KPMG and Patrick Durkin from the Australian Financial Review. They spoke about the impact of the 2018 budget. There were a diverse range of opinions about the topic from the speakers and the discussion was highly intellectual. Having come from an accounting background I was able to keep up with the conversation, however, I do think that it would have been difficult for someone with another focus.

After the panel spoke there was a business card draw which I was fortunate enough to win!

Things to Note:

Location: International Chamber House, 121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Highlight: The round table discussion – very robust and intellectual

Cost: Member rate

Hot Tip: Arrive early so that you have time for networking

Ratings:

Venue: 4/5

Catering: 4/5

Speakers: 3/5

Networking Opportunity: 1/5

Total: 12/20

Victorian Chamber – After Dark at Mercedes Me

By | Business

Ruby and I attended the Victorian Chamber after dark event that was held at Mercedes Me.

In the marketing world Mercedes Benz is well known as being a pioneer in defining the customer experience across their purchase journey from pre purchase activities to purchase and post purchase.

As part of the pre purchase and post purchase phase of the customer journey the brand has created Mercedes Me cafes. These cafes provide potential and existing customers the chance to experience the brand and what it stands for.

The venue itself looks kind of like a giant tree house with wooden paneling, plenty of plants and sleek bars on both the  top and bottom levels. There was also a car situated on the bottom floor that was part of their AMG range.

The event was packed with close to 100 people in attendance. When Ruby and I got to the event the top floor looked like it was already at capacity. Catering for the event was provided by South Melbourne local St Ali- so the food and wine were a great complement to the event. St Ali has a cafe within the venue.

The CEO of Mercedes Benz Australia Horst von Sanden spoke at the event. Horst is an unusual CEO as he rose up the ranks by holding marketing roles. Often we find from our experience CEO of organisations of the breadth and depth of Mercedes Benz usually have CEOs with and Accounting or legal background so Horst was a refreshing change. He spoke about the fact that he came from marketing being something that really helps him to get ahead in his role.

 

Attendees at the event were a diverse mix. As with many other Victorian Chamber events, there were plenty of Business Development Managers. I have to admit that the presence of so many business development managers in some way as a business owner is a bit off putting as everyone is very “salesy”. There are the usual screening questions of name, position, organisation size and clients that we work with and when they don’t see the opportunity, they move on. If I was a business development manager, I would find this event a waste of time as it would not have been of value for me to network with other business development managers.

The event also attracted business coaches, lawyers and bank managers. I found that they seemed rather out of place within the glitz and show that the business development managers were putting on. It was quite awkward going to this event as a business owner – and I am not sure if I would go to this type of event again. We have in the past spoken to the Chamber about this however they continue to run their events this way which would most likely lead them to have a high turn around in membership numbers. It is like hitting brick wall sometimes speaking with the Victorian Chamber when making suggestions on how to improve – perhaps looking at their marketing governance/ marketing strategy may assist them? Eventually things will need to change.

The speaker at the event had a fascinating story, and so does Mercedes in terms of its customer experience and brand promise. It would have been great if they could have spoken about this more, and perhaps provided a tour of the venue and why it has been designed they way it is set out. I think this may have also led to a different crowd attending the event and also enabled Mercedes to really shine.

Things to Note:

Location: Mercedes Me Store 525 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Highlight: The amazing Mercedes car in the cafe!

Cost: Member rate

Hot Tip: This is an event more for a networking pro as many of the attendees were business development managers

Ratings:

Venue: 4/5

Catering: 5/5

Speakers: 3/5 – Liked the Mercedes speaker

Networking Opportunity: 2/5

Total: 14/20

 

Event Review: ACBC Medicinal Cannibis Opportunities for Australia and China

By | Business

I attended the Australia China Business Council Medicinal Cannabis Opportunities for Australia and China event.

The event was held at the home of the ACBC located at International Chamber House. Business Growth Partners is a member of the ACBC through Syneka – our parent brand.

This event was one where I did not know what to expect as it is a very new industry in Australia. The speaker at the event was Charles Koves from the Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance. Charles spoke about the various uses of the plant and its versatility including the uses of hemp.

There are 650 Australians who take medical cannabis. It is a very small market, however the products from the plant have greater uses. For Australians it appeared that there were opportunities to sell medicinal cannabis raw materials to pharmaceutic suppliers. However, this opportunity came with a large amount of regulations. The China connection was not particularly clear at this event.

In the room, there were a mix of lawyers, investment organisations and business development managers. The session was highly interactive and intellectual, with most attendees staying after the event. We sat around a table and the conversation was more of a round table discussion rather than a seminar. Some attendees had a significant amount of experience and expertise with the topic and there was a large amount of collegiality.

I would attend events similar to this one again but more from an interest perspective as it was not necessarily geared around networking.

Things to Note:

Location: International Chamber House, 121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Highlight: The round table discussion – very robust and intellectual

Cost: Member rate

Hot Tip: Arrive early so that you have time for networking

Ratings:

Venue: 4/5

Catering: 4/5

Speakers: 3/5

Networking Opportunity: 2/5

Total: 13/20

 

Rankin & Co: Women in Fashion and Design: Event Review

By | Business

Megan and I attended the Rankin & Co ‘Women in Fashion and Design’ drinks and networking event on Thursday 3rd of May. The event was held at Misuzu’s, an authentic and delicious Japanese restaurant in the heart of Albert Park.

We were invited by Rob Roy Rankin, the Director of Rankin & Co, a law firm. At the event,  Megan and I met a range of his work colleagues. We were also introduced to Rob’s contacts and clients who had known Rob for years.

Rob often hosts these evening event throughout each year as it’s an opportunity for Rob to introduce some of his fashion and design clients to all the attendees as well as networking with like minded individuals.

The venue was a suitable choice as the event was quite intimate and relaxing. All attendees sat around a curved table sharing stories and enjoying delicious food and wine that Rob had organised for the night.

Megan and myself were fortunate enough to receive an attendance gift, a stila matte lipstick from MECCA which we were extremely grateful for.

Things to Note:

Location: Misuzu’s, 3/7 Victoria Ave, Albert Park, 3206

Highlight: The food and the MECCA gift

Cost: Free

Hot Tip: Be quick when circulating the tables to network

Ratings:

Venue: 4/5

Catering: 3/5

Speakers: N/A

Networking Opportunity: 1/5

Total: 8/15