The Conference Team began meeting during 2008.
At that stage the Emerald Hotel was identified as the conference venue and discussions began taking place.
Quotes were sought for sound, printing, lighting, photographer, etc so that applications for funding assistance could be sought.
We applied to a whole range of Trusts for assistance for various aspects of the conference. We were successful in obtaining $5,000 from Lotteries and $1000 from Pub Charity.
Early in 2009 the Planning team of four began meeting on a monthly basis.
Areas of responsibility were established.
- Treasurer/Registration, Funding applications.
- Venue, meals, raffles and sales tables, gifts.
- Gifts, conference bags, name tags, spreadsheets, delegates list, mail outs.
- Liaising with Executive, funding applications, speakers, panelists, gifts.
As conference got closer the team met fortnightly, weekly and then almost daily.
CONFERENCE A to Z
Registration papers contained information and booking details for the hotel and three motels close by. Registrants were responsible for making their own bookings.
BDO made contact with us to see how they might become involved with our conference.
This developed into a very fruitful relationship.
We agreed that Steve Nayda would present at conference, they could have speaking time at the Awards dinner and a display at conference, giving BDO the exposure that they wanted and in return they took on a large amount of printing for us.
Menus, programs and place names for the Awards Dinner
Swing tags and programs for all conference attendees.
Provided the BDO conference bags, biro’s and stress balls.
They also loaned us a lap top for use during conference.
When we asked two of their team as our guests at the dinner they preferred to pay for their meals
We had already arranged satchels for the conference papers before BDO came up with the offer of their bags.
With the amount of extra gifts and material gathered the outer BDO bags were very useful.
In October 2009 the team advised Anne Tolley, Minister of Education’s Office and Gisborne District Councils Mayor’s office of the Conference so it would be in their diaries. Official Invitations would follow nearer the time.
Guest speaker for the Awards Dinner Winemaker, Jane Hunter confirmed in September.
Keynote speaker, Lyn Provost, Auditor General confirmed early February.
Keynote speaker, Steve Nayda, from BDO confirmed as part of the sponsorship offered by BDO.
Panelists, Ingrid Collins, Bronwen Holdsworth, Kath Kitchen confirmed in February. National President invited Mavis Mullen’s to join the Panel in March.
We were not responsible for inviting any other guests to conference.
The local floral art ladies were paid to decorate the venue.
Given the wine theme running through conference there was grape vine added to the dinner tables on Friday evening.
Saturdays International meal tables had flags of the country draped in front of them.
Presentation bouquets and shoulder sprays were made by a former club member who is a Florist. She made them as her donation to conference.
We had a completely separate computer and operator for all the conference material to be displayed on the screen.
This meant that the Minute Secretary could concentrate on her role.
It also made for ease of word changes during plenary sessions.
Registration, Transport, Timekeepers, Scrutineers, Floor manager and Raffles and Sales Table were all identified at an early stage and were responsible for establishing their own working teams.
Gisborne Club Members were very supportive and all roles were very well covered.
Initial registration was in the conference foyer where there was plenty of space. There was some feedback on the tight area at the entrance to the conference room at check in time before sessions, but having everything in close proximity made for ease of giving information and providing the vote count. It also allowed everyone who was helping to be closely involved.
Generally this seemed to work well. It was noted in the evaluation that someone wasn’t met but on checking up we found that there was no indication of arrival on the registration form.
There were some frustrations at the end of conference when some people leaving on slightly later flights went away from the hotel without letting anyone know. It did sort itself.
There didn’t seem to be any issues here with speakers generally keeping within time limits any way.
The teams worked smartly and accurately presenting the vote count to the top table without any delay.
A close eye was kept on the top table and messages were efficiently handled. With a good number of microphones on the floor and a team kept on its toes there was little delay in speakers having a microphone to use. This definitely helped with smooth running and keeping to time.
Sales Tables and Raffles:
A separate person from Conference Planning team was responsible for this area with oversight from the Venue coordinator.
Comment was made about not enough room around the raffle tables but the result of sales indicates that people were certainly buying the tickets anyway.
Early discussions around menus… Buffet for Friday Awards Dinner
… International flavour and wine matches for Saturday night.
National President and Executive preferred a sit down plated meal for Friday.
We sourced all wine from local wineries but there was a $10 corkage.
Guests gathered first for a pre dinner drink and guests and Executive were presented with shoulder spray.
The tables were labeled with a wine name and individual places were named, care was taken to mix people up.
134 sat down for dinner. With time delays the cost of a sit down meal became prohibitive and so a buffet meal was confirmed.
The format for the evening was formal and had been planned with the Presidents input.
The Gisborne BPW President welcomed visitors to the conference. National President also extended a welcome and introduced the Mayor who welcomed visitors to the district both in English and Te Reo.
Jane Hunter, CNZM OBE spoke after the main course. She very kindly donated her speaking fee to Gisborne SPCA. This was presented to them at a separate opportunity.
Following desert BPW Awards were presented.
Saturday International Dinner:
122 in attendance. Local KEW Winemaker, presented a wine match prior to the meal, which was of Italian, Thai, Indian and Kiwi origin.
Following the meal attendees, partners and guests entertained in a “Debatable” manner.
Two teams, The Lads… John Clarke, Irvine Savage and Francis Yates took on The Lasses, Angela McLeod, Pene Walsh and Anne Todd-Lambie, debating the moot “That BPW Is Too Esoteric For Men To Understand”.
Their antics were very ably chaired by Bronwen Holdsworth.
A small auction followed with an amazing basket of Gisborne goodies, a Gisborne Home stay and a signed copy of Jane Hunters Biography complete with a bottle of Hunter wine all on offer.
Lunches and Morning and Afternoon teas:
These were all served at the back of the venue with access to outside during the breaks.
National Executive requested that we find someone local to act as the Minute Secretary. Adrienne McDonald agreed to take on this role.
We were mindful that Adrienne has no previous involvement with BPW so will need assistance. The templates were sent to her. IPP Faye Gardiner sat beside Adrienne to assist as well.
With 34 pages of conference notes, this is a comprehensive review.
A large amount of the printing of all the smaller requirements was donated by BDO.
The biggest job of printing was the Conference Papers. We had obtained various quotes and finally chose local firm, Te Rau Press. The email with all the print was received by them on April 7th. They said they needed 10 days turn around and in fact returned them to us in 9 days.
The Gisborne Herald agreed to produce a supplement to go in the local paper a week out from conference.
An 8 pager profiled some of the key organizers and speakers for conference and then expanded further by profiling local women who are successful in their work lives.
They also took the opportunity to interview Jane Hunter and Lyn Provost and these stories went in the paper at other times.
Copies of the supplement were able to be included in the conference bags.
There has been one request for a refund for a member unable to attend conference due to work commitments. She was unable to find a replacement. The registration form clearly stated that “No refunds of fees for conference, early or full registration will be made unless notice of inability to attend is given to the Treasurer not less than two weeks before conference. All refunds will be considered individually and at the discretion of the conference committee in consultation with the Executive”. Notice was only received on Monday April 12th which was less than two weeks out from conference.
The Call to conference and registration papers went out in the October BPW Circular and were placed on the website.
A bank account was opened with online facility.
Early registration was tried for the first time, giving a $20 incentive, closing on December 15th 2009. There was a good response to this and it did give the team an early indication of interest. Also delegates got onto booking their accommodation at a much earlier date. Definitely helpful to the Emerald Hotel.
If having Early Registration in the future, meals also need to be paid for at this time because having to invoice for meals at a later date made for a lot of double handling.
We have established a very useful spread sheet that holds all the Delegates details from meal details to airport pickups, which will be included in the conference booklet for future planning.
The Registration form needs to contain an area for people to indicate their willingness for their name on the data base to be used following conference.
Form also needs to contain an indication if delegates are going to be staying away from conference venue because as they handled their own accommodation we didn’t actually have a record of where they were staying.
There were frustrations with members not completing registration forms properly and having to go back to them for confirmation.
Key note speaker: Auditor General, Lyn Provost.
‘My Journey- From Lister to Watchdog. Lyn presented her journey in an interesting and thought provoking manner, offering her own thoughts and experiences where women are concerned. She also provided attendees with an insight into the ‘Watchdogs role”.
Spotlight speaker: Steve Nayda…BDO.
“Authentic Leadership”. Steve talked about getting the best performance from people, which he believes is the key to business success and growth. His presentation focused on Leadership and particularly in the role women do and can play.
Lyn Provost, Ingrid Collins, Bronwen Holdsworth, Kath Kitchen and Mavis Mullens. With the exception of Mavis these were all Gisborne Women. All panelists had the opportunity to outline their experiences in Leadership/Governance/Management…The Good The Bad and The Ugly.
Questions came from the floor and allowed for a really stimulating change of information and ideas.
Financial sponsorship was very difficult to obtain despite many letters being written.
We wrote to Westpac, given that the majority of BPW clubs bank with them seeking support for the Friday night Awards dinner.
We also wrote to Rabobank but in both cases we were unsuccessful.
The early positive response of $5000 from Lotteries was a great help and in the later stages $1000 for Pub Charity made another huge difference.
Sponsorship takes many forms and locally we received great support in kind, with things for the conference bags, donations for raffles, wonderful wine prices and donations of money.
We received great assistance from the Gisborne Herald, which is covered in publicity.
The assistance received from BDO was invaluable and is covered separately.
The Emerald Hotel was identified as suitable because it could accommodate all attendees if they chose to stay there and all conference activities could be held on site.
All requirements for AV were available but we had to hire appropriate sound system with sufficient microphones.
It is important to have one person in regular contact with Event Manager.
Table and seating plans need to be worked out and handed to Event Manager. All of the activities were in the one room and so careful attention needed to paid to the different configurations we required.
The President had input into the seating of the top table and the front rows for the business sessions.
Rooms: Small bags of baking were placed in each hotel room. The baking was donated by local club members.
COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
- The conference timeline was not followed by Executive and so we could not follow it at a local level.
- Papers for printing were very late and we had to make the decision that they not be posted out prior to conference.
- We did not receive conference property eg:- timekeeping devices, voting cards and had to start from scratch.
- We are updating the conference manual and will include in it the spreadsheets that we have developed.
- We will include copies of the registration form, information booklet, evaluation sheet, programs etc as guidelines for the next planning team.
This needs to be kept up to date. Things from 2002 that are currently in there are outdated.
- Additions to registration form:
Request for permission for use of data base.
Payment of meals at time of early registration.
- Ask that Executive discuss the refund requested. We are not of a mind to make it because the registration form was quite clear.
Barbara Clarke, Kath Kitchen, Alison Crosswell, Cara Haines.