As Lynda has mentioned in previous posts, I was honored to be invited to participate in the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network conference, held in Shanghai, China, in connection with the World’s Fair. I have been to China once, but that was many years ago, so it was great to return.
I started the trip out on a high note. Had a terrific flight over with China Eastern Airlines and landed safely and well rested. The Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai was the venue selected for both accommodations and the program. The hotel is fantastic, and as a guest the services were flawless.
We were absolutely floored to be greeted at registration with an unexpected (and completely amazing) attendee gift kit featuring a Dell Vostro 3300 laptop fully loaded with Windows 10. I am personally putting it to use already!
Started the program out with an evening cocktail party at the M Bar on the Bund. It was a lovely evening where we spent several hours meeting and greeting and getting to know each other. The group (75ish) was small enough to be able to get around and really dedicate some time to learning what everyone is doing. I was fascinated to learn of the stories – so many of them with similar threads and certainly similar challenges. There was a lot of commonality. Really interesting. I believe that there were 10 countries represented at the conference.
One goal that I had in attending was to meet inspirational CEO’s and learn their stories and discover their challenges. No problem meeting this goal – I felt very humbled by meeting these women. There was a tremendous amount of authenticity amongst the group.
The programs were excellent. The live link to the Bloomberg DWEN Group on LinkedIn was a great idea. I have not seen this type of tool used live in a presentation program before – and I am completely sold on it now. It really benefits the attendee. Having the attendee comments posted live throughout the sessions allowed the speakers to keep the content relevant and also made it possible to generate some great break conversations.
There was a focus on innovation and technology. The theme was definitely “mission first”. Passion and commitment to innovation and business development was very strong amongst the group.
The session with Frog Design was fascinating. We participated in a hands on activity in smaller groups that challenged us to really push typical business concepts to the limit and develop our own innovative business plans. Despite having had a business for 14 years and also having a 2 year old startup company I found myself really scratching my head – collaborating with my team was great.
This was an incredibly inspirational group – in particular I was very inspired by Ingrid Venderveldt (CEO Clean Air Conversions).
After the conference ended, I was luckily enough to have a free day in Shanghai to explore. I loved visiting the garment district and seeing bolt upon bolt of lovely fabric. I also visited several textile mills – fascinating!
I arrived home last Thursday, exhausted by jet lag but energized by this incredible experience. What an great opportunity, one I won’t soon forget.