Wednesday morning at Forward Together began with an inspiring and thoughtful keynote from Cookie Ruiz, Executive Director of Ballet Austin. Not only an Austin-based fundraiser, Cookie has traveled extensively and yesterday brought some of those experiences alive for us too. For example, she told us how she had unexpectedly found the common bonds with people from different countries, cultures, professions through looking for the similarities and shared interests – or, as Cookie described it “the intersection between two circles waiting to be found”. She urged the audience to look for the leadership that “exists inside you and around you”.
She concluded her inspirational message by telling us to “believe in the Power of One” and to “be aware of your potential to inspire possibility”. Throughout the day I heard attendees and Abila staff sharing their favorite moments and quotes from Cookie’s presentation. It seems her optimistic message resonated with just about everyone. She mentioned during her keynote that she loved the Abila “Inspire Possibility” message and she certainly succeeded in inspiring others in that direction.
We received some great feedback on our Ignite Sessions where customers got to present on seven topics for ten minutes each. Participants got really involved in these (as I heard one person describe them) “improv-like sessions”. Don’t worry if you missed them. I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of these at our future events.
I think it would be a huge understatement to say our Texas Barbeque was a success. And if the great food and amazing live music were not enough, add on bull riding (or at least bull sitting) and group photos in the “corral”. I know that many of y’all made new friends at the conference and sharing a great time at the barbeque was the perfect opportunity to hang out, have fun and cement those newfound friends.
The morning sessions today offered great food for thought to attendees who stayed with us until the conference wrap-up. I hope you agree that our session presenters this week did an amazing job of sharing ideas and knowledge and that the session attendees jumped in, asked questions, shared ideas and made them truly interactive and extra valuable.
Here at Abila, we could not be more thrilled and excited by the energy, optimism and genuine warmth that we felt throughout the conference this week. It reminds us that what we do is incredibly important and that we must continue to do it to our absolute best ability so that you can do what you do to your best ability.
To all our conference attendees, or may we now call you our friends, Thank You and Safe travels!