Saturday, March 07, 2009

Marcus Evans Executive PA Conference: THE REPORT

Warning: This is a very long post. Brace yourself...

Before I carry on about the conference, I was thinking whether to split the story into two: Day 1 and Day 2. Then I decided to give you a FULL report. The conference was from March 2 to 3. My speaker slot was on the second day covering the topic Realising your own potential by removing the barriers to progress your career to the next stage. I hope you'll enjoy reading this report as must as I had enjoyed attending it.



DAY 1: Here's my speaker badge. I had loads of fun meeting people and making new friends. PAs are amazing people, really.I was early but there were some who were even earlier. PAs are great with time management (ahem!). Haha!
Kerry from Marcus Evans kickstarted the conference and welcomed all the delegates. She also showed us a short video presentation about her company.
Melissa Ong, President of the Malaysian Association of Professional Secretaries & Administrators (MAPSA) was the conference chairperson. She also presented on the topic Redefining Executive PA in 21st Century -- 2008 and moving forward. MAPSA gave all the delegates a free one-year membership worth MYR220 (~US$60). Thank you, MAPSA!It's coffee break!
We were treated to a variety of yummy food!Helping ourselves to the goodies...
The participants mingling and getting to know each other while I busied myself taking some quick shots. Some of them were holding green bags and I found out that they were given by BLACKMORES. It was announced during the start of the conference that BLACKMORES opened a booth and goody bags were distributed. I decided to check it out.
I was at the BLACKMORES booth and got myself a goody bag!
The stuff in my green goody bag (left to right): A bottle of Bio Calcium, health booklet, info cards on various ailments, "Let's save the environment" fridge magnet, and a useful "Sorry Driver Not On Board. Please Call . . .". That's good for anybody who happens to park at a crowded place because he or she has no choice, and the 'victim' of the blocked car could contact the 'culprit'. This happens a lot at clubbing areas (not that I'm a clubber...).
Juleen Shaw came from Australia and gave us two interesting sessions on Understanding what a CEO needs from his PA (Day 1) and Smart PA Networking: Becoming that positive vibe in the office (Day 2). Juleen is an executive assistant at QML Pathology. She's very friendly and approachable, so she's perfect for the topics she spoke on.
Just before we break for lunch, Alecia Heng (Principal Consultant , JC Creative Maximus and President, Gorgeous Geeks) presented on the topic Taking Control of the latest technologies before it takes control of you. Who says ladies can't be tech geeks and gorgeous ones at that too? *GRIN*It's time for lunch! We headed down to the lobby area and enjoyed our buffet lunch at Eccucino.
Some of the stuff I piled onto my lunch plate on Day 1 and Day 2 before tackling the desserts. . . Here comes the delicious desserts! Desserts are always the highlight of my buffet meals... Aren't these goodies mouth watering?

OK... let's get back to the conference now that we've got our tummies filled and satisfied. Melissa had these envelopes put up so that participants could write the good things they discovered about each other. But, to do so, all of us (with the exception of the speakers) had to do some 'homework' and that's to get to know as many people as possible. By the end of Day 2, the participants collected their envelopes. What a great way!


Here are some notes about the other speakers for DAY 1 whose photos I did not post here:

  • Lim Jen Nee is a PA to the Managing Director at Mobile Money International. She spoke about Striving for excellence by fostering effective working partnerships with your boss and team.
  • MooiFah is a PRINCE2 Practitioner and Senior Consultant at Info Spec. She spoke about Structuring your individual project management strategies to manage workload and simultaneous multitasking.
  • Carmen Tham is a consultant and trainer at Oriental Skills Consultant. She delivered a presentation on Achieving the best use of your time and resources effectively.
I had particularly enjoyed the wellbeing session by one of the corporate sponsors, The Body Shop. The speaker gave an informative talk on how to start our day full of energy, stay calm with tight deadlines, doze off to sleep with a stress-free mind, and detox the natural way. She also showed us how to perform simple massages to release tensions on the shoulder and neck areas.

Here're the freebies we received from The Body Shop and Biotherm. On that same evening, I went shopping and bought the Total Energy Exhilarating Body Wash using the 20% discount voucher given out during the session, and Spa Wisdom Africa Spa Salt Scrub (at the store's reduced price). I am enjoying both products! I haven't tried the Biotherm ones.

***

And now for DAY 2! (Told you it's a long report...) Before we continue with a fun-filled day of learning and networking, I took a group shot with these beautiful ladies. Thanks, Prema from Marcus Evans, for helping to take this lovely photos!
I'm not sure when we did this but it was fun!Valerie Jaques, Consultant Psychologist at Integrated Psychology Network, spoke about Managing your work-life balance and stress. It's soothing listening to her. I would not hesitate to go to her should I need counseling. She's a wonderful person.
Remember I mentioned about the mysterious pink rubber duckie? Nellie was the one responsible for putting that cutie on our desks. We had a great time squeezing our duckies and filling the room with squeaks! The rubber duckie aims to remind us to stay calm in the midst of chaos and hardwork. Have your ever seen a duck swim in the pond? It looks graceful on the surface but beneath, the duck is paddling very, very hard. Another interesting session was Presenting a professional upfront to fortify your career by Wendy Lee. Wendy is a professional image consultant at Chapter One Asia. We had plenty of laughs at the expense of two gentlemen in our midst. The two men from Brunei Darussalam are special assistants and PAs to a minister.Chew Hoong Ling is an executive assistant at Xeersoft. She presented on Building the dynamics of confidence within your work and yourself and we were all touched when Melissa told us Chew's story where she donated part of her liver to a child.

The other speaker for DAY 2 whose photo I did not post here is Sulynn Choong. Sulynn is a positive change consultant/coach at Human Capital Perspectives. She spoke about Thriving in the face of 'difficult' people and unwieldy situations. Her passion about people and lifelong learning is evident as she gave her presentation.

As the chairman, Melissa wrapped up the conference by summarizing the key points for each session. There was a makeover session at the end but I did not stay back to participate because I needed to leave for an alumni gathering that same evening.

Here're more freebies that came in the goodie bag handed out by Marcus Evans: March 2009 issues of Malaysian Women's Weekly and Cosmopolitan Malaysia

Now I can't wait for the Singapore conference in May! It's really wonderful to get yet another invitation to speak. Better still, I look forward to catching up with all my Singaporean friends and former colleagues!

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