I nominated Mark Roden of Ding! for Entrepreneur Of The Year as I thought he had a really exciting, innovative business which will hopefully continue to grow and develop. I was delighted when he was selected as one of the finalists, never thinking for one minute that I would be joining him and the other finalists on the EOY Retreat in Vancouver and Seattle!
When Frank rang me one Friday evening to tell me that I was the lucky one in the draw I was so surprised I don’t think I said very much at all! We were leaving less than two weeks later! Everything is planned and thought out to the nth degree and as a result all ran without a hitch in spite of ferrying almost 100 people around three different venues in 7 days.
However it is not just the managing the logistics of ensuring that everyone is in the right place at the right time; Frank, Sarah and the team put a huge amount of preparation into ensuring that the entrepreneurs and their businesses get great benefit from the week. Amongst other things, there were seminars on branding, big data, security, as well as some EY workshops on succession planning and exit strategy. The itinerary was packed and exhausting but also exhilarating. If you want to find out more about what we got up to, you can read more on Tanya Fitzgerald’s blog on the EOY website.
There was such a huge diversity of people, all ages, levels of experience and obviously all different types of businesses. I loved hearing the different stories of how they decided to do what they do, how and where they started. It was also interesting to hear them networking and helping each other out. One of the EOY alumni, Colette Twomey of Clonakilty Blackpudding, spoke about the strength of being a member of the community; if you have a problem with your business you can be guaranteed that someone else in the network has had it too and knows what to do.
I would highly recommend getting involved in EOY nominations next year – think about your personal and professional networks and whether there’s a potential finalist among them. The EOY team can help you with the information you need to approach someone, and the potential reward of getting to join the 2015 CEO Retreat is massively worthwhile! Thanks for giving me the experience and for giving me the opportunity to do some things I never would have had the chance to do. I had a fantastic week!
EY Operations Department
Loads of CEO Retreat photos here!
Each year the EOY Team holds a competition for our EY Staff to attend the annual CEO Retreat. All you have to do is get an entrepreneur to enter the EOY Programme. If they become one of the 24 finalists your name goes in that hat and you could be going on the CEO Retreat like Susan this year.