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Monday 15 November - Tuesday16 November 2010
- Headed out to Paris via Melbourne, Doha and Milan
- It’s been 4 months since my last oversees trip which in the meantime, I’ve spent finalising my new book and launching it back in September, I’ve enjoyed the break but really looking forward to arriving back in Europe, will be interesting to how people feel about the state of the economy, there’s been alot in the media recently that Ireland may also need a EU bailout. We’ve been fortunate back in the Asia-Pacific region to escape the worst of the GFC and recessions which have affect many European countries, the world is so connected these days and with the US economy also stagnant and unemployment 9%+ the next 1-2 years will be interesting to see how the world’s government’s and business sector responds next.
- I think I’ve just flown the world’s best airline (right next to Singapore Airlines) Qatar Airways, a very pleasant journey, great service, great staff and first class food. Plane seemed brand new.
- Stopover in Doha was nice, looks a little like Bahrain, alot of development and if they are successful with their world cup bid it will take the city to the next level. Another example of why the Middle East looks likely to become a key global hub in the future. A big issue will be their access to expat talent.
- Arrived in Paris feeling well around 7pm, felt like I’d been travelling for 2 hrs, not 26! Must be those new Qatar Airway planes. Taxi to hotel took forever in peak hour!
- Took a quick visit to the Eiffel Tower to get my bearings and then crashed for a decent night’s sleep!
Wednesday 17 November 2010
- Up early, went for a walk down to L’Opera (one of my favorite places in the world!) and had my first expresso and croissant for the day.
- Did some final preparations for tomorrow’s 2010 Employer Branding & Reputation Summit by some further research on the companies attending. Really highlighted how much work companies have to do to build their digital assets and engagement scale in their online communities.
- I’m excited by the companies who will be in attendance, a number of global brands so will be interesting to see how employer branding is evolving in the region. We also have delegates flying in from Netherlands, Ukraine, UK, Sweden, Belgium and Switzerland along with speakers from Denmark, USA, Australia, Netherlands and France so it will have a really good international flavour which should create some valuable knowledge sharing discussions.
- Met up with Veronique Froge, Head of the Employer Branding practice at i&e management, our French partners. Great to see Veronique and the team again, it is our second event in Paris with i&e and we’re very honoured to be collaborating with one of the leading agencies in Europe.
- I connected with my kids on Facebook and got an update on what they’ve been up to! I look forward to the day when they are old enough to travel with me. We introduced them to overseas travel earlier this year when we went to Hong Kong. I believe travel is life’s best teacher!
- Met up with some of the speakers and we had a great discussion on employer branding over a meal. With people from 4 different countries it was a really interesting discussion. Great to see everyone again!
Thursday 18 November 2010
- I always look forward to waking up on the day of our International events; the adrenalin is pumping from the start of the day and continues right through until the end.
- I always spend time in the morning visualising how the day is going to play out; it helps me to get into the zone. I’ve met most of the speakers previously and our Paris partners, i&e management are a world-class organisation, super efficient, super friendly and just a real pleasure to work with so I’m sure it’s going to be a great day. i&e’s headquarters is the most stunning event venue I have ever presented in, very Parisian!
- The Summit was a fantastic day, The wealth of experience in the room was inspiring and made for some great discussions and sharing amongst the group. Some really useful take-always from the day with the diverse experiences presented and perspectives on employer branding.
- We had a world class line up of speakers including:
- Yves Grandmontagne, HR Director, France Microsoft
- Michael Holm Employer Brand Manager IBM
- Job Mensink, Founder brandgiving & former Global Head of Employer Branding, Philips
- William Lebedel, Partner, i&e
- Matthew Jeffrey, Global Director Employer Brand, Electronic Arts
- David Kippen, CEO & Chief Strategist, Evviva Brands
- Valérie Perruchot-Garcia, Internal Communications Director, AXA
- Job Mensink was running around getting people to pose with a blue cow! I think there’s more to come on this one!
- Following the Summit we had drinks with some of the speakers and delegates which is always a nice way to wind down after what in essence involves 6 months planning. We went to the same bar as in 2009 and even had the same area – nothing like consistency!
- Finally got to share a beer with Richard Mosely from People in Business who attended the Summit, a real nice guy!
Friday 19 November 2010
- Up early again! Heading to Milan this morning so took the chance to have one last look around Paris, will be sad to leave but I will be back very soon!
- Cut my time short in getting to the airport and started to panic that I would miss my flight. I thought being stranded in Paris for one more day wouldn’t be all that bad but was lucky to make my plane just in time.
- Great flight with Air France and the snow-capped mountain views as we came into Milan were breathtaking!
- Seems the culture of staff on Air France has turned full circle since my last visit in late 2009, staff on both flights were exceptional!
- Arrived in Milan and checked into the Crowne Plaza, very nice hotel with some interesting nuances! My guardian angel!
- Took the subway into the centre of Milan and my life changed! As you come up for the subway, the energy as you walk into the Piazza and see the Duomo in its full glory just envelopes you!
- Did a little shopping (or maybe alot!) and finally discovered an answer to a question I’d been seeking for years, ‘Why do women buy so many shoes?’ I’ve discovered that the trend! must have started here in Milan, every second shop is a shoe shop!
- Many of the retailers we don’t have in Australia are here, though they are on their way – e.g. Zara, H&M, etc Just reinforcers there is so much opportunity for retailers to enter the Australian market, consumers are demanding more choice, better prices and it should make our local retailers more innovative and customer focused.
- Had first plate of authentic Italian pasta but I’m sure it won’t be the last as I am here for next 4 days!
- My next stop is the Eugenio Amendola Hotel in Bologna tomorrow!
Saturday 20 November 2010
- Woke up early, 6am after sleeping like a baby, some party animals woke me at 5am and I let them know nicely! to STFU!
- Walked to the station and had a croissant and my first double expresso for the day, the coffee here is silky smooth, if only it could be exported, no other country in the world comes close to the Italian coffee culture!
- One day I will come back to Italy for 3 months and write a book whilst immersing myself in the culture, the place is so inspiring. I really do feel at home in Italy, I’ve been here 5 times now, it’s like my second home!
Saturday 20 November – Wednesday 24 November 2010
- Spent a wonderful few days with Eugenio Amendola who heads up the Employer Brand International office in Italy.
- Spend two days on our strategy for Italy for 2011 and filmed a couple of videos as well.
- Went for a big walk around Bologna and had some great dinners in some of the many alleys that run off the main piazza
- Will miss the great company, food and places that make Italy one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
- We return back to Milan for the 2011 International Employer Branding & Engagement Summit on 26 May 2011, can’t wait to return!