Off to a flying start
After what seemed like weeks of anticipation, planning, behind-the-scenes work, inviting and confirming speakers, finding a venue etc, on Thursday evening, April 26th the moment was finally here – our first Business Diaries event in Tunbridge Wells. We’d worked out our timings in advance with near-military precision and had spent what seemed like hours (but, in reality, was probably only minutes) deliberating on how much food and wine to order. We’d agonised over the baffling slow ticket sales despite so much enthusiasm for the project whenever we had talked about it at various local networking events. Then, the weekend before, ticket sales picked up. One here, three there, another two, then a group of four and with a couple of days to go, after all our fears, we could see that we were going to fill the room. And what a room! The beautiful Havana room at the Hotel Du Vin in Tunbridge Wells, which couldn’t have been a better setting if it had been specifically designed for us.
After a welcome drink, we introduced Lisa Settle to open the event. Lisa is the founder of Business Diaries and has been running it successfully in Rochester for just over a year, and we were determined that our launch in Tunbridge Wells would be a success too. But by now, the room was full and our speakers had all arrived, so we knew it was shaping up to be a great evening.
Our first storyteller was Ian Andrew, who founded Hug-Many, the New Year’s Eve event which has been running on the Pantiles for the past few years. Ian’s delivery was warm and compelling and got the evening off to the perfect start. Next up was Natalie Farrell, who talked about key moments in her personal journey which prompted her to change from successful singing coach to world traveller to yoga instructor, who has just developed and launched her own branded clothing collection of active wear.
Our third guest was professional public speaker Chris Murphy, who told a riveting tale of how he grew his physiotherapy business, only to discover that his true passion lies elsewhere. His delivery was full of life and dynamism, leaving his audience hanging on a thread, not knowing where his life journey will take him next, but convinced that wherever and whatever it may, he will surely make a success of it.
A few weeks ago I attended the Kent Women in Business Awards evening, which was hosted by our next speaker, Hilary Steel. That night, Hilary had the room eating out of her hand and this evening was no different. Her story, about stepping in to avoid disaster by taking on head chef’s duties and running the kitchen at a large wedding event with limited experience of catering such a scale, had us biting our nails one moment and falling about laughing the next. When she finished, we all heaved one huge sigh of relief that she’d managed to deliver the food and get through the wedding with no major disasters.
Professional musician Phil Wilson brought the evening to a close. He instantly engaged every single member of the audience by handing out rhythm sticks and getting different sections of the audience to tap out different rhythms, which subsequently all came together to make one big rhythmic feast. He then went on to talk about his troubled schooldays in the 1970s and his (ultimately successful) efforts to overcome the stammer which had been the cause of so much bullying and insecurity in his youth. It was a supremely moving presentation and his story of triumph over adversity was the perfect way to end a perfect evening.
The next chapter…
Feedback from the audience has been very positive and we are busy preparing for our next Business Diaries event in Tunbridge Wells, which will be on July 5th. Please check back on the Business Diaries page where more information will be available. We hope to see you there…
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