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President's Post - July

The 2024 Engage to Empower conference in Napier was a blast, a video has been shared highlighting the events and capturing some of the energy, fun and learning that was had by all attendees. Our conference started with our AGM, this is the time when members hear about the board’s direction, where we are looking to take the NZSDA, and this is the best chance for members to ask questions, add your thoughts, and offer any feedback. We also talk about the financials, and membership numbers.

This was followed up by the progressive dinner, an interesting take on forcing people to mingle and move around in different groups. Starting with snacks and drinks at Market St, then on to K Kitchen and bar for dinner, Origami for some delicious deserts, then on to Monica loves cocktail bar to round out the evening. This really got the conference underway with a bang and was the perfect way to start. This did present me with my biggest challenge for the weekend as my voice was dissolved with a couple of the finest products from the Isle of Islay, Scotland.

On the Friday morning, a great turnout to our ask an expert panel presentation. We had some great experts in our field including Logan, Dustin, Peter and Scott, and experts in support to business in Anna and Dominic. There were some great questions, great answers, and a very good group involvement. It could have gone on for another hour, but we had to catch our buses to the Urban Winery and Gin Distillery, where we got a great understanding of the local Gin and Chardonnay styles. Our hosts were fantastic, and very knowledgeable. Followed by lunch at the venue, and a very charismatic speech by guest speaker Henare O’Keefe, leaving some members of our group in tears.

Our new thing we tried was a take on speed dating, but via networking with suppliers. This was warmly received, and everyone had some very positive comments. This may feature a bit more going forward. A great way to get in front of many people quickly and get your message across in an entertaining way.

Saturday morning busses picked us up and delivered us to Steve Trott’s ‘Not just signs tour’. A room full of old enamel signs, vehicle badges, classic cars, badges, and wheel caps. A real hidden gem, and it was great to see all that old enamel, and the many conversations of how they manufactured these.

Then back to the Scenic for everyone to get fancy, and dress up for the main event, this being the 2024 Awards of Excellence presentation. Jackie Clarke was our MC, and was simply amazing, her stunning voice, and humour kept the evening flowing, and even got a very shy person up on the dance floor to shake off some very dusty moves that were last seen in the 1990’s. Our band The Naked Gun kept everyone up dancing until the wee small hours.

The entries were of a very high standard, and it is not easy to come away with an award, I have been there.  I want to say a huge congratulations to everyone who took away an award, and for those that got close, please keep trying, the calibre is very high, take great photos, explain about the sign, and follow all instructions when entering, these are the most important parts.

Next year we are having our 60th Birthday conference in beautiful Nelson. Please keep an eye out for the dates, these are fantastic events, and I would really love it if we can get as many people to attend the conference as well as the Awards function. We all learn so much more when we have a greater variety of experienced people there.

Until we see you all in Nelson,

Shae Goom
Director Wise Studios
President NZSDA

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