It ended up going incredibly well, with hugely positive feedback, with lots of people sharing that it was a truly world-class event.
It was run seamlessly, and I thought I would share with you some hints and tips on running a powerful & beautifully-run event.
Get an event manager
That right there is the number one reason why our event ran smoothly, on time & was quite the joyful experience.
Sonya my COO was our events manager. She had lots of experience in running events in the past.
As a teacher, you do NOT want to be managing the event, logistics, contractors, registration & all the myriad event kerfuffles that pop up.
You should be focussing totally on teaching.
Because of the size of the conference, our events manager also had an assistant to work our attendee registration desk, get speakers miked up, help with stuffing gift bags, do event set up and clean up, and even pat my head and sing “Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty” to me. MWAHAHAHAHA. #priorities
Create a run sheet
Sone had our event timed down to the last minute, and she ran it on time like a damn pro.
Nobody likes for events to run over time.
Nobody likes for speakers to drone on and onnnnnn and cut into lunch time.
SERIOUSLY. I WILL GET SO HANGRY I WILL CUT A BITCH.
Even if you like to be a fluid teacher (like me), it’s so important to have structure around your day to make sure you keep your attendees’ needs taken care of. They need water, food, toilet breaks & clear-the-head breaks.
At least a month out from running the event, Sonya had bedded down our event run sheet, including the all-important rest breaks. We had the run sheet plastered everywhere for speakers to see, and Sonya gave us the wind up hand signals when it was time to end sessions.
You can also have monitors on stage to give you countdown times as well.
Brand your space with roll banners
When it comes to creating an event, it can really help to “brand” your event by using signage.
We ordered three wide pop-up banners in addition to one I already had.
It turned an otherwise normal looking space into a very “Leonie” looking one.
During one of those late night internet shopping sessions that I am apt to do, I bought a large Instagram selfie stand.
Everything had to be sent to me before the conference began, and our team stuffed the bags the day before the conference.
Our staff running the retreat all wore uniforms so our attendees knew who to turn to for help.
We got some polo shirts printed up with a unicorn.
Because DERRRRRP. #required
Outfits & Hair
I think I got this shirt at a shop somewhere three years ago. Skirt from Tantrika two years ago.
As far as outfits go, my style statement would be:
Comfort, comfort, comfort.
I changed clothes during lunch every day just so I didn’t feel like a sweatyballsack all day.
I didn’t get my hair blow dried or shit like that because it honestly seemed like too much shit to deal with. Maybe I will in the future. Or maybe I’ll just keep doing the mermaid.
Mermaid flapper dress. Found it at one of those women’s dress shops. Maybe suzanne grae? I don’t know. It was in the Tuggeranong Hyperdome. I bought it for the Australian Business Woman of the Year awards night.
Worn with Boody bamboo leggings. And a cardigan from Kmart. I think.
Gawd I’m an amazzzzing fashion blahhhgerrrrrrrrrrrr.
This outfit I did buy especially for the event! Me & my darling women’s circle mentor Deb went for a ROOOOAD TRIPPPPPP to Bird’s Nest boutique store (they are an amazing online clothes shop that started in a small town not far from me). This dress was from the Globetrotter by Ruby Yaya range.
Totally stunning dress. I should say – the whole range IS polyester.
I was super wary of it – I tend to wear all-natural fabrics. I was worried I’d get too sweaty or staticy in this dress. But it ended up being quite comfortable to wear. So… WINNAH!
Venue and Catering: The Abbey, Canberra
I cannot say enough good things about The Abbey. They were an absolute joy to work with and took care of us so well.
Plus, the space is fucking next level beautiful. Absolutely STUNNING, with an incredible energy.
We hired in a professional videographer crew to record the whole event for our Academy members. Unfortunately due to their lack of customer service I’m not able to recommend them.
Audio: Infinite Light and Sound
Infinite supplied all audio gear and our projector, and provided audio technicians to manage sound throughout the whole event. They were fantastic and did a great job.
Some more big lessons I learned from running this conference!
You don’t have to teach it all yourself
I’ve held off from running a large-scale conference in the past because I didn’t want to teach by myself for two days straight. I’ve got a pretty weak throat that konks out pretty quickly while talking.
This time around, to make it doable for me, I had a co-presenter on stage with me at all times, and I also invited extra guest teachers who I knew and loved and respected to share their wisdom as well.
Denise Duffield-Thomas taught an awesome session on abundance and money blocks. I’ve known DDT for four years now – she attended a retreat I ran in the rainforest, and we’ve been business-sisters & mastermind-buddies ever since. This woman walks her talk like nothing else… in all the time I’ve known her, and as close-up as I have, she has been impeccable and authentic and always, always brilliant. I believe she is hands-down the best teacher on law of attraction in the world, and brings love, warmth & realness to the work of manifesting. If you haven’t already, you should be reading her books & applying her principles because HOT DAMN THEY WORK.
(Little known fact… we decided to have a “Conception Competition” to see how fast we could get pregnant. She beat me by six days! Ha! Our daughters Beth & Willow were in the womb together… it was especially sweet when they finally got to meet in real life. We reckon they were friends on the other side and decided to jump in on the two of us.)
Kerry Rowett (my favourite kinesiologist) taught some powerful energetic practices to help you get over your stucknesses, align to your goals and create them faster. Kerry was another old coaching client of mine from four years ago who I loved working with to help her business grow. She is such an earth angel with bright, clear energy and a real gift. I started using her (and even sending staff to her) to clear blocks & achieve goals. It was so lovely to meet her in person for the first time after knowing her online for so long!
Gini Eagle, my dear friend, came in to lead yoga at the beginning of each day for everyone to start feeling refreshed and energised and grounded in their bodies. I’ve know and loved Gini for years, and we’ve shared some truly special, sacred moments together, especially out at her Ingelara Retreat. She was my reiki master that led me through my reiki attunements during a truly magical weekend. She has the most beautiful energy and I am SO glad that I got to share her with all our attendees.
Melissa Prince led a meditation, and also held a sacred women’s circle for our conference attendees during the evening. Mel is a magical human being with a lot of love and integrity in leading women’s work, and I was overjoyed that she flew over the country to teach. And I love that she was able to include elements into the conference that I would have led but just couldn’t because there’s only so much physical energy I have. I love that our women still got to experience that energy, that it didn’t need to run off all my own energy and that Mel could do it instead!
It was a win for everyone involved!
Fill your own well with body work
The night before the conference, I heard from an acupuncturist/body worker Indira from Sacred Health letting me know she’d be happy to do a session for me before I went on stage the next morning. I said HECK YEAHHHHHHH! It helped me so very much to ground and fill up my own well before I went on stage. I got her to come back the following morning for more because I found it so useful. A definite energy booster!
I’ll definitely look at having some kind of bodyworker backstage from now on.
I’ve learned the hard way before that as much as I want to do EVERYTHING and be involved in EVERY SINGLE MOMENT for EVERY SINGLE PERSON, it’s really not the best way for me to hold energy.
I NEED to have time and space and rest away from people to refuel my energy when I’m not on stage.
I decided to sleep at home (only 30 minutes drive away) during the event. I had other staff stay onsite to manage everything. It was actually wonderful and grounding to be able to drive home, have dinner with husby and kids, lay on the couch and just have normal routine at night. It definitely helped my energy levels as an introvert.
When I was at the conference, I made sure I had a longer session of rest over the lunch break, and either took a nap in the green room or went to one of my team’s hotel rooms just to chill in the quiet.
My energy levels were actually pretty great at the end of the two days which I was surprised by – but it goes to show that a little bit of structure and support can go a LONG way!
All in all, I’m really proud of what we were able to achieve, and ecstatic at the feedback we got from attendees!
I will be running the Shining Academy conference again next year in Canberra for all our Academy members. I’d like to make this an annual event, it’s such a beautiful thing to meet face-to-face and connect heart-to-heart.
At this stage, I won’t be running large-scale conferences like this outside of Canberra. So if you’re wanting to come, you’ll need to come to my beautiful city. Distance is no excuse – we had attendees from Scotland & USA. And we’ll release dates as soon as we can so you can get it all booked into your calendars!
I so hope this post has been useful for you in planning your events!
I’ve definitely made mistakes over the years when I haven’t created enough structure and support around live events. I’m so delighted with the flow of what we could achieve together this year… and am delighted to look at ways we can bring even more magic in for future events!
May all your events be a beautiful container of your wisdom and love.
At both events, I’ll be speaking honestly about the journey of building a multi-million dollar company, how I’ve become a best-selling author, the mistakes I see business owners making + I’ll also doing Q&A sessions.
Come see me! Come play! Come have inappropriately long cuddles!
I have been a part of masterminds for about 7 years. I honestly count them as being essential to my success. I absolutely would NOT have gotten as far and as fast as I have without them.
They are the places I’ve gotten:
free business advice
brainstorming when my brain just wouldn’t function anymore
support so I don’t feel so damn alone on this crazy journey
referrals of clients
some of my best joint venture partners
referrals to contractors + software
I’ve been part of great ones. Crap ones. Paid ones. Free ones. During this call, I’ll tell you all I have learned in the last 7 years. What works. What doesn’t. And how to get the mastermind you need to go faster and further in your business.
During the call you’ll learn:
Exactly how to grow your business exponentially using masterminds.
How to get the most out of any mastermind (paid or free) instead of it just being a big old waste of your time.
When masterminds go bad: When you need to exit + how to do it gracefully.
The systems + structures you need in your mastermind in order for it to work.
The hidden mastermind habits of the world’s biggest entrepreneurs.
I remember right after high school I worked on a building project. We were nailing up cedar siding. I had done a lot of framing, the parts of building that never really get seen, but this job was different. The nails and the siding would be seen, visible, forever. It was my first experience where swinging the hammer wasn’t just about strength, but accuracy was important. No one wants big dings in their siding.
I have a friend who is a modern-day metalsmith of sorts. He takes dents out of cars. His forearms are ripped with sinewy muscles from twisting his tools all day, lifting little dings and dents. He says it isn’t hard to move the metal, it’s hard not to move it too far. His most important tools are a bright light that shines on the surface and his eyes to watch. He can always spot the amateur’s work because the innies become outies. They don’t know when to stop.
In the mountain town where I live, there are lots of ways to tear up a shoulder or a knee. A friend of mine works in the operating room sometimes and he told me about a doctor trying to remove a pin from a leg. For thirty minutes the operating room reverberated as the surgeon used a slide hammer to try to dislodge the metal. So much force required, on something so fragile – a body.
So what ties all these tales together?
It’s this balancing act of strength and skill that each of these real-world tasks require. Wood doesn’t give to a nail lightly, it has to be driven in. But there’s a risk that you miss and mar the surface you’re creating.
And metal is strong and don’t like to get pushed around, but watching a dent disappear is a pretty amazing process – realizing that it’s the skill of ‘just the right touch’ that makes the work awe-inspiring. I would just poke the tool right through the metal – boom, oops. Now how do we fix that?
And the pin, in a bone, that won’t come out? That one is hard for me to imagine. The whole story is a little far-fetched. That we can repair broken bones, that the miracle of healing can be facilitated, supported, and that even healing can require force and strength, but not too much. You don’t want to shatter something else in the process.
These stories of real work fascinate me.
I see a transfer into the world of virtual work, of relationships and leadership. So much work takes strength, and yet the skill is in not hitting too hard. Us entrepreneur types are strong, that’s what gives us the guts to face the world and live our dream so visibly. But that same strength has a risk. You might mar the wood. You might go too far.
Part of having strength is a responsibility to use it well. A responsibility to know that you have it. To know how hard you’re hitting and where. To stop before there’s a mark – on the wood, in the metal, on a soul.
While we’re building our business, our family, our team, there’s a time for the gift of strength.
Work takes strength, takes power, takes force. But if the only force we have is adolescent me driving the nail with all the power one can muster, it’s the wrong kind of force.
We need skillful force. Mature strength. Surgeon’s hands.
It takes time to learn it, and time to master it.
But it is time well spent.
Blessings on your journey,
Editor’s Note from Leonie:
Grant said to me a couple of things in the manager-mistake-mending process that stuck with me, and that this story enunciates so well.
Firstly, he said:
I don’t think you quite realise how strong you appear. You seem so assured of yourself, so certain, so forceful with your will. I don’t know how to argue against that sometimes. I don’t think you realise how you appear.
And I had to take a moment to let it soak in.
He was right. I had no idea. I’m so used to being Leonie The Force of Nature that I don’t realise how it affects other people, especially my staff. And if I want to create a culture of support + stability within my company, I need to temper some of my wilder ways in certain places. I’m not going to eradicate it at all – heck, my wildish nature is a part of me, my creativity + my joy. But it is best served in the creative places, not the managing one.
Secondly, he said:
You, as the CEO, and as the company owner has the greater power in this situation. That’s not a judgment, it’s just what is. That’s how business works. You are powerful, and you need to understand and wield that power well.
Leonie, as you grow, and as your company grows, you cultivate more power + influence. And you need to be conscious of the strength of that, and how you use it. For every action there is a reaction. Everything you do causes a greater effect now. You have the responsibility to learn how to hold it + use it well.
What a blessing to learn all this, hey?
My response to both of them was:
Well. FUCK! Why didn’t anyone tell me this in school? Shit! Okay! I’ll learn it now!
And we all laughed and laughed and laughed.
Because it’s hard and yet it’s bloody hilarious really. All this learning + growing + getting over another chunk of your own stuff. Healing + blooming even more into yourself.
It’s the good work to do.
I should mention too – it’s not just me that’s getting my ass kicked into growing here. Ha! Grant will share his own lessons along the way too. That’s the beauty of surrounding yourself with other conscious, growing, evolving people – you have no choice but to up your own game too.