Oh Conferences, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways. (Tales about Opening Doors to New Ideas)

Put the kettle on and get comfortable terry* readers, its story time!  This first episode is about memorable moments from UBC Student Leadership Conferences of old.  (This is a first try, so the audio quality is variable, but hopefully will improve in episodes to come)

Download Episode One of TeaTimeTales Here.

Now, Terry* readers, I’ve been thinking a bit about the broader question of what attracts us to conferences in the first place, and I’m most curious to hear your thoughts! Why spend an hour, an afternoon, a day, several days whatever the case may be, listening to different people, and investing time and energy towards thinking about a particular theme or topic? It is perhaps, an unusual way to spend your time.

For me, there are two main reasons I love (great) conferences. I attend them sparingly, but they do hold a special place in my heart.

1) I love meeting kindred spirits as Anne of Green Gables would say. It is wonderful to be inspired by the energy committed individuals have for the work that they do. To be inspired by the light within them. And a wonderful example of this is the Social Entrepreneurship Experience that was organised recently by Enterprize Canada. It was a room packed with people who were warm and interesting and generous and sharp and open, and who positively radiated with the desire to help and make a difference. I left the conference literally speechless, and emotional and impressed and so so humbled by the incredible curiosity and confidence I encountered that day. Some of the attendees I met were only in first year, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish in years to come.

Conferences aren’t just about participants though.

Incredible speakers who open a door to novel ideas and thoughts and perspectives make an event worth attending too. (and yes, SEE had speakers galore who fit this description). An incredible speaker is one yes, with interesting content and perspectives to share, but is also someone who embodies the ideas they express and are the change they want to see in the world.They offer up possibilities of what you could be, a vision of what it is like to be in your element, and demonstrate what life can be when you pour all of yourself, your personality, tears, your love, everything you have into it. And yet, despite that, they aren’t solely focused on themselves- they are interested in others, acutely aware of the world and have a great deal of self knowledge.

More than what they say, it is personalities and character that make a speaker memorable.

Terry* readers, what are some of your favourite conference gems/memories?

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Shagufta is a UBC Political Science graduate with a passion for interdisciplinary thinking, writing, travel, reading, tea, and interesting conversations. She hopes to combine all of these things in her life work someday. For now though, she studies social policy and planning at the University of Toronto and shares her adventures in and out of the classroom at http://seriouslyplanning.wordpress.com.