If you need to catch-up and read how this post came about read the previous post “This Day!”
Day 6 of the trip ended up being the last day of the conference and our final night in Dalian and all things business related. Yippeee!!! That means my next post is purely about our vacation. So be ready for that.
But let me recap on day 6 in Dalian and the final day of the conference. I remember having a late start to my morning. Most things were winding down and people started checking out of the hotel and everyone was trying to have final meetings and making connections before this annual gathering ended. My ending was gathering all the business cards I collected and adding it my drive with a photo of the person in case I needed to reconnect with any in the future. Since I was committed to end all work related activities on this day which included emails and report submission, the day actually flew by in a flash.
At many of the conferences I have attended, when it gets to the last day there is something in the air that one can generally feel it the space. Whether it’s a sense of urgency or loss or purpose, I don’t know. Every day people go to the conference with a sense purpose and have set objectives, but on the last day you just never know if you will make that last connection you were trying to make the whole week or if you have exhausted and capitalised on the opportunities availed during a gathering of its kind.
Luckily for me, I had no set objectives except to get through the week and get on with my vacation. I did enjoy Dalian as a city. It was clean and super efficient. I am grateful that I got to experience the conference and meet some amazing individuals and even got to see some old friends from Cape Town. Weird that when we are in Cape Town together we don’t have time to chat and catch up and it takes us going to another county on the other side of the world to reconnect.
After 6 days since leaving Cape Town and most of those days were for travel I was feeling a bit settled with the time difference and getting my body clock into a new zone.
If you need to catch-up and read how this post came about read the previous post “Today is the Day!”
Day 5 of the trip and the second day of the conference got off to a bright and breezy start. I woke up early enough to make it in time for breakfast at the hotel. The breakfast buffets at western hotels in a foreign country is always over the top. But I was not complaining about the variety.
After nearly missing the bus to the conference venue again, which one got just outside the hotel, I managed to make it just in time for an AI session at the conference. Here you could play around with the technology and have the device scan your face and replace it with one of your choice. I chose Bruce Lee’s face for fun and hoped that his moves might be miraculously transferred to me. The conference on Day 2 was quite similar to Day 1 and I simply just sat through talks and tried to get into all the session run by women. One thing I could not get used to was all the cameras and interviews that just happened at random moments and places.
The conference venue was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel and I used this time to walk back and actually get a feel of the city. While walking I came across McDonald’s and the Avengers Head Quarters. Of course it couldn’t have been the real one as it should be kept top secret, but I found the logo super cool on the building of an accounting firm or something serious like that. Also came across a restaurant that looked like KFC at a glance and found out it is actually called Mr Lee and they also sell fried chicken.
That evening we went to a networking dinner at a hotel just across the street from where we stayed. The seats were all pre-assigned, to facilitate networking. The menu was a mix of local cuisine and it was placed on your table that had a revolving centre. So the food would just appear and move along to the person seated next to you and get refilled with a new dish every few minutes.
This day was quite uneventful but I was still counting down the days to my actually vacation!!!
If you need to catch-up and read how this post came about read the previous post “It’s another new Day!” I have officially completed the journey to China. Now that I have arrived in one piece and immediately got working on ticking things off my bucket list. After registering the evening before for the conference and collecting our access cards we managed to roam around the city to scope the lay out of the land (or city in this case).
On Day 4 of our trip it was also the start of the conference. As I mentioned before going to a conference was not my idea of a holiday but duty called and I got dressed up in my nicest dress (that did not need ironing) put on my shoes and planned to catch a bus to the conference venue. My husband was part of an early morning exclusive gathering for members only, which left me to my own devices. I got to have a lie in and by the time I went down to breakfast it was closed already. Nearly everyone in the hotel was attending the conference, so they were not expecting late sleepers to come looking for breakfast at 10am. I managed to beg the waiter by using excessive hand signals to please bring me some coffee and any pastries they had left. It was actually funny because he was trying to tell me that breakfast was closed and I was trying to tell him that I want to order food and pay for it separately. Since our room was bed and breakfast, I guess it was unusual for guests to skip the free breakfast.
After my mini breakfast and navigating my way through security to get out of the hotel, I found the bus stop with signs to the conference. It is always a joy to ride a bus in a foreign country. Definitely something I would do back home. In a bus you are seated high enough that you get to look out of the window and see the city as a visitor. The streets were so clean and the building designs were amazing.
The bus stopped far from the venue as no vehicles were allowed in. That meant you had to walk the rest of the difference. Little did I know that these few steps would be nothing compared to the 100,000+ steps I would walk during my trip in China. Before entering the building I had to take a pic by the sign. This happened pretty easily as there was another lady that looked like she wanted to take a pic and couldn’t do a selfie. I immediately offered my photography services and before she could say thank you and walk away, I offered her my phone in return to take a pic of me. Of course she could not say no. Once inside the building I must have spent 15mins just roaming around trying to figure out how to get to the next level. Beautiful building but they could definitely have worked more on the user experience for a smoother transition from point of first entry to where you actually end up. Not to worry I am quite resilient in finding my away in and around strange places, so I finally figured out the level and which sections of the conference I had access to. I won’t bore you with the topics of the conference but I must say that the food was delicious. Not sure if free food always tastes good, but the variety was mostly western food which was a relief that I didn’t need to guess what I was eating.
The day ended on a good note because I somehow found my husband among the avid conference goers and we could take a walk back to our hotel together. By now we figured that Facebook and Whatsapp was blocked on our devices and we had to use a VPN to bypass the network and imagine we were in the US, so that we could message our family to let them know we finally reached our final destination.
I wanted to reblog a post I wrote on another website last month. It is a self hosted site but unfortunately, technology failed me and it would not allow me to reblog it directly from the website. Of course I am going to blame technology and not my actual skills or lack thereof. If there are any WordPress bloggers out there that know how to do this, please leave a comment in this post for my future reference. I do thank you in advance. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts “Making a Comeback” that one of the organisations I represent is called RLabs and two of favourite projects I am currently leading with an amazing team of women is called RLabs Women and Junk.Fund .
The title of this post is Take Up Space and please read the post below to see just how it is possible to take up space and actually own the space. Watch our Date Night Welcome video and Thank You Poem. Happy reading…
Good afternoon to the RLabs Women Team and to all those that attended our Virtual Date Night last night. We have spent many weeks and late nights in preparation to host our first ever Virtual Date Night. We had many surprises planned for the women with great entertainment lined up and the announcement of our Junk.Fund May 2020 Winners. Junk.fund VideoDate Night Pitching Video
The theme we chose was #TakeUpSpace#YourDigitalSpace and our esteemed Guest Speaker and Panelists were specifically invited to share with us how they are taking up space. As RLabs Women, our mission is to “Unleash the greatness in women and girls to fearlessly dominate the entrepreneurship and technology domains”. One of the ways how we do this is by hosting a networking event every quarter called: Startup Women Date Night. We bring together women of all ages who are entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs and women who are on the ground being Change Makers. These events allow the women to make new connections and form new friendships while being: inspired, empowered, reminded to continue dreaming, aspiring for greatness in all they do by continuing to change their realities and to fearlessly dominate the technology and entrepreneurship domains.
Last night the women showed tenacity, bravery and were true examples of shaking off the dust and rising up. Our Zoom call was hacked half through our first Virtual Date Night with explicit images and language popping up on everyone’s screen. After the shock wore off and we realized that it was a hack and not just one of participants mic that was accidentally unmuted and sharing their screen, the RLabs Women and Media team tried to block and mute the hackers.
Unfortunately by this time, we were exposed to the explicit images and we decided to shut the call down. We immediately thought “do we just end Date Night”? Of course, the RLabs Women and Media teams are made of tougher stuff than this. Many of us have faced far greater enemies than hackers and we were not going to let all that was prepared for the women go to waste. We started another call on Google Meet and tried to share the new link as swiftly as possible to get as many women back online with us. We do apologize to those women who we might have missed and to those who were watching on Facebook Live since we had to terminate the Livestream. We started our Date Night #2 and had about 70% of the participants re-join us. We kicked it off with some music and got straight into an inspiring panel discussion by Kristiina from Finland and Candy from DRC. These women moved us at our core and when we share of ourselves with each other it makes someone else’s struggles lighter. As entrepreneurs, we needed to be reminded to not give up and not to be afraid to reinvent ourselves when we need to. We ended the night with our pitching competition and had 4 amazing Junk.fund May 2020 winners who received cash Cheques on the night.
Through this experience, it reminded me that women are not safe! It’s not safe for us to be outside, it is not safe in our homes, at our places of work, at our places of study, school, when we are online and even when we want to encourage and empower each other. Women all around the world face these challenges daily and many movements and groups are fighting this abuse and wanting it to be safer for women not just to have a chance to live, breath, create, explore and exist but to rise up, shake off the dust and be a contagious woman! We refuse to be trampled on by anyone.
The comments and encouragement from the women were streaming in and were extremely overwhelming for us. We thank you for showing us that as women, we are stronger together and that we will not stop talking, sharing, existing and taking up our place.
To quote a line from our previous Date Night #BOSSUp theme song:
“You can only BossUp if you shake it off, Rise Up Rise Up! Where my ladies at? ….”
Who knew that we will be doing exactly that on our first Virtual Date Night.
This week the WTF Media Conference one of the speakers, Eran Eyal a co-founder of Springleap spoke about the Power of the Crowd: Crowdsourcing. And he introduced us to Evlydotcom, which is the first crowdsourcing social network of its kind that allows you to connect with a global community to solve anything! Now this was an interesting talk and we are quite excited with its possibilities!
“Evly websites function much like the group or fan-pages on other social media websites, however evly provides users with their own unique website and the ability to grow a network based around their particular interest or need. In addition, evly will provide advanced crowdsourcing and social networking features which will enable website owners to easily manage and grow their own community.” Read more on the Evly Press Release.