Reflections of a “Newbee” at 2024 World Conference, Las Vegas…and its impact!

Pete Brunning, recipient of the  Joe Purdue Bursary

CMAA World Conference (WC) was immense – the sheer scale of the conference was awe-inspiring. The event included near-4000 delegates, 110 education sessions, networking events, an Ideas Fair and Business Expo…plus Vegas!

Along with 650 others, we were welcomed as “Newbees” – showing a bee sticker on our credentials so more experienced conference goers could help us make the most of first conference. This initiative helped us navigate the complexities of WC, and quickly broke down barriers.

The Education

The thirst for knowledge underpins WC, and as part of the journey of MDP towards CCM, the acquisition of educational credits becomes more important. I was there to learn and determined that the education opportunities be beneficial.

Luckily at WC, there were a lot of credits available – The tricky part, I quickly realized, was deciding which high quality seminars running simultaneously to attend. The easier choices were the daily “General Education session” with a notable speaker – all of an extremely high quality.

The themes of education ranged from AI, leadership, inclusion and diversity, marketing strategies, club communications, Governance, emotional intelligence, recruitment, capital project planning, sustainability, body language, supply chain, cyber security and strategic planning!!

My Education highlights:

  1. Will Guidara, author: “Unreasonable Hospitality”, New York restauranteur. He reflected on his methods of service and leadership delivering #1 on the list of the World’s 100 Best Restaurants. A truly inspirational individual who knew he had to do things differently to shine – bold, passionate and tenacious – characteristics we can aspire to!
  2. Susan O’Malley, former President of the NBA team, the Washington Bullets was both hilarious and educational. Her experiences working through the male-dominated Professional Sports world reflected in her 7 seminal “rules” of leadership and life were inspirational – her magic power was customer service at every level.
  3. Ben Nemtin relaying his experiences of his book “What Do You Want To Do Before you Die?”, and his MTV show “The Buried Life” – a story which sets about achieving a personal bucket list, friendship, constantly challenging yourself and ultimately, helping others because you can.
  4. DeMaurice Smith, former head of the NFL Players Union – great insight into his “Principled Decision Making” method. He had many hard decisions and negotiations but throughout remained true to his principles.

Networking and Vegas

A huge strength of conference is being surrounded by like-minded individuals who share similar challenges and experience. The CMAE delegates ranged from UK and Ireland, to Spain, Denmark, Italy, New Zealand and the Middle East.

With around 60 familiar, or soon to be familiar faces, the networking and sharing of Conference was one of the strongest aspects I found. I was privileged to spend an intense week with such inspirational individuals – with many unofficial networking events, mainly in the Irish Bar, for the CMAE contingent! Vegas was a fascinating place and offered a range of entertainment which enhanced the Conference experience. Some other highlights were eating the best steak ever at New York New York, winning at roulette, walking the Strip at night and the impressive Sphere. The CMAE WhatsApp group made communication easy. Michael McCormack was ever-present to support and advise. Another highlight was seeing the five CMAE delegates receive their CCM’s on stage – it was great to be able to recognize their achievement.

Impact back Home?

WC was hugely impactful – the greatest being an inspiration to continue to strive for self-improvement and be better at what I do – learning never stops and I found many new role models to help.

Practical impacts

  1. “The Service culture I lead” – inspired by both Will Guidara and Susan O’Malley, the power of customer service to elevate both reputation and performance is not something you leave to chance. Setting a clear vision on who we are, what we do and how we go about it can’t be vague. I have reviewed my approach and begun implementing a new service vision.
  2. “Principled decisions” – inspired by DeMaurice Smith, keeping your decisions anchored with your beliefs/moral compass maintains integrity in the way you operate – reviewed the Club rules and clarified to removed areas of misinterpretation.
  3. “My Impact” – inspired by Ben Nemtin, your goals and aspirations can also help others, inspire others and extend way beyond your working life. I have written my bucket list of things I want to achieve, starting with getting out to see places I never thought I would see – sometimes, you just need a push…
  4. I will complete my CCM” – I want more of this – seeing the CMAE new CCM’s presented with their certificates, the people, the shared experiences, and inspiration. To receive the Joe Purdue Bursary and attend World Conference was humbling and something I won’t waste.

I returned with greater perspective on what I am, who I am/could be, and what I can achieve. If any of this strikes a chord with you, I highly recommend that you attend World Conference and continue your journey of self-improvement…maybe next year, I’ll be one of those on stage receiving their CCM!

My eternal gratitude to the ECEF Board  for awarding me the Joe Purdue Bursary.