A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending Ambition 2018, an electrifying one-day sales and marketing conference held in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.
The build-up to the event definitely whet our appetites – social media exploded with posts, blogs spoke breathlessly about the line-up of expert speakers and the local press promised plenty of networking opportunities for businesses.
It was impossible not to get caught up in the excitement.
However, for us, this excitement came with a dose of jitters (just enough to warrant slightly wet palms).
There was a lot riding on Ambition. In fact, it was one of the most important days in our fundraising calendar.
This year, the conference picked two beneficiary charities; The Muscle Help Foundation and Rubber Cheese’s chosen charity, the Tamba Bereavement Support Group (BSG), part of the Twins & Multiple Birth Association (TAMBA). It’s an organisation close to the hearts of our Managing Director, Kelly Molson, and her partner, Lee. They lost their twin girls Lily May and Ava Allison in 2017.
All the proceeds from ticket sales were to be generously split – money raised would contribute towards our final #15yearsofRubberCheese fundraising target of £15,000 by the 31st January 2019.
Obviously, we were praying the place would be packed.
As the day rolled around and the people rolled in, it was clear we didn’t need to worry.
Ambition 2018 was the most successful one to date, with more motivation-hungry guests than ever attending.
It began, as these things usually do, around a well-stocked pastry table. Over pain au chocolates and buttery croissants, we mingled with passionate business owners, creatives, salespeople and marketers, all dizzy from the fantastic atmosphere (and perhaps, sugar). At around 10am, with coffee in tow, we filed into the Spotlight’s spacious auditorium to start the day.
It’s no secret that conferences can be a bit dry (don’t look shocked – you know it’s true). But, honestly, Ambition wasn’t like that. It started with a bang that took the shape of quirky BBC sports reporter and award-winning broadcaster, Jeremy Nicholas.
He chased away the morning cobwebs in our brains with an entertaining introduction and rehashed our itinerary. The highlights included three keynote speakers, a digital marketing panel and three invaluable “Ask The Expert” sessions.
This year, the speakers were bigger and better than ever (which is saying something because they’re outstanding every year).
We heard from David Thomas, Guinness World Record holder and multi-award-winning speaker, Bryony Thomas, author of “Watertight Marketing: Delivering Long-Term Sales Results” and Julie Creffield, life coach and mastermind behind the “Too Fat to Run” global fitness brand.
Despite each talk being different, a thread of similarity connected them – they all spoke about how to use ambition to overcome adversity, whether in life or business.
Bryony encouraged us to outthink rather than outspend our competition whereas David and Julie took us on emotional rollercoasters, using their very lives as examples of how to survive hardship and thrive nevertheless.
It was impossible to ignore their messages: push yourself, try new things, don’t be scared and shoot for the stars.
Sitting and listening gets tiring after a while; even the most animated, cartwheeling speaker can’t compete with the dreaded afternoon caffeine crash. So, to keep things lively, the organisers decided to get interactive.
Usually, people shy away from contributing at conferences – not this time. We spent the whole day in the presence of some very fearless individuals, their bravery and inquisitiveness were contagious.
By the time the digital marketing panel started, people were practically jumping off their seats to ask questions. The discussion was moderated by Alan Stevens, one of ‘The Top Ten Media Experts in the UK’, and led by Kelly Molson (Rubber Cheese), Justine Perry (Cariad Marketing) and Saija Mahon (Mahon Digital Marketing Ltd). They spoke about getting the most out of social media, covering how to choose the right platforms for your business, whether to mix personal and professional personas online and the most effective ways to measure success.
The experimental “Ask The Expert” sessions gave us more opportunity to pick the brains of our panellists, speakers and hosts. Every expert had a topic and you selected a table based on your interests. For example, Jeremy Nicholas spoke about how to use humour effectively in speeches and Alan Stevens discussed managing business reputations. These ten minute workshops proved an invaluable source of inspiration.
We left the conference tired but inspired – and very grateful to those who organised and contributed to the event.
Thanks to everyone’s combined effort, we raised a staggering £4,400 for the two charities. Half of this has gone towards our #15yearsofRubberCheese fundraiser for the Tamba Bereavement Support Group, taking our total to over £11,000.
There’s still time to donate. Head over to our JustGiving page or text ‘BRIE78 £5’ or ‘BRIE78 £10’ to 70070.
Image credits: Alison Jenkins Photography.