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FIDI Conference 2014 - The 35 Club, East of Eden and Racing the Dragon

Jun 16, 2014
Hear about the changes to the FIDI 35 Club, the East of Eden night hosted by FIDI Asia and the very entertaining dragon boat racing.

East of Eden

FIDI Asia hosted its ‘East of Eden’ night at the FIDI conference in the stunning Flower Field Hall. Set within its own biosphere of exotic plants, in Singapore’s new Gardens by the Bay housing, it claims, 250,000 rare plants.  The evening was a gastronomic and cultural tour around Asia with food islands serving a cornucopia of oriental dishes, and entertainment in the form of traditional dancing from around the region.  The evening was well organised, with little if any waiting for drinks or food. The gardens were pretty impressive as well.  Very colourful, very relaxing, and plenty of space for everyone to wander and enjoy. 

Photos:  Flower Field Hall sculpture

Caroline heads FIDI 35 Club

Caroline Mason has taken over the presidency of the FIDI 35 Club at the annual conference in Singapore.  The FIDI 35 Club was started 28 years ago for individuals from FIDI member companies, under 35 years old, for education, and to provide a smaller, more intimate networking group that would suit newcomers to the industry.

Caroline explained that the Club was designed to be less intimidating to younger people.  “The meetings are less formal,” she said, “and we always have a sporting event that is something to do with the local area.” For example, when the conference was in Australia they had a cricket match.

Caroline has just begun a two year term as President and paid tribute to the retiring President, Aulina Mithal Sood, and board member Angela Mirams, both of whom, Caroline said, had worked very hard and shown tremendous enthusiasm for the Club.

And it looks as if the 35 Club is changing.  It now accepts members up to age 39 (it will still be called the 35 Club though) enabling some current members to stay on a little longer, and is beginning to take a more strategic role in FIDI. “We now have Freddy Paxton who is our representative on the FIDI Board,” she said.  “We will provide research material to the Board and, hopefully, offer a different perspective.”

There can be little doubt that Generation Y has a very different attitude to business than those who went before and the exponential growth of technology in business is something that is probably best addressed by those who understand it instinctively. 

As FIDI and the 35 Club comes closer together Caroline was keen to explain that it is a very inclusive Club.  She said that it was only the conference, which always includes an educational element, that has an age restriction, the social events are open to anyone who would like to attend.

Photo: Students at the FIDI 35 Club Workshop.

Changes to the 35 Club Board

With Angela Mirams and Aulina Mithal Sood retiring from the FIDI 35 Club Board, two new members joined.  In true Hollywood style the nominees were: Jacqueline Stouffer, Security, Washington DC; Alexandra Schmidt, Metapak, Mexico; Tabinda Nasir, Transpack, Pakistan; Morgana Sorners, Paxton, Washington DC; and Jean-Pierre Jacobi, Max Jacobi, Germany.  And the winners were:  Alexandra and Morgana.

The FIDI 35 Club also elected a new President as Aulina had completed her two years in the position.  The new president is Caroline Mason (see above).

Photo:  The new FIDI 35 Club Board: (left to right) Morgana Sorners, Paxton Washington DC; Alexandra Schmidt, Metapack, Mexico; Patrick Makurat, Brauns International, Germany; Caroline Mason (President), John Mason, UK;  Armand Guillemteau, JVK International Movers, Thailand.

35 Club ups its service

Jeff Eilertsen, a trainer from Up Your Service, presented the company’s Service Leadership Workshop at the FIDI 35 Club in Singapore.  The workshop was designed to help delegates evaluate their existing service cultures and learn some new ways to keep customers even happier.

During his presentation Jeff asked the group to consider their organisation’s service points: the points at which the service touches the customers.  These might include, for example, handling the enquiry, the survey, the website, the crew arriving, etc.  He asked the group to look closely at those points and work out ways in which they could exceed their customers’ expectations at each of them.  He gave some examples, many of which cost little or no money, but would just not have been what the client was expecting at that time.  One such idea was to have someone clean a customer’s car while they were in a meeting with you.  Costs nothing much but has a big impact.

Photo:  Jeff Eilertsen

Racing the dragon

In a muggy 33°C, with thunder swinging around the skyline’s towers, 40 intrepid boaters headed off to the Kallang Water Sports Centre in Singapore for a gentle paddle around the bay.  What ensued was an hour of just that followed by a frantic dash to the line leaving all of them exhausted, elated and soaking wet.  Just an average day for the FIDI 35 Club.

The group split into five dragon boats each with an experienced leader and cox (if that’s what you call the person who steers a dragon boat) to keep them heading in roughly the right direction and from otherwise certain shipwreck. Things started gently, just getting used to the craft, learning the commands, understanding the benefit of doing the same thing more or less at the same time, and avoiding bashing each other on the nose, elbow, head, shins … you name it.  Then it really kicked off.

What had been a serene start became a manic finish as all five boats lined up for a 200m dash from a standing start to determine the winner.  On the starter’s signal the paddles hit the water and they promptly forgot the previous hour’s training in favour of much shouting, frantic splashing, muscle burning and lactic acid generation in the vane hope of propelling their craft forwards. Some achived their aim more successfully than others.  All had a great time.

Photos: Dragon boat racing; FIDI 35 Club.

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