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IAM - the first time

Dec 11, 2014
20-year-old Milly Dale joined Burke Bros three years ago as an apprentice. Little did she know that she’d soon be travelling the world representing the company. Here’s her newcomers-eye view of the world’s biggest moving event.


In the lead up to the PAIMA and IAM conventions in 2013 last year, Gary [Burke] mentioned that if I carried on progressing as I was and they could see continuing growth within the department, there may be a possibility I could be attending the following year in Orlando! I could not believe I might have the chance to attend and meet members of international moving companies from across the globe.

 

In May this year, it was finally decided that I would be attending both the PAIMA and IAM conventions in October. I was over the moon and was excited that the prospect of meeting the agents I’d been dealing with regularly over the past couple of years was becoming reality. Before I knew it October came around and Gary and I were travelling down to Gatwick. During the flight there Gary took the time to give me even more detailed background information on Burke Bros and explained the history and relationships we had with some of the companies we’d be meeting with. The flight took about nine hours with five hours time difference on arrival in the USA.

 

When we pulled up outside the Marriot in Orlando, I was overwhelmed by its sheer size! Upon arrival at the hotel we were greeted in the lobby by our Peruvian and Venezuelan agents who were incredibly warm and welcoming. We spent an hour or two the next day recovering from the flight relaxing by the pool in preparation for the week ahead discussing our agents – also giving chance to reflect on the amazing opportunity Burke Bros had given me. On the Saturday night it was the PAIMA reception, which I enjoyed immensely – it was fantastic to finally put faces to names. Although it was a smaller event than IAM it gave it a more relaxed and inviting feel, which helped me settle my nerves at my first convention. I found the way everybody greeted each other to be very refreshing. It wasn’t like two business partners meeting, it was almost like family re-uniting after a year apart.

 

Gary told me at short notice that the roll call would expect me to stand up to the assembly announcing my name, company and country and that I would be representing Burke Bros again by accepting an Award for Second Highest Reported Tonnage for 2013/2014 in the European Region on behalf of the company.  But, the next two days of the PAIMA convention proved that PAIMA is not just an organisation to facilitate business, it is so much more. I personally believe this promotes much better business as the agents have much stronger connection with one another. I was lucky enough to spend time with these people during a trip to the Everglades and the night at the House of Blues. It was fantastic to see everyone dancing and enjoying themselves, as we all know how stressful it can be at times and it’s nice to let off a little steam.

 

Early Tuesday morning was the first day of the IAM convention, which had an entirely different feel. Firstly, there were more people in the lobby alone than I had ever seen in one place at one time. Secondly, this convention was a lot more business focussed and intense. However, I enjoyed the meetings we had over the three days and I feel they gave me a greater insight into the companies we deal with.  Gary allowed me to network on my own and even to attend some meetings on my own where he thought the agent would be friendly and also accepting of a younger person.

On the first night of the IAM convention, I attended the First Time Attendees Reception, this made me feel much more comfortable knowing a lot of other people were in the same boat as me – feeling totally overwhelmed! At this reception I had the pleasure of meeting Terry Head, the President of IAM, which was incredibly enlightening. However, I was shocked at the lack of young people at the convention. I personally feel attending Orlando this year had benefitted me greatly, both on a personal and business level. I would encourage any other business like Burke Bros with young members of staff to invest in them and bring them along to these events. The conventions are a prime opportunity for younger people to gain the necessary knowledge and expertise from business meetings and learn directly from older and more experienced people in the industry.

 

Gary and I then proceeded to the Opening Reception, where I soon realised that business and conventions are synonymous with alcohol. Unfortunately, due to my age I was unable to drink at this particular convention. However, in a way I think it has benefitted me to see the experience through not only fresh eyes but also sober ones. My feet were sore every day and Gary was right that six inch high heels were not to be taken and that I would be more comfortable with flatter shoes. We had breakfast meetings at eight, coffee meetings, lunch meetings right through to going out for dinner most evenings with many agents and friends from around the world. It made me think that politicians could run the world better if they took a leaf out of the relationships that movers have between the countries.

 

Overall, I enjoyed my experience at both conventions in Orlando. Particularly the networking aspect, even if I was a little apprehensive to begin with, I have developed my skills at building relationships. I am incredibly grateful to all the amazing people I met at the convention who made me feel so comfortable. I am grateful that Gary and Chris gave me the amazing opportunity to attend on behalf of Burke Bros and for always believing in me.

 

Now all I have to do is build the relationships and tonnage between our agents if I am to get the chance to go to San Diego next year.




Photos: From the top: Milly Dale; Milly receives the Second Highest Reported Tonnage award from Jose Marrero.

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