Have I become a mountain climber and just reached my first summit? No, I just experienced my first Sage Summit 2014 which took place in Las Vegas from July 28-August 1 at the Mandalay Bay.
I went with no expectations, except to learn something new to justify the expense to my silent business partner, my husband. I walked away from the Sage Summit not just with new knowledge but a new fire within to CHANGE the way I was operating my business, and a cornucopia of inspirational people to follow.
The Keynote speakers were just the start of what made the experience so unreal. Each morning we heard from great thought leaders and entrepreneurs such as Magic Johnson, Robert Gibbs, Karl Rove, Biz Stone, and Jessica Alba. Then after being thoroughly inspired from the Keynotes we spent the day going session to session learning from equally inspiring people.
Geni Whitehouse’s session on cash flow wasn’t just about the importance of cash flow, but how to communicate it with your clients. After meeting with Geni I realized why she has been voted as the Top 25 Thought Leader and Most Powerful Women in Accounting. At the beginning of the session, she walked around the room and asked why we were there and what we were hoping to learn. During her session she infused humor and wit to her topics leaving you with tangible information that is presented in such away you won’t forget.
With the incredible caliber of speakers, I thought it would be hard to pick my favorite but it wasn’t. I was privileged enough to be able to sit in on Jason Blumer’s Session on “Facing your Fears” moving into the cloud. Jason walked us through a thought-process of recognizing what we disliked in regards to our practice and creating a time-line action plan to complete once we were home. This session made me put everything on paper and acknowledge what I wanted to change. Putting it on paper was scary enough, but then Jason volunteered to do check ins to make us accountable to our plans for change. Yes, I was absolutely chicken to hand it in.
If you couldn’t find a session that tickled your fancy, then you could go on to “the floor”. The Showroom floor was set up for interaction, conversation, and gaining knowledge. You could walk around and drop in on open-class sessions, or hunt down any Sage product or department to have your questions answered. I was like a kid in a candy store, wanting to check everything out.
After we were done in sessions, we were not done for the day. This is the time when I was able to forge amazing contacts, and friendships. There was a fun Canadian Party, cocktail parties at which we met vendors (and let’s be frank, get some great swag), and plenty of dinners with friends.
Finishing off the conference with a concert performed by Neon Trees was the icing on the cake. I knew that when it was announced that next year Summit was in New Orleans, I was going. Although I learned a few things that I would change or do next year…
- Bring comfortable shoes, the walking, standing and dancing reeks havoc on your feet.
- Book some extra time when you are there, either before or after the conference. When you are there don’t try to divide your time between the conference and sight-seeing. During the conference, I only saw the outside of the hotel once…
- Bring a list of questions to ask or vendors to see, because once you are there you forget everything. The Sage team, and vendors are there to help you, use them and establish great connections to take home.
- Bring my employees because everyone can benefit from this conference.