Overdue 4-D Connections at FEC Symposium
So Refreshing after Years of 2-D
Far be it for me to declare an end to the Covid pandemic, but it sure feels like we’ve entered back into the land of face-to-face connections with colleagues and clients, both new and old.
I’ve just spent a few great days in Vancouver at the Family Enterprise Canada (FEC) Symposium, and I’m more energized than I’ve been in a long time.
The reasons for my positivity are varied, but mostly stem from so much pent up demand within me and others to actually spend time with other like-minded people, in each others’ physical company.
I can’t tell you how many times I shared face-to-face conversations with familiar people who I had only ever seen on Zoom, in two dimensions (2-D).
I even got so tired of my own joke about this, “So nice to see you in 3-D” that I decided I needed to go a dimension further, but you’ll need to stick around to the end for that punchline.
Let Me Count the Ways
FEC brings together two major constituencies, members of enterprising families, and advisors to such families who’ve completed FEC’s family enterprise advisor (FEA) designation. There are now over 400 FEA designates, and our numbers at this sold-out Symposium were well into triple digits.
I got reacquainted with several colleagues whose hands I’d already shaken in years past, and also to finally size up some people I’ve known for a while but whose height I’d been unable to assess thus far.
Not that that’s crucial, but more than one person told me that I’m taller than they expected from our online encounters, where Zoom is the great height equalizer.
I even had a chance to meet a former client in attendance, who brought me up to speed on their family’s progress since I last saw them a few years back.
I also slipped out of the hotel briefly to meet with a current BC-based coaching client who happened to be in Vancouver at the same time.
Thanks to CC who alerted me to his presence and for inviting me to their work meeting; it was so cool to see a group of advisors in the same room together working to develop solutions for a complex family situation.
Fun Being Back Up Onstage
By far the key element of my time there that created the most lasting memories was the fact that I had been recruited to co-MC the event over the two main days.
Getting mic’ed up and going up onto the stage to introduce all the wonderful session facilitators was an honour and a pleasure.
Getting to know my co-host, Keita Demming, and developing the rapport required to pull that off relatively seamlessly is a testament to his flexibility in dealing with my “Costello” to his “Abbott”.
The kind feedback I received from so many people, friends and strangers alike, will keep me pumped for months to come.
Something about being in a room full of family business types makes me feel like I’m in my element and that I’ve found “my people”.
True and Authentic Sharing of Experiences
The format of Symposium included a few breakout sessions where the family members and advisors went to separate sessions, but the majority of the time was spent together in plenary sessions.
There was lots of magic in those, because of they way they’d been ingeniously set up, which was quite well received.
The main room sessions were mostly panels moderated by seasoned family business advisors, where the panelists came from family enterprises.
The result was so much valuable sharing of true, lived family business experiences, which benefits both family attendees and the many FEA’s in the room.
So, What About that “4th” Dimension?
Alright, so what did I mean earlier when I teased about the fourth dimension? Well, so many of the people I’ve met working in this field during the past decade are more than just colleagues, they have become true friends.
And like many friends, when I see them for the first time in a while, hugs are exchanged.
It’s tough to replicate a hug in an online meeting.
Thanks to Covid, we now need to make sure a hug is welcome, and most were.