Pursue Your Path in Paradise. This was the theme of our 2015 International Summit on the Gold Coast and what a paradise it is! With its world-famous beaches, the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia was an incredible setting for our very first International Summit outside of the US!
The 2015 International Summit was held at the beautiful Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa from 16-19 July. With more than 300 members, advisors, alumni, partners and friends attending from all over the world, this year’s International Summit was a not-to-miss event!
Thursday, 16 July was the first day of the conference. The delegates arrived throughout the day and visited the on-site registration for their name badges, conference goodies and t-shirts. They were then broken up into groups for the Amazing Race. Teams raced around the city doing challenges like eating Wheat-Bix and naming Australian animals. The Amazing Race gave delegates the chance to explore the city, learn about Australian culture and make friends from around the world prior to the conference start.
Then it was time to officially welcome everyone at our conference kick off, the Opening Session! Opening Session started off by celebrating each country present by having the Council of Student Members (CoSM) representatives from each country walk on stage carrying their flags. Brad Rainey, Golden Key Executive Director, welcomed all attendees and played a video that recapped all of the wonderful accomplishments of our chapters over the past year. Next, it was time for our keynote speech from Michael Crossland. Timothy Ng, Council of Student Members representative from The University of Waikato, won the opportunity to introduce Michael.
Diagnosed with aggressive life threatening cancer before his first birthday doctors told Michael school and sport were not options. Infection and fatigue were too great a risk. His only wish was to lead a normal life and be able to do all the things that other ‘normal’ kids took for granted every day.
Now, an accomplished businessman, Australian of the Year finalist, Australia Day Ambassador, Camp Quality Ambassador and international hall of fame inductee, Michael inspires many people from all walks of life with his story and inspiration of believing in yourself and achieving the impossible dreams. Michael has an absolute passion and belief in people’s ability to change direction and become who they truly want to be and achieve success. We then had the amazing opportunity to induct Michael as an honorary member.
“It was an awesome night speaking at the Golden Key Summit and to get a lifetime honorary member was extremely moving & a standing ovation was overwhelming,” Michael said. “The world is in good hands with the future leaders from Golden Key.” The overwhelming response from delegates was that Michael was one of the most inspirational speakers they have ever heard. “I loved Michael Crossland. He energized me in a new way and made me want to do more for the world,” one delegate said.
The Opening Session was a great way to start the conference! Afterwards, delegates were then given the chance to network and mingle at the International Meet and Greet Mixer. This closed the first night with a wonderful opportunity to make friends and connections from around the world.
Day 2 (Friday, 17 July) started up with our Plenary Sessions where delegates were served a light breakfast, heard an update from headquarters and were given a chance to ask questions about the Society.
Throughout the day on Friday there was a large variety of workshops that delegates could take part in. From chapter specific lessons to personal/professional development workshops to a track specifically for chapter advisors, the workshops had something for everyone! Attending the various workshops to grow professionally and take lessons back to one’s chapter is the most important part of the Summit.
One delegate told us: “There was a broad range of workshops which was good to know. I followed the personal development path pretty closely and I enjoyed nearly all of the talks given. The workshop leaders were fantastic at connecting with the audience and presenting their content in a concise and effective way.”
Examples of some of the workshop titles were: Maximizing Your Career Opportunities With LinkedIn, Running with Scissors – How To Create Balance, Maximizing Your Chapter Success through Strategic Collaborations, Secrets of Advisors, and How to Nudge: Implementing Change Within a Workplace.
Several other activities happened throughout the day. Golden Key held its second Poster Session. Delegates had the chance to display their academic work for the chance to be awarded scholarship money. All attendees were welcome to visit the Poster Session to view the academic work of the participants. On the last day we were able to present the Poster Session winners with their checks. The winners were: Simangele Msweli from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Tanyaradzwa Mushohwe from Stellenbosch University, Carlee Toddes from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and the overall winner, Fadzai Muramba from the University of Cape Town.
Following lunch there was a Career Panel that discussed how the job market has changed over time and where it is globally. The panel was made up of guests from recruitment agencies and those working in senior operation positions and career development. Attendees had the chance to ask the panelist questions and learn more about personal branding, interview and resume preparation, career change and succeeding in the workforce.
After the workshops concluded, advisors were taken to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to enjoy a night dedicated to appreciating all of their hard work. Advisors were able to mingle with Australian animals like koalas, crocodiles and kangaroos!
Saturday, 18 July was the Day 3 of the Summit, where our SPARK a Change service activities were the main focus. Those participating in the service projects were welcomed and learned about the organization we teamed up with: FSG Australia. FSG Australia is a for-purpose community organization and center for social enterprise whose mission and vision is to have a community that connects with all people and is free of social injustice.
Attendees were randomly split up into groups for the three different projects. The projects were: (1) soy candle making where the proceeds go towards underfunded children’s programs, (2) learning how to paint from indigenous artist and then painting boxes for children in foster care, and (3) a Brains Trust activity where participants were given a problem or project that they were asked to solve or assist with.
Through the hard work and dedication of the GK members present, 645 hours of service were completed and 3,260 lives were touched in only two and a half hours of service done on Saturday! We hope each of the attendees will leave this International Summit and head back to their local communities to continue to SPARK a Change and helping us accomplish our SPARK goals of 400,000 hours of service, 400,000 lives impacted and raising $40,000 by our 2017 International Summit!
Attendees also had the chance to attend additional workshops if they did not want to participate in the service projects.
That evening, the Red Carpet Reception was held. Those that registered for this additional event had the opportunity to mix and mingle with Simon Griffiths, a social entrepreneur and the 2015 Closing Gala keynote speaker. As 6:00 p.m. rolled around on Saturday, it was time to close out the conference at the Gala.
Attendees were welcomed to the Gala by Kelly Jo Miller singing with Edmond Chung accompanying on the piano. Next it was time for our contest winner Nkateko Mathebula from the University of Pretoria, who won the chance to introduce our Closing Gala keynote speaker, Simon Griffiths.
In 2007, after turning down his dream job offer as a corporate high-flyer, Simon moved from Australia to South Africa to immerse himself in his true passion: development aid. There he discovered that the biggest problem faced by NGOs and social entrepreneurs is a lack of funding. Since then he has launched three social businesses of his own, all focused on revolutionizing the way society thinks about and engages in philanthropy.
Simon’s latest venture is an ethical home products company. Its flagship product is “Who Gives A Crap”, an environmentally friendly toilet paper that uses 50% of its profits to build toilets in the developing world. He is also well known for his work as co-founder of Shebeen, Australia’s first non-profit bar. Shebeen sells exotic beer and wine from the developing world with the profit from each sale supporting a project in that particular drink’s country of origin. After Simon’s wonderful keynote address, we had the privilege to induct him as a Golden Key honorary member.
“The keynote speaker was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Simon Griffiths. He was very relevant and inspirational,” one attendee told us. “The food and venue were excellent, the music was superb, the energy was contagious, and the reveal of the next summit location made me really excited to try and go next year!”
Next an excellent three-course dinner was served. After dinner, there were just a few more things to wrap up. We were very excited to present Key Chapter recipients with special plaques. The Key Chapter Award is a very special honor and only the most esteemed chapters receive it. Then the Poster Session winners were announced and a few surprise scholarships were awarded.
Before we officially closed the Summit, we revealed the location of the next GK International Summit: Tucson, Arizona! The announcement was a great way to end such an amazing event. GK members, see you in Tucson in 2016!
The night ended with attendees letting loose on the dance floor!
Golden Key would like to send a huge thank you to everyone that attended and helped out at the 2015 International Summit!
Check Golden Key’s Facebook page this month for pictures and videos from International Summit.