In 2022, EO members enjoyed a long-awaited return to in-person events at the global, regional and local levels. We asked EO members about their most memorable moments and inspiring in-person encounters in the EO community. Here’s what they shared:
EO Global Leadership Conference (GLC) and MyEO Women Summit
“It’s been great being back together, especially with other leaders at EO’s Global Leadership Conference (GLC), where we learned together in our respective tracks and also learned from great speakers. Daniel Pink’s presentation, The Power of Regret, provided an opportunity to rethink and re-frame my mindset.
“The MyEO Women Summit in Barcelona was also fantastic, with 100 other women and men experiencing the sounds, sights, and flavors of Spain. Winnie Hart‘s presentation on how to Stand Out as a Thought Leader provided great tools that reaffirmed why I do what I do.”
— Katty Douraghy, EO US Central Bridge, president, Artisan Creative
UGG founder Brian’s Smith’s story at EO GLC
“I am happy that in-person learning is back. I get tremendous value from the speakers and opportunities to connect with fellow EOers in our chapter.
“My favorite learning event this year was hearing UGG founder Brian Smith’s story at EO GLC. His story reminded me we’re on an entrepreneurial journey—it’s not a destination. It was inspiring to hear how his perseverance carried him through, and how he discovered new micro-niches that resulted in UGG achieving levels he never thought possible.
“We have all faced challenges in the last few years. Brian’s story was a prime example of entrepreneurial spirit and determination.”
— Rick Gardiner, EO Minnesota, founder and CEO, iAffiliate Management
Meeting new EO friends at global events
“Meeting EO members from all over the world for the Tomorrowland Music Festival (near my hometown) was an unforgettable experience! We had drinks together, partied together and of course there’s a strong level of trust amongst EO members so it’s very easy to connect.
“More recently, 90+ members were together in Qatar for the football World Cup. There were members from all over—including Ecuador, Argentina, India, and the US. We met up for football games, exchanged tickets, explored the city together and helped each other if needed—because we could easily trust each other as part of the EO family.
“I think that’s the most important thing in both those events: Thanks to EO, you are immediately connected into a network of people whom you can trust and rely on without having to look for it in a foreign country.”
— Shrowen Shah, EO Belgium, owner of Passion Jewels
Skiing and talking business with EO friends
“I went skiing with two EO members in Breckenridge, Colorado. One from Florida and the other from Colorado. I’d never skied with either of them—and they don’t know each other.
“We talked personal and business. My Florida EO friend shared e-commerce resources, and I sent him two podcasts that pertained to his business. He was in town with family, so I got to meet them.
“My Colorado EO friend just purchased an iconic zip line and rafting company. We talked strategy and EOS on the chairlift. We thoroughly enjoyed sharing our common love for skiing and business.”
— Byron Walker, EO Colorado, founder and CEO, Survival Frog
EO Entrepreneurial Masters Program, Year One
“For me, it was EO Entrepreneurial Masters Program (EMP), Year One. It is fascinating to share the experience with 65 like-minded entrepreneurs and learn together for four days of full networking and knowledge.
“The best thing is that we meet every year for three years, which allows us to keep in touch. I even have an EMP Forum aside from my regular EO Forum, which makes the relationship with seven other entrepreneurs outstanding. I can’t wait for our next in-person session!”
— Alex Kassab, EO South Florida, co-founder, Morelia Gourmet Paletas
Our in-person team retreat
“We held our 2022 in-person retreat in Fayetteville, NC. Why Fayetteville? Because my second-in-command/integrator just had a baby. To make it easier for her, we rented a beautiful home nearby, where we stayed together.
“We cooked and ate meals together, played games, plus of course, we did strategy and planning work. It was incredible. Several team members had never met, and it strengthened those relationships 100-fold.”
“I showered them with love and attention. I cooked for them—bacon, of course!—and created experiences that bonded us.
“As convenient as it is to work remotely, nothing replaces in-person connections. Laughing with each other, challenging conversations, and just hanging out all make such a difference.”
— Wendy Lieber, EO South Florida, co-founder and CEO, ContentBacon
Reconnecting with my team
“For me, it’s been reconnecting and rebuilding the collaborative and fun environment we once had (you can’t quite build culture over Zoom!). We started with a “come as you please” approach to getting our team used to being back in the office. We had been working remotely for over a year; we needed a grace period.
“We then adopted a hybrid work model where team members would be in the office 2-3 days a week, on the days of their choosing. We finally landed on a more structured hybrid model of being in the office Tuesdays through Thursdays and working from home the rest of the week. This framework has really worked well for us! For teams like ours that require creative thinking and collaborative engagement, it feels like the optimal model.
“We prioritize team bonding and collaboration during our days in the office. Overall, we’ve had a smooth transition back into the office, and we credit our hybrid approach. Having a structured plan has allowed us to be flexible yet still have collaborative, engaged time together on a regular basis.”
— Zahir Palanpur, EO Atlanta, founder and CEO, Azul Arc
For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog.