AIME (Asia Pacific Incentives Meetings and Event) is the leading meetings and conventions event in the Asia Pacific region. For its 2019 edition, AIME partnered with Guide Dogs Victoria to present Dialogue in the Dark workshops at the knowledge program. 350 event industry professionals were invited to attend different breakout sessions.
This is the first time that Dialogue in the Dark workshops are presented in such grand event in the Asia Pacific region. Four pop-up sessions in the dark were offered by Dialogue in the Dark Melbourne: 2 morning sessions concurrently as well as 2 simultaneous afternoon sessions were held. In total. 96 delegates attended DiD workshops. The dark sessions were completely booked and 10 blind or low vision facilitators took part in this event. These big events indeed make Dialogue in the Dark workshops visible. We would like for all our partners to get the chance to showcase dark workshops in some of those forums. Curious about how this partnership really worked, I I had to ask directly our partners in Australia; I interviewed Carlie Gartner, who is in charge of the DiD marketing.
“This partnership resulted from a collaboration of two great minds. Karen Bolinger, the CEO of Melbourne Convention Bureau is a champion for inclusion in the community and also happens to be part of Karen Hayes’ network (CEO of Guide Dogs Victoria).” One could say that DiD workshops team in Melbourne is still "young". It was less than two yearsago when I visited their venue for the facilitators training. Today, I am amazed. They have conducted this big event perfectly. I inquired with Carlie about their feelings, and this is what he said,
“...This was the first time we had taken the DiD workshops on the road, so everyone really pulled together to work through logistical and operation considerations as a team. There was a great feeling of pride and accomplishment at the conclusion of the program, particularly given the incredible response from all participants who attended. Our workshops were the talk of the conference with many delegates berating the fact that they had missed out on the fantastic sessions. The team was thrilled with the opportunity to showcase Dialogue in the Dark to a new audience, and blown away by the feedback from participating delegates.” Carlie goes on to share with me amazing feedback from participants, “One consultant, (Deanna Varga, of Mayvin Global) described her experience as extraordinary, explaining that the workshop taught her about trust, leadership and learning, and how she can use those key learnings to take the next step. Another participant (Kathryn Lee, the Principal of Lumino Events) spoke to us about the importance of human interaction in the event industry, saying that she couldn’t think of a better way to break down barriers, and instantly give people something to talk about, build rapport and relate to than a Dialogue in the Dark session. She said 'it made us laugh, it made us think, it built camaraderie, and identified unlikely leaders'". I also found out this nicely written article from one of the DiD workshops attendees at the AIME 2019.
All that being said, we can only congratulate Guide Dogs Victoria our DiD partner in Melbourne. Well done, what an accomplishement! This is a great example of a marketing event which can be replicated by all partners. We hope that being present at AIME 2019 will help bring even more DiD workshops to Melbourne and the region in the future!