By Hilary Topper, EO New York member and president of HJMT COMMUNICATIONS, LLC.
When you think Amsterdam, you don’t typically think business trip, you think holiday. So when I heard that the Entrepreneurs’ Organization was going to have a university there, I was one of the first to sign up.
I had never gone to an EO University. I didn’t even know what it was. A lot of members talk about how great universities are and how they are a once in a lifetime opportunity. I didn’t believe them at first but now that I’ve been, I know it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity!
When I went to the EO Amsterdam University this past week, I was impressed with the quality of speakers, the presentations, the organization of the event and the socials. This was one of the best conferences I have been to in a long time.
The conference theme was “Changing the World.” They had several top-notch speakers including: Mohammed Unis, Peter Schwartz, Joshua Silver and Kofi Annan. Each speaker talked about how he/she is changing the world. Each speech was more inspiring then the next!
The days were filled with classes and the nights were filled with lots of fun. One night we took a luxury boat to Westergasfabriek, an old historic gas factory that the Dutch converted into a dance club. When we got off the boat, we were greeted by EO staff and given a pair of wooden shoes.
All dressed in orange, we wore our wooden shoes and danced together around the complex. There were more than 500 people from around the world dancing in wooden shoes. The site was amazing.
The next night, we had a “dine-around” at one of the EO Amsterdam members’ home. Gaston was a lovely host and his wife and children were so hospitable. We took a long bus ride to his home, had intimate cocktails and then had a nice formal dinner in his dinning room. It was great to learn about him and his family and to meet my fellow EO’ers from Dubai, Germany and the US.
The final night, Saturday night, was the “big wow.” After a fun boat ride in the rain with 500 of my fellow EO’ers, we all got dressed up and met at a church called the Oude Kerk Amsterdam.
The place was beautifully decorated and while we sipped our cocktails, we heard an all boys choir sing lovely hymns. The organist also played and then we all sat down in the formal setting.
The food was incredible. Each dish was better than the next! After we finished our main course, a senior group walked on stage. Everyone looked at each other. We didn’t know what was going on. They filled the stage and started to sing upbeat pop songs. It was terrific! I ran up there to get a closer look and I was thoroughly impressed. The after party was even better. It was back at the hotel for dancing and karaoke.
What a great way to end a conference. Great job to the Netherlands chapter and to the EO staff! The event was flawless and we even got a real Manifesto, a cool handbook that we used daily and pair of wooden shoes out of it!
This post was recenty published in Hilary’s blog.