GLC Learn Arounds Unlock New Perspectives Via Full Immersion Learning

At EO’s 2024 Global Leadership Conference (GLC) in Singapore, more than 1,800 EO members from 65 countries convened for the opportunity to learn and collaborate. The program included 10 guest speakers and keynotes on the main stage, learning tracks tailored for EO chapter leadership positions, and off-site learning and inspiration in the form of Learn Arounds.

During nine custom-designed Learn Around excursions to Singapore businesses, most owned by EO members, groups of EO members enjoyed behind-the-scenes access to local enterprises including Creative Eateries, LionsBot International, Brass Lion Distillery, LeVel 33 Brewery, and Goldbell Group. Through these and other immersive off-site learning experiences, EO members expanded their perspectives, sparked collaboration and creativity, and fostered deeper connections.

EO members responded with enthusiasm to this unique opportunity:

“A brilliantly curated experience by EO, the Singapore Street Art Learn Around was a mesmerizing journey through the city’s creative soul,” said Marc Gregory, an EO Johannesburg member. “It was an unforgettable experience where we got to connect with EOers around the world while capturing the essence of Singapore’s dynamic street art scene, which was a highlight of the GLC experience!”

Other Learn Arounds focused on practical leadership topics such as succession planning in a family business, challenges and solutions in local manufacturing, operational efficiency and resource management, and innovative technologies.

GLC attendees left the conference room to fully engage in a hands-on learning journey that connected theoretical knowledge with real-world encounters, and uncovered fascinating human narratives in each business that hosted them. The Learn Around hosts personify the spirit of EO’s thirst for learning by sharing their stories, challenges, and experiences.

We asked two Learn Around hosts about their experiences connecting with EO members at GLC through hosting members for an immersive experience in their vibrant Singapore businesses. Here’s what they shared:

Learn Around Host Bonnie Wong (EO Singapore): Creative Eateries

“Opportunities to meet like-minded entrepreneurs from all over the world are few and far between. At EO global events, I am reminded that while each of our challenges is unique, we are also so similar. It was very humbling to see so many members come and listen to our story,” said Bonnie Wong, an EO Singapore member and second-generation owner of Creative Eateries. “The energy, positivity, and humility that EO members show also help to encourage me to overcome my own challenges.”

Founded in 1992 by her father and business partner, serial restaurateur Anthony Wong, Creative Eateries has stood the test of time in Singapore’s competitive food and beverage landscape.

Bonnie and Anthony shared the journey of how their company developed, the crises that molded the company, and the people who stepped up in pivotal moments. They emphasized the importance of succession planning, and the pitfalls and challenges it entails in a family business.

One of the lessons Bonnie hopes EO members took from their Learn Around experience is “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” she said. “Succession planning must be continuously worked on, despite the challenges and difficult conversations. Businesses need to be grown to a certain size for the next generation to be interested in running them. There should be financial incentives for the next generation rather than purely filial piety,” she noted.

She shared the challenges founders face in learning to let go of the successful businesses they built bit by bit. “In the process of letting go, it is important to go back to the beginning and remember the original purpose of the business.”

“Being present in the restaurant that we have operated for the last 30 years showed some of our company’s history and how we survived the various crises that we encountered,” Bonnie continued. “I think EO members appreciated the candid interaction between our two generations and the difference in perspectives.”

Attendees weren’t the only beneficiaries of the Learn Around. The hosts also gained insights. “I learned that it is important to communicate closely with the founders of the business to align expectations and objectives and that the next step can be different from what was originally built,” Bonnie said. “We just need the courage to walk the path.”

Learn Around Host Dylan Ng Terntzer (EO Singapore): LionsBot International

We also connected with Dylan Ng Terntzer, an EO Singapore member who founded LionsBot International, a high-tech company that solves the shortage of cleaning staff by designing, building, and programming autonomous cleaning robots to assist cleaners in enhancing their efficiency and cost savings.

Why did Dylan decide to host a Learn Around? “Connecting with EO members at GLC is always inspiring, as it provides an opportunity to engage with like-minded and bold entrepreneurs. The energy is high, and great ideas arise during the session.”

Dylan shared insights into his company and highlighted their product development process and challenges, which include their decision-making process and resource constraints. He shared insights on achieving sustainable growth, product diversification, and global expansion — all while adapting to diverse customer needs.

“I hope attendees gained a new perspective on the importance of being bold and having fun in what we do,” Dylan said. “Additionally, we emphasized the importance of always thinking out-of-the-box to do things faster, cheaper, and better.”

GLC participants engaged in an interactive problem-solving exercise during the Lionsbot factory tour, where they could see, touch, feel, and learn about the robot manufacturing process. However, participants weren’t the only ones who gained actionable insights.

Hosting a Learn Around is a learning opportunity in itself:I learned the value of interactive engagement and how it enhances the learning experience for participants. It reinforced the importance of creating a dynamic environment where attendees can actively participate and learn through experience,” Dylan shared. “This will inspire us to conduct training and learning sessions differently for our employees and customers in the future.”

With their thirst for learning momentarily quenched, EO members who attended Learn Arounds at GLC made strong memories and connections with their hosts and fellow participants.

“My takeaway: I’m humbled. I will be mining the learning from yesterday for the rest of my life. I have a bigger vision of today, tomorrow, and forever as a result,” said Dan Rogers, EO Seattle. “Thank you, EO!”

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

Categories: Entrepreneurial Journey Lessons Learned members WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS

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