Russell was brilliant as usual! The three words I would use to describe his session would be: Expertise, Emotion, Enthusiasm.

Emma Keenan, Procurement Specialist

The Brief

Opening or closing a conference is a high-pressure situation, especially for the event organisers. The closing piece especially is always one that stays in the memory. And it is fresh in the memory when the delegate feedback is being completed, often on the train home.

The closing hour after an intense few days at Loughborough was a noon slot, with everyone rushing to trains, planes and automobiles straight afterwards. The brief was to give everyone something of value while raising energy levels in the room (that means, essentially, make them laugh).

the result

Russell’s keynote scored highest of all the speakers at the conference and there is no question he turned a quiet room into one fizzing with energy inside the first five minutes. It was quite amazing to watch it all unfold.

There were some terrific interactive exercises that had the room buzzing, even some delegates that are normally reserved got into the swing of things, though in truth Russell never gave them much option.

The energy was palpable right to the end of the session and he finished exactly when he said he would, to the minute. The last story had us all laughing and crying and I am sure taking action on changing our behaviour.

the feedback

Here is a selection of delegate comments from the session because in the end, that’s what really matters:

  • Very entertaining and great audience participation.
  • Great energy and enthusiasm. Helpful insights that I will remind myself of in the future.
  • Brilliant, insightful and I've already adopted some of the tips.
  • Fantastic Speaker and brilliant session - very memorable.
  • Excellent speaker, funny and good messages and techniques around well-being and resilience.
  • Brilliant.
  • Excellent final session with useful points forcefully yet entertainingly delivered.
  • Very clever and great way to end.
  • Brilliant way to end the conference.

Interview With The Organiser: Emma Keenan

Tell us a bit about HEPA and the conference you were organising.

The Higher Education Procurement Association (HEPA – pronounced “heepa” or “Hep-ar” depending on whether you are from the North or the South of the UK!) is a membership organisation for directors of procurement and their teams in Universities throughout the UK.  Established 2012, in HEPA works with its membership to provide guidance, advice, training and events on a range of topics including hard technical procurement matters and also soft skills.

The HEPA conference is our biennial event for directors of procurement in universities throughout the UK.  It aims to provide an interesting, informative and enjoyable occasion where persons can come together to learn from experts, as well as to share knowledge and experiences with peers.  Held at the Burleigh Court Hotel and conference centre in Loughborough on the 12th and 13th September, the event saw around 120 delegates come together to hear from over 25 speakers on a range of topics including Brexit, HR, Efficiency reporting, Modern Slavery, Blockchain and of course courtesy of Russell, Emotional Intelligence

What are three things that you think Russell brought to the closing keynote of the conference?

Russell was brilliant as usual! Having attended a day-long training course he led us around impact and influence and therefore knowing the energy he brings to his sessions I was excited to be able to share what he does with our audience.  The three words I would use to describe his session would be: Expertise, Emotion, Enthusiasm.

How has it been dealing with the arrangements with KWC, you have enough on your plate doing other things I am sure?

Working with KWC can be described simply as professional, reliable and easy.   All communications are dealt with swiftly and effectively and what is promised is always delivered;  this can be from simple things like the phone always being answered or invoicing being correct, right up to Russell arriving when he says he will and delivering exactly the outcome we hoped he would.   When organising a large event it makes such a difference to the amount of pressure felt when you can confidently leave a job to someone and absolutely know it will be undertaken not just as promised, but brilliantly! 

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