On Wednesday I attended the Wandering Warriors Corporate Luncheon. I’ve worked for months creating all sorts of marketing material for the day and leading up to the event. It all started with flyers to advertise on the web with custom posters and graphics to attract potential event participants, as well as setting up selling the tickets online and capturing payments. The corporate folder holding all information about the Wandering Warriors, corporate sponsorship and an introduction to the corporate warrior challenge, was well received. As well as the big signage, 6 x pull up banners for the day, all generic so they can be utilised at all other Wandering Warrior events. My final contribution were the power points displayed behind each speaker for the day. These can be tricky as you are never fully aware of the display screens each venue uses. Thankfully I was able to contact the AV guys direct and all screens looked fantastic. No stretching or blurry graphics as you often see in Power Point presentations.
The venue was laid out elegantly and with over 130 guests the room was packed with fellow Wandering Warriors staff and board members, corporate sponsors, veterans and other interested parties. I quickly went to work snapping shots of the day to use for future marketing collateral and to publicise the event on the web and social media. The MC was Bill McDonald, a news presenter from channel 7. Bill did a fantastic job, keeping the attention of everyone throughout the day. Bill introduced Laura Douglas, a fantastic Australian artist whom painted a war horse to be sold or auctioned with all proceeds going to the Wandering Warriors. She also had some limited edition prints available with proceeds going to the Wandering Warriors. We heard from Wandering Warriors Chairman, Brigadier Terry Nolan, AM (Ret’d), followed by the Wandering Warriors CEO Bob Brett MC. Bob went on to describe who the Wandering Warriors are, what they do and how they help fellow returned service men and their families through mentoring, education, employment, events and other services. All the major sponsors also received thank you package consisting of Wandering Warriors merchandise and statue, thanking them for their contribution to the cause. It was also heart warming to see Audie Moldre honoured and recognised as the founder and previous CEO of the Wandering Warriors. Audie is a friend and I have worked with him from the conception of the Wandering Warriors.
The guest speaker was Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG. Words cannot even begin to describe the inspirational talk Ben delivered. He held the attention of everyone in the room, even the venue staff seemed captivated as Ben described a hellish situation he was involved in as a Special Forces operator. As Ben described the event blow by blow he likened his actions, thoughts and feelings into the business world. Many civilians may not realise but the skills learnt in the defence force are transferrable into the civilian world. The courage, strength, compassion and understanding make for a great leader, that not only leads but can get the best out of his team with trust and knowing that he has their backs. At stages I caught a glimpse of the odd tear in the room from other veterans as Ben continued to speak, especially when at one stage Ben paused as he seemed to relive the engagement in his mind and was reminded for a moment the strength, courage and resilience his fellow men showed on that day. As Ben wrapped up his talk the applause began and I suddenly felt the urge to stand up. As I did I looked around the room and not one person was left sitting in their seat. It was the most amazing motivational speech I have ever heard.
Mick Donaldson was the next speaker. Boy did he have a hard act to follow. Mick is the Wandering Warriors COO and also the founding member of TAG International. In March next year Mick will be running the Corporate Warrior Challenge and launched it at the luncheon. The challenge is the ultimate team building experience run by some of the finest Ex-SAS soldiers. He described it would be no walk in the park as it was based off the notorious SAS selection course which he said ‘Is a little bit tough’. You could hear all the snorts in the room from other ex-SAS veterans as they knew too well exactly what the course was like. Mick encourage all to sign up and said ‘The ladies are out performing the men, so guys please give it a go we are being outperformed by the women.’ I shot a look of to one of my friends at our table and we grinned and both knew, we want in on this.
Overall the day was a huge success! The venue at Mercure Inn on north quay was fantastic and second only to the quality of the three course lunch we were served. There are now plans to hold a similar event in Sydney with Mike Whitelaw the NSW director. I’m looking forward to working with the entire Wandering Warriors team to roll out the Corporate Warrior Challenge in March 2017. I felt privileged to be at the luncheon and was able to see Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG again and my personal idol Laura Douglas. The day was truly inspiring!
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