SPINCon16, held at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa Nov. 13-15, once again proved that letting your hair down, being true to yourself and never passing judgement is one of the greatest ways to grow professionally and personally.
Shawna Suckow, founder of SPIN (www.spinplanners.com), said it from the event's git-go.
“You get to take off the layers of who you aren't here,” she told a crowd of cheering attendees as she tore away a black blazer to reveal a Rams football shirt from her alma mater: Cornell College. “You get to be who you really are.”
And that they were, as a SPINner in furry knee-high slippers (and a dress) joined the keynote speaker on stage shortly thereafter, breaking the ice for two days of laughter and learning.
SPINCon16, which drew 200 attendees, double the number of 2015, added “Business” as a fourth pillar in its concept that targets senior-level planners with effective content to help them further their careers and overall well-being.
“We’ve done ‘Brain,’ ‘Body’ and ‘Being,’ so we added ‘Business,’” Suckow said. “Some of those offer CEUs. We wanted to cater to the planner that not only comes to work every day but the planner who goes home at night and has to deal with life.”
SPIN's new executive director, Rod Abraham, was highly pleased with his first SPINCon.
"The contagious spirt driven by Shawna captured the old-timers, it captured the first-timers, and it sure did capture me," he said.
SPINCon 16 kicked off with a rousing keynote by Elizabeth McCormick, a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot who relayed elemental truths about leading yourself in life, and featured several other riveting presentations. One was a “dualing” TED talk with speakers Angela Gaffney and Dawnna St. Louis in which two women shared two stories with one underlying and powerful theme: Challenge the naysayers. And triumph. Others included speaker Theresa Rose, a crowd favorite, who presented on everything from the importance of meditation and mindfulness to becoming a better planner and person by not allowing yourself to have limiting beliefs.
From entrepreneurial strategies to stress reduction to advanced contracting and influencing decision makers, 22 speakers contributed to the unique brand of conference culture SPIN has developed.
SPINners also gave back to the community with a CSR activity: assembling 100 toiletry kits and 50 children’s goodie bags for a local charity dedicated to women and children.
Other events included everything from a "dawn dance party" with Theresa Rose to a poolside party at The Diplomat Resort to a beach party complete with games, including a giant inflatable Twister. It doesn’t get any more “SPIN” than ending an evening chuckling over several Twister “spills.”
An inspirational pre-event wellness retreat led by Monica S. Graves of Maha Veda Soul Journeys was another highlight this year.
SPINCon 2016 sponsors included Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, Koncept Events, Riverside Hotel and The Diplomat Resort.