Please share a little bit about yourself and how did you join ebbf?
I’ve lived in London for the past seven years, working as a manager of software engineers as my daily job. Wendi [Wendi Momen – member of the ebbf board], one of the ebbf founders, is a friend of mine for years. She introduced me to ebbf about 5 years ago. They were looking for someone to help in the events organization, and so she asked me if I could help in organizing some activities. At that time, I joined the organization because it was a way to live and to put in practice what I was learning it meant to be a Bahá’i. It was a way to apply my values to my work and my business. I am aware that businesses affect a lot the world, and I want to contribute to the world positively through them. On the other side, I like helping and supporting events, which is why I think Wendi asked me to join.
You are one of the main protagonists for the ebbf global events. How did you become ebbf’s event manager?
When I joined the organization to help in some events, I started by organizing the Saturday evening entertainment events’ activities, by setting up shows, comedy, singers and so on.
Three months later, I received an email from Daniel [Daniel Truran – director general] and he asked me to join the team responsible for the entire organization of the global events. And I accepted. The first conference I helped to organize was in Rome, in a random hotel in the middle of nowhere. After that we started to think about “ehi, let’s do something better”. So gradually I did more and more until I became event manager, having less operational activities and more management tasks.
Basically it was a gradual process in which I went from being the one responsible for the Saturday night activities, to being part of the team for the organization of the events, and then being appointed as the events manager. At the beginning, Daniel was doing a lot of the activities, but as the team expanded, the original team became a kind of advisory group, caring about the content, and the newcomers took their place in the operational part which I lead.
Now we have 9 people in the team, plus other sub teams, and we are looking for more members that want to join. I aim to give the chance to more and more members to be part and give their contribution, as this is a great opportunity to learn a lot about the organization and participate too.
The annual global events have changed a lot in the last few years. How did the events used to be and how did they evolve?
The main innovation we introduced are the meaningful conversations after the keynotes. They allowed everyone to contribute with their ideas to the keynote’s content. Participants can listen to the keynotes, be inspired and then discuss about what is possible to do and share.
We wanted to have a more active conference. We want people to put their ideas forward in the conference, we don’t want to be just the sort of conference where you just come and sit. Our conferences are the kind event in which you can contribute.
Another main innovation we introduced was implemented last year in Barcelona. We had a conference in collaboration with another organization, IEF, having the chance to offer a context that met both organizations and so bring from both the best about the topic of sustainability – “how can we produce business that can produce sustainable world”. We had members from both organizations.
A third innovation concerns the introduction of the workshop “how to build your dream enterprise”. We gave the chance to people to go on the stage and present their project. Our aim is to give them a platform to share their idea and create a connection with the community: they can talk about their idea and get assistance.
Last, but not least, we thought it was a good idea to help new participants have a better understanding of the conference and what’s going on, so we created the role of the “host” – people that accompany participants during the conference, by providing information or any form of support.
We try to constantly innovate in order to improve the conferences.
In your opinion, what is the role of the global events in the ebbf community?
A Global Event gives the global community the opportunity to get together. There are no other tools that give this chance. You used to get in contact locally but not globally to share ideas. It’s a good tool to make sure members in the community can connect with each other. When I think about an annual global conference, I think about providing a place to exchange ideas, generate enthusiasm and energy to people to go back home and make things happen. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of time to interact with everyone as I am busy with a lot of things during the event but I also always come up with new ideas.
Why should anyone come?
Well… There is the possibility to meet new people and gain a different perspective regarding different industries and countries.
One of the main reasons is that people can leave the conference with a lot of inspiration, having the opportunity to see how business could be done in a different way. A lot of times people think they are the only ones that are leading their business differently, but through the events they can meet people that also bring values into their business. You can see “actually this kind of business can work”, especially when you don’t know how to do it. You can see what other people, who succeed, did.
What is good about the events is that it gives people the chance to have a look at what they do in their every-day. After giving a step outside your normal domain, you have the opportunity to reflect about what you can do to do it better and improve.
In a few words I would say “This is an opportunity for you to connect with like minded people who are trying to build a prosperous, just and sustainable civilization, connect with them, inspire yourself, exchange ideas and implement them in your reality. It’s a place that contributes to the community and to yourself!”