Editor's Blog

Post-challenge blues

Emma Channon reflects on her final M&IT Agency Challenge...

Three hilarious sets of challenges, 43 informative presentations, a few too many glasses of wine, hundreds of unexplained mosquito bites and two-and-a-half days of non-stop laughter - it's a snapshot of this year's M&IT Agency Challenge, but it doesn't even come close to describing the wonder of the event.

As I sit here trying not to fall into a post-AC depression and resisting the urge to scratch the bites on my arms - seriously, where they came from I have no idea - I realise that there just isn't any other industry event like this.

Our industry is built on relationships and bringing together so many suppliers and buyers in a fun, informative environment for three days helps form and solidify close working bonds.

But when the programme is so diverse that one minute you're acting out an animal invasion on camera before hearing from a supplier in a short, interactive presentation and then later bonding over good food and drinks, you've not only got a pocketful of new business contacts, but a load of new friends.

Whether it's encouraging a team member through the inflatable obstacle course in It's a Knockout, or friendly heckling of the opposing side during the archery competition, the fun and inclusive atmosphere runs thick throughout the event. The presentations are scattered in between the challenges to maximise engagement levels, and with a strict time limit to each one so the appropriate information is delivered concisely. At the end of day two the one-to-one meetings take place, with the chance for enquiries or business to start.

This year saw us expand to Celtic Manor Resort, a move that seemed to signify the challenge's true coming of age. It meant we had more event spaces to work with, a better array of challenges for the teams, and gave the whole event a more exclusive allure.

The staff were absolutely brilliant and the food top notch, and using a majority of the event spaces kept the programme mixed and interesting. Of course, the M&IT marketing team deserve thorough recognition for pulling the event together so well and I have been so impressed as to how they manage to improve it year after year.

This year has been my third - and sadly, my final - M&IT Agency Challenge, as I get ready to head back to Australia late September. So a huge thank you to everyone involved in this year who made it the success and the fun it was - and I will be getting a huge dose of FOMO as I follow next year's event online!

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