From my eyrie on the Cow & Calf Rocks I look back on our THRIVE Yorkshire conference held at the Craiglands Hotel on 29 September. What did I learn?

What a successful event this turned out to be. For those who were really keen it started at 6.30am with the special BNI breakfast which was organised at the hotel. It was packed out and just as impressive as ever. Ilkley BNI is in a class of its own and is well-worth visiting, even if you think BNI is a bit OTT. (In fact, it’s the discipline which makes BNI so successful.)

Later Sir Gary Verity opened the conference. He gave an inspiring address. The main message for me was that you need to act on any new idea within 24 hours or it gets overlooked. Then he went off to take part in a 65K charity bike ride for one of his many gigs that day. Our MC was Richard Hayden, the MD of Rejuvenate Productions and the President elect (starting on 6 th October) of the Ilkley BNI group. He kept the day moving along smoothly, his years of experience in video production standing him in good stead.

The Exhibition Hall looked full and colourful and buzzed all day with conversations.

The other speakers were all excellent.

Kate Hardcastle who came along even though she had been up all night with one of her children who was ill, filled the room with her keynote speech – Putting the Oomph in your Business. She also led a question session with the many Ilkley Grammar School students who attended.

Business students from Craven College also came along to the conference in a special minibus, such is the popularity of the event.

The Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Joe Carnell, and founder of UGOT (a fast healthy food business) told us his business story. Three branches already in York Harrogate and Newcastle and more on the way.

Jennifer Holloway told us about "People Buy People" and was signing her book "Personal Branding for Brits: How to Sell Yourself to Find a Job and Get on at Work…Without Sounding like an Idiot."

Finally, Ilkley’s very own Cinema, open for less than a year so far, was the subject of the final talk by its owners John Hewitt and John Tate, the Little and Large of the event. A very amusing and inspiring presentation, including trailers for forthcoming films.

During the day there were five different workshops, some presented twice. The most famous presenter was Ruth Whiteley of Apprentice fame and equally popular was Chris Allen from Blacks Solicitors. Both these speakers and Mike Ward presented their workshops twice in the day. Kevin McMaw and Phil Harrison also gave effective and enjoyable presentations.

The conference has taken a year to organise by the many volunteers who made up the team. IBF Treasurer Julia Forrester of Taxassist Accountants in Ilkley; Liz Scott of Life & Legal, a long standing volunteer with IBF; Claire Collinge of Work Wise Legal was a new comer to the team as was Stewart Taylor of The Black Hat. It was Becky Leach of People Buy People Consultancy who was the undisputed star of the team (don’t trust me, ask one of the other members). She is not a member of IBF (she works outside our LS29 catchment area) but she gave unstintingly of her time and expertise, especially as a PR guru. All the team members did a great job. Some members now need to stand down and we need more volunteers.

So be inspired by our THRIVE Yorkshire conference and step forward to make your mark by helping to organise the same event next year. Just give me a call – 07811 111366.