For SF Spotlight this week we’re shining light on one of our own. Meet Dan Shaw, our Don-Draper-esk Digital Marketing Executive with an appreciation for hair products and fine scotch whisky. Dan recently returned from our Global Gathering where all of the company’s high achievers were flown to Singapore to celebrate and be inspired by the travel industry. Between dancing on the beach to Fat Boy Slim to a packed conference and awards ceremony to returning to his desk at Student Flights HQ, we asked Dan to spill the beans on his time in Singapore.
How many countries have you travelled to?
I’ve been to 15 in total.
If you could narrow it down, what would be your favourite?
My favourite would probably be Switzerland. The Alps are incredible and it is where I proposed to my wife.
You recently travelled to Singapore for the Global Gathering, tell me about the experience?
When we first touched down in “Singas” on the Friday we had a day to do some sightseeing and get ready for the conference. We were told that the Friday night pre-conference event was “a Sponsors Expo event on the beach”, so we didn’t amp ourselves up too much. When we got there though, we were faced with a massive DJ tower set up on the beach with drink stations, food stalls and sponsors stalls scattered everywhere. There was a silent disco, a mechanical surfboard and a huge swimming pool too! A Singapore Sling was handed to us on arrival and the night just went off from there.
A little later in the night the music went quiet and the owner and founder of Flight Centre Ltd, Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner stood on stage and welcomed everyone to the Global Gathering in Singapore. He spoke about the year that had been and thanked everyone who had made it to global gathering. Soon after, the lights went low and we heard an announcer’s voice over the speakers.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, your special performer for tonight…FAT BOY SLIM!”
Everyone went ape crazy! The d-floor was packed with people jumping about everywhere and just when you thought you couldn’t dance anymore, you’d somehow find the energy and kept dancing.
So with such an incredible Friday there were definitely some tired and sore heads on Saturday, but everyone trooped on and kept energetic atmosphere and spirit alive. It’s surreal to see 3000 people at 9am on the morning after a massive night, yelling, cheering and full of enthusiasm as they walked into the conference venue.
The day kicked off with the awards ceremony which was unbelievable! With each award that was given, the country of the recipient would stand on their chairs, applaud and cheer the winner whilst they walked to the stage. Some award winners even had an entourage of flag waivers and sign bearers on their walk!
Following the awards we were treated to an amazing guest speaker, Professor Muhammad Yunus, who has won a multitude of notable awards including a Nobel Peace Prize. Professor Yunus spoke about the need to conduct “Social Business” in today’s society, which is basically the running of a business to serve the needs of society and not the need to make profit. He is the founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which was made publically aware for giving out loans to the poor people of Bangladesh. His talk was very inspirational and we all were left with some food for thought for when we returned home.
During the conference, Student Flights also got some stage time with our illustrious leader Darren Lloyd telling the peeps about our sweet new Black Market Flights, company updates and what the next financial year will mean to Student Flights.
After screaming and shouting for about 24 hours with the Sponsors Expo event on the beach and conference, I thought the black tie awards ceremony on Saturday night would be a more refined experience. I was wrong. Even in full formal attire people were gathered in their nations, waving flags and celebrating their achievement. The atmosphere was electric. And again we were thrown more awesome surprises with Rove McManus MC’ing the night, and Taio Cruiz and the Scissor Sisters performing at the after party.
To top off the whole experience, we stayed at the Marina Bay Sands which had a roof top infinity pool overlooking the entire city!
What was your highlight?
The conference was really uplifting and inspiring and it was great to hear from all of our leaders from around the globe. Dancing to Fat Boy Slim playing awesome beats on the beach was also pretty amazing.
Three words to describe the trip?
Epic, electric and surreal.
Where are you planning to travel next?
I’m planning to head back to Europe next to visit Turkey or Spain.