All Roads Lead to Rhodes

“And what exactly am I going to do there?”

So grumbled Ronnie, my significant other of 30 years, when I suggested that he join me on the trip.  “What does a conference for translation agencies have to do with me? Everyone there will be from the translation industry, and they will all know each other. I’d probably feel like a complete outsider. Besides, the season is long over, it’ll be really cold, the water will be freezing, and most restaurants will be closed. In short, no way am I going with you!!”

And so, armed with a suitcase and a grumbling husband, I landed in Rhodes. Welcomed by amazing, warm weather, I was on my way to the annual conference of ELIA – the European Language Industry Association – the first after a two-year break. Something to do with a global pandemic…

I must admit that Ronnie and I just LOVE the Greek islands and try to book a holiday there every few years. We always find ourselves staying on the outskirts of a small fishing village, 50 meters from the local bakery, in a spartan little room with a terrace, rented from a kind and an often-toothless old lady who speaks no English. That has been our Greek experience. – till now. Since old Greek ladies do not host international conferences in their small B&Bs, we “had” to lay our heads on the soft pillows of a fancy hotel room in a first-class tourist resort, with a sumptuous breakfast, an equally pampering spa, a swimming pool the size of a small fishing village, and a private beach.

While Ronnie closely examined the state-of-the-art coffee machine in our room, I donned my best attire and got ready for dinner at the hotel’s banquet restaurant.

As you know, I really love meeting people. At ELIA conferences, in addition to colleagues who work in my field and share juicy information and gossip about what’s going on in the world of translation, I’ve also found some really, really good friends. Lucia from Portugal, Ali from Turkey, Lena from London, Jessica from the USA (who shares my love for swimming), Diego from Italy, Arben from Albania, Benny my fellow countryman, and many more. It was exciting to see them again. They are all people I would love to meet even if we were not in the same field – just charming, interesting people. Each on their own, and as a cohesive, quite funny bunch.

Speaking of funny, here Ronnie takes center stage. Turns out he knows how to be funny in English as well, and I was happy to see him – not only not sitting alone on the side, abandoned and ignored – but even managing to squeeze out peals of laughter from a Slovenian executive or a Czech CEO.

But this is a conference after all, and I did come to work. So, while Ronnie was having the time of his life, on a picture-perfect Greek beach (not freezing at all…), we gathered in the conference hall overlooking the sea for a series of workshops about the industry we’re all in.

For me, a very significant workshop dealt with managing employees, promoting dialogue, increasing motivation, and encouraging employees to develop and to step out of their comfort zone. The insights provided by Ian Windle, the workshop facilitator, were incredible. Take a look at this short video interview with his golden nuggets: Another workshop dealt with marketing strategies and building a business growth strategy defining our purpose and vision.

And what does one do after a long exhausting day at work? Watch “Squid Game” on Netflix? No way! Go out, of course!

It starts with tzatziki, moussaka, and souvlaki, and ends with dancing up a storm, including in a salsa lesson we stumbled upon, quite by chance, at a small bar in a hidden alley somewhere in the island’s capital.

“I was a real jerk,” Ronnie admitted as we boarded the plane on the way home. “From now on, when you want me to come with you, I’m in. No questions asked!!!”

So, aside from instilling motivation in my employees, I’ve probably managed to motivate my husband, too…

Thank you, Rhodes and ELIA, for everything, and see you at the next conference!

פוסט זה זמין גם ב: Hebrew

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