Official Opening and Conference Sessions
The conference was officially opened by Interior Plantscape Association, President Nerida Hills, who welcomed delegates sharing with them the exciting program that has been planned over the next 2 days of Connect, Discover, Thrive.
Nerida continued by thanking Sponsors, Exhibitors and Keynote speakers, especially Kathy Fediw Internationally renowned interior plantscape consultant, author and speaker with over 35 years experience, from Texas who flew in from the USA to share her knowledge and inspirational tips that Kathy has learnt over many years. A brief overview about the additional speakers; Denis Crawford, Phil Edwards and Dr Margret Burchett was also shared.
Attendees were also encouraged to visit the exhibitor’s site in the Atrium Room where Just Add Plants, Martin Kellock Pots and Plants, Pohlmans Nursery along with Hort Journal Australia, Biemond Nurseries and The Container Connection have displays and staff ready to answer any questions about their product and services.
IPA site is filled with lots of information about the Association and how you can become involved. If you have feedback, suggestions or are interested to join one of the committees this is a great opportunity to learn more about ‘Your Association’ and take an active role. Come and say hello!!
The association has many generous members who have also helped to make this conference a success. Johan Hodgson from Ambius supplied the greenery for the stage; Tony Gerraty from Frenchams supplied materials for Kathy Fediw’s Plant Care Workshop, Steven Brough from Plants for Hire supplied the gorgeous feature plants & Steven Brett, Brett’s Plants has volunteered to help throughout the conference. IPA is grateful to have such a wonderful community that we can call on for support.
Day 1 – Thursday 2nd March
The conference program kicked off with Kathy Fediw presenting ‘Design Trends’ in the US & beyond.
After morning tea Alan Marion Trainex Systems shared ‘Marketing on a limited budget ‘tips and inspiration for business growth. Kathy continued her sessions with ‘Design Basic for Interior Plantscapers’ followed by video from Karen Smith editor Hort Journal Magazine on ‘Strategic Alliances for Interior Plantscape Industry’.
The afternoon session began with Nick Alsop Green Building Council Australia discussing the ‘Green Star’ environmental rating system and the role of indoor plants in sustainable buildings.
Plant Care – Kathy Fediw spoke about plant care skills covering topics such as Watering and Subirrigation Systems, Reducing Replacements with Pruning and Grooming Techniques and Plant Diagnostics: Pests, Diseases and Other Plant Problems. Attendees raved about the information they gathered from Kathy’s professional approach and knowledge.
Mac&Ernie Social Media Training – Erika McInerney presented information, tips and knowledge how social media is one of the only ways businesses can have an instant two-way communication with their customers. Erika said “You can receive and quickly respond to feedback, create sales opportunities and build a reliable brand. Social media is one of the easiest and most cost effective channels to get in front of customers”.
Workplace Relations presented by Employsure provided information about a safe and fair workplace for everyone. Attendees learnt how to minimise the risk of unfair dismissal and adverse action claims & the importance of employee policies in businesses. This was an excellent opportunity for attendees to work ‘on’ their business instead of ‘in’ their business.
The Rendezvous ballroom then transformed to deliver the industry’s gala evening ‘The Butterfly’s Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast’ which kicked off with Pre Dinner drinks and canapés continued with delicious food and selected wine. The room was filled with plants and bugs! MC for the evening, Julie Watson dressed for the occasion wearing a spider headpiece complimenting Keynote Speaker Denis Crawford, who delivered an entertaining presentation titled ‘Confessions of a bug nerd’. The evening was filled with celebration and networking in a fun environment finishing the evening off with more live music from folk outfit Davies West.
Day 2 – Friday 3rd March
After a delicious networking breakfast Professor Margaret Burchett presented updated research on the use of indoor plants to reduce air pollution and improve environmental quality for building occupants. Over the last few years, Margaret has spoken at many international forums and attendees were excited to have her present some of the latest research from UTS.
The highlight of the morning was an address from Peter Waterhouse, The Urban Garden, New Zealand, who shared information about managing an Interior Plantscape business in New Zealand. There were many similarities to Australia and Peter gave the attendees an opportunity to ask relevant questions.
Phil Edwards Founder of Coolth.inc and expert in horticulture design specialising in green walls, living architecture and sustainability with over 35 years experience delivered a presentation on Green Walls and Green Roofs. Phil also took delegates on a green wall walking tour of Melbourne.
Denis Crawford world renowned author, photographer and insect expert from the Grampians region of Victoria, has been working with insects for over 35 years either as researcher, writer, photographer, and pest management advisor was the ideal presenter to deliver information on ‘Pest Management for Interior Spaces’. Denis answered many questions from attendees who came away with more knowledge about pests!
Ending the day was Kathy Fediw’s topic on ‘Recruiting and Retaining Top Employees in Today’s Tech world’. Stimulating discussion took place with Kathy answering many questions about the growing need for trained qualified, positive staff. Kathy is certainly an educator and informative speaker on all the topics she presented at the conference. Her presentations were inspiring, fun, educational and delegates came away with notes, tips and information that they could apply immediately to their business.
Kathy is certainly an educator and informative speaker on all the topics she presented at the conference. Her presentations were inspiring, fun, educational and delegates came away with notes, tips and information that they could apply immediately to their business.
Closing of the conference
President, Nerida announced the winner of ‘Trivia and Treasure Hunt’ competition and highlighted the key learning’s over the past 2 days of the conference outlining ways how businesses and the industry can improve. Sandy King from Green Inspirations ACT won the competition and was presented with a ‘Living Picture’ donated by The Container Connection. Nerida thanked everyone for attending especially the sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and many volunteers who helped make the conference so successful.
“You should all be commended for taking time out of the daily tasks of running your business to attend Connect, Discover, Thrive 2017 conference. Stepping back and immersing yourself in fresh ideas and networking with like-minded people is an ideal way to gain some inspiration, perhaps a fresh perspective and to get excited about all of the opportunities that are currently available. After all, the Pantone colour of the year is GREENERY! I hope you have all gained lots of inspiration over the past 2 days”.
Finally, Nerida encouraged everyone ‘to be focused on the future for greenlife and to ultimately be unified in our work to achieve our shared vision.