Have you ever attended a business meeting that seemed to drain your soul out of your body? Or happily slept in a water conference, to digest the jet lag and be in a good shape for the real conference content, aka the late drinks at the
with 🎙️ Annyse Balkwill – Founder of the LuminUS Group and Program Director for the upcoming BlueTech Forum
💧 The LuminUS Group crafts an events formula that has participants engaging, again and again, sharing with their colleagues and offering this feedback. Wanna see it applied? Make sure to attend the upcoming BlueTech Forum!
What we covered:
🔺 How the company’s pyramidal shape is disappearing, and what it involves
♻️ How organizations have to evolve to strive in this new paradigm
🧠 How businesses will have to leverage collective intelligence and wisdom to grow
🦸♂️ How you’ll have to adapt design, practices, and frameworks as a leader – and how that will empower your teams
💪 How in a scattered water industry, all these phenomena not only exist but are set on steroids
📛 How hence, water conferences need to adapt, and how BlueTech Forum is redesigned accordingly
❓ How challenging it is as a water conference organizer to plan the unplanned, and give up control over events
3️⃣ The three pieces of advice you can implement today and change your business meetings forever
💥 How when done right, business meetings, and water conferences can generate sparks!
🤙 How physical conferences used to be a habit, and how they must reinvent themselves in the
🤔 How there are tons of good business reasons to attend a water conference, how that’s still not the decisive factor to show up, and what it is
😴 How you shall avoid visiting the BlueTech Forum if you just expect a passive top-down delivery
🤝 How the conference design taps into human connections to go past any “pedigree” considerations
🔁 How Annyse first experienced and built her methodology, and how you can replicate these best practices
⛔ How you don’t have to run crappy business meetings just because that’s how you were taught to run them
🌱 How we can leverage the full human potential as an industry, regardless of gender or background
👌 Radical collaboration, talking about what means most for you, planting seeds, crafting a truly unique event… and much more!
🔥 … and of course, we concluded with the 𝙧𝙖𝙥𝙞𝙙 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 🔥
Teaser: Taking the Bore out of Water Conferences
🔗 Have a look at The LuminUS Group’s website
🔗 Come say hi to Annyse on Linkedin
is on Linkedin ➡️
Infographic: Reinventing Water ConferencesInfographic-Annyse-Balkwill-Take-the-Bore-Out-of-Water-Conferences-and-Business-Meetings-The-Luminus-Group-BlueTech-Forum
Quotes: Water Conferences reinventedQuotes-Annyse-Balkwill-Take-the-Bore-Out-of-Water-Conferences-and-Business-Meetings-The-Luminus-Group-BlueTech-Forum
Table of contents
These are computer-generated, so expect some typos 🙂
Get Season 2's Summary!
Antoine Walter: Hi, Annyse. Welcome to the show.
Annyse Balkwill: thank you so much for having me. It’s really a pleasure to be here.
Antoine Walter: Well, there’s a ton of stuff I’d like to discuss with you today. We have a full plate of topics ranging from your path to what you’re doing right now for a very special portion of the water industry. Look at that teaser. I’m trying to say it without saying it, but that all starts with a tradition on that podcast, which is the postcard.
And I’d like to have a postcard from you. And I heard that you’re at a place one hour away from Toronto called Dundas. If I’m right. And you told me something about.
Annyse Balkwill: Yes. So we live in a little forested area in the valley at the bottom of the escarpment and our backyard is basically a conservation area. And so we have a family of seven deer That live among us. It’s really common for us to wake up in the morning and see them munching on our plants in the backyard.
Antoine Walter: That does that make you a disney princess?
Annyse Balkwill: Perhaps, maybe our children, maybe the girls are.
Antoine Walter: actually talking of girls’ princess? You’ve been co-authoring a book called woman let’s rise. So I confess to you when we were having the chit chat before starting the recording, that I didn’t have the time to read the full book, but that’s on my reading list now, but I read your portion of the book and your portion
give some hints at what we’ll be discussing in the second part of that interview. And you’re seeing that humans did many people in their corner to teach them all the things. And you say that about your daughter, sham writes in the book, but I think that applies in general. And if it has to come from inside, we also need the outside.
And I was wondering, how did you realize that? What was your journey to realize.
Annyse Balkwill: Well, I think the moment where it all hit me, I think there’s been nuggets along the way, but it was really, I think I say it in the book. It’s been a while since I read that is I brought her home from the hospital. She was my oldest, and I remember setting her down in the living room in her carseat. And I looked at her, you know, she kind of looked back at me and I thought, what the heck is happening?
It’s just me and you here, her dad was at work and we were just like looking at each other and I thought, oh my gosh, it’s so weird how we live. And that whole realization just came flooding into me. That, you know, we learned about the history where people have lived in community and there was other, aunties and grandmothers and friends that were all close by to help you learn how to raise a human.
One of the biggest, most challenging and rewarding jobs on the planet. And I just remember looking around thinking. Where is everybody, you know, and I am quite an independent person. Anyone who knows me knows I sort of pushed the boundaries on being independent and being, you know, my own person. And my parents would certainly say that’s true about me, but in that moment, it just became so apparent to me that this notion of community and who she needed and who I needed it.
I, it was just this amazing moment of clarity.
Antoine Walter: Kimberly Baker on that microphone explained us how it’s takes a village to raise a child. I mean, it’s the same, but she really took it down and it’s not just a saying it’s simply truth.
Annyse Balkwill: Yeah.
Antoine Walter: You mentioned this element of community, which is maybe what you explain a bit again in the book.
When you say that there’s this element of connection between humans, which is what brings all the humans together. Will you say that is still true today or is it more true than ever? Is it exactly the same that it always was? What’s your take on.
Annyse Balkwill: I think that it’s more true than ever because we’ve evolved so much as a species. Well, for one, since I was born in 1980, so everyone knows how old I am. We’ve doubled the Earth’s population. And that I remember learning that just this year, Actually thanks to BlueTech, which we’ll get into that in a bit, but it really just dawned on me that.
It’s an extraordinary amount of humans on this planet and that we’ve never been in this space before. And I think the common thread around all of us really is around that connection is that we all want to belong here. We each want to be known and seen, and we want to really see and know others.
And I think it gets lost a lot in our regular interactions and our regular sort of transactional way that we work together, that we even exist in the community together. And I think it’s more important now than ever because most of our history, we grew up and lived in really small. And now with the internet and obviously with COVID-19 really showing us how connected we are globally and how things move in an instant.
We’ve had so many examples of just how connected we are. And I think it’s important because we act as if we’re not globally, but we’re sort of being reminded. And how do we exist on this planet and how do we make really important decisions going forward, especially in the water industry regarding our most precious resource on the planet, how do we go forward and make decisions that are based on the importance of our connection?
Antoine Walter: Actually you’re saying that we are more connected than ever. It makes a lot of sense to me because, you know, if we were in the good old times where it takes a village to raise the child, it means also you live in your village and you never go out of that village. And if I was now sitting in that village doing a water podcast, I would be the funny guy, which does a weird thing.
And nobody’s really giving a damn to be polite. Whereas with this digital connection, and you can find your people a bit everywhere around the world and even a small fraction of a small thing is already an audience, which fills some big rooms.
There’s one last element from the book, which I like to take at that stage, which is something you mentioned the water industry, you were working for GE if I’m right.
Annyse Balkwill: I did. Yeah. I started at Xenon for anyone who knows that journey. But ezine on baby and then they were acquired by GE. And then I left before they were acquired by Suez WTS.
Antoine Walter: And it’s a food chain in now, they get acquired by bill. Yeah. But
Annyse Balkwill: Yes.
Antoine Walter: That’s another topic. The reason why I was pointing at that is that I guess it’s not industry specific, but I think anyone in the water industry probably has felt this experience, which you just explained in the book about business meetings, what did you realize with those businesses?
Annyse Balkwill: I sat in hundreds of meetings in my corporate career. And I often said to myself in my head and sometimes out loud, maybe to the offensive, some people that were in the room, but that there has got to be a better way to do this. There, there just has to be a better way. The experiences that I had in where people were trying to co-create, they were trying to collaborate.
It was this element of driving buy-in. And so, you know, decision’s already been made, we’re going to see what everybody thinks About it, but we’re going to go ahead with this decision anyways. And that’s really a symptom of, leadership from the last century before there was 8 billion people on the planet.
We could have a few people at the top making decisions and us sort of following orders, but the world has gotten so complex and there’s so many things to consider. There’s so many perspectives there. The companies now are so much larger that there’s complexity in all of that. And so having a very small handful of people, making decisions and only having the decision-making power, there is really detrimental to the growth, to the service to the productivity, to the innovation, the creativity that’s within organizations.
And so I saw us holding ourselves back and I didn’t have an answer. I just repeated, I think thousands of times in my head and that allowed, there’s got to be a better way to do this. And then outside of work, I was volunteering for something. I literally walked into the basement of this woman’s house.
There was some people sitting in a circle and there was a woman that took us through this planning. And I didn’t know what I was getting involved with, but the way she ran that whole meeting, it was, I was talking in depth with strangers in the room. We were co-creating and we were building together and all these things were happening so seamlessly.
And so naturally that I knew that better way was I knew I just experienced it. And so this woman became a mentor of mine. And this has brought me to where I am now.
Antoine Walter: About this place you are at right now, I take that leadership element, which is just teased and put it in the fridge because that’s also something I’d like to discuss with you. But for now, I like to go. To the meat of our deep dive. So read the meat on the bone, which is this element of co-leads congresses conferences, trade shoes whatever.
I mean, there are many of them. We’ve entered in the water industry, the conferences season as we’re recording where the 20th of April the Singapore international water week is happening right now,
Annyse Balkwill: They’re just wrapping up and I saw on LinkedIn that they’re wrapping up in a really neat way. They’ve had the young professionals come up on the stage and comment about what they’ve learned and what they see to bring forward. So I just want to give a kudos to them.
What a smart way to end that current.
Antoine Walter: Does that mean that there are good practices to steal and I’m using brackets there because it’s really getting everybody to the next.
Annyse Balkwill: Definitely. Definitely. I think when I saw that today, someone had posted it on LinkedIn and I thought I wrote that down and thought what a clever way to end that conference, because the way the person had mentioned it on LinkedIn, they had said it was so great to hear from our future leaders about what they’re thinking.
And I was like, ah, yeah, they nailed that. Well done. So congratulations to whoever, , came up with that idea.
Antoine Walter: I even see that. And usually, you know, the young professional is the day before I was at thous Evans and then it’s like, you have your evidence within the evidence and you get to know the young professionals, but the real professionals don’t mix because come on, they’re serious. So it’s good that they vote on that.
And maybe there’s as you noted, there’s some good practice to extract there, but so there’s Singapore right now. That will be the global water summits in Madrid. Then there will be IFAT I guess then there’s the BlueTech forum. We’ll come back to that one, but that’s not the end of the season.
This saw that after that there’s water Europe there’s I mean, just plenty of
Annyse Balkwill: So many. Yes.
Antoine Walter: Why would anyone attend one of these conferences?
Annyse Balkwill: There was probably a habit of going before. I would suspect that, it was maybe good business practice. Of course you’re going to have to be seen there. There’s a marketing element to it.
There’s lots of good business reasons to attend, but I think that those business reasons are going to have to get a little bit deeper. And then I think the personal choices, I think people are feeling, this is more of a personal choice to go. Why would I attend as someone going to an event?
And I think it has to start with understanding the real purpose of the event, the purpose of the event, and then the purpose for you attending. And if those two things are in alignment, then I think amazing, but we have to get better at articulating that. And I think the evolution of conferences there’s a lot to be learned from our online world.
So what did it really take to get connected? What can we do online and what do we leave online? What do we save all of the the cost to go, the impact on the environment to go. Maybe there’s a lot of things that we just let that be. And then what is the purpose for really connecting in person and then crafting a conference or a forum that really serves that purpose, and then people who are aligned to that purpose can come and gather and do some meaningful work together.
Antoine Walter: I just stopped in my enumeration around BlueTech forum. Maybe it’s important to mention here, what are you doing about the Dudek forum?
Annyse Balkwill: I’ve been working with Paul O’Callaghan and his team for the last two years on some virtual round tables that we’ve been doing because he called after, you know, in 2020, when BlueTech forum was canceled, they couldn’t run it obviously like every other conference and said, I really think we need to gather our community.
They have this really beautiful community that they tend to, that they nurture, that they share their amazing research with, all of those elements. And BlueTech forum was the place that they nurtured that community in person. And they didn’t want to lose that for, we didn’t know how long at that time.
And so we planned a series of two hour virtual round tables to have the end users in the water community really come together. So both the municipal utility on users and then some corporate end users was the space that they wanted to nurture. Through that relationship, we were building slowly towards BlueTech forum and he just asked if we could be a part of curating that event of thinking through it through the lens of what is this post COVID.
I know we’re not post COVID, but you know, we’re gathering again with COVID in mind. How do we create this event? So it feels a little extra special, so that we’re. Really bringing to life the theme of the event, which is radical collaboration for regeneration. So they’ve taken a bold theme. That’s really moving from this notion of sustainability that was birthed sort of in the eighties and really moving towards regeneration. I just help them craft the event we’ve been working together and collaborating on that since about October, we’re sort of getting into the home stretch now , piecing all the final elements together and welcoming all the delegates that are registering.
It takes collaboration from many people to make that really successful.
And BlueTech has always had that at the heart of this form. I think it’s, what’s made them unique and sort of stand out in the last decade. It’ll be their 10th year anniversary this year, which is super exciting. And I think we kept up on that theme and then we’ve added a few new elements.
Antoine Walter: Let me go back and be 10 times virtual round table speakers. From a technical point of view, it’s probably, I might be wrong. You’ll correct me, but the most difficult thing, because online one-to-one works. That’s what we’re doing right now. When it sounds to work one to many works as well. Someone giving a conference, someone giving a talk, but many too many, you’re hurting the limits of the technical aspect of it.
How did you overcome that in this digital room? I know there was no other choices, but nevertheless, how did you overcome.
Annyse Balkwill: Well, I took my whole business primarily was in person. So as LuminUS group might get together, I work with leadership teams. We do things in a room. The, where I met Paul was actually an event that WEF. Had in-person in 2016, I think was the year. And that’s where we met. And in those spaces, we create something new.
We set the conditions so that something can actually be created in that space with the people who are in that room and at that right time. And Paul witnessed that. I think that’s why he called because he wanted to capture that essence and put it online. And so I’d already been working to do that because as I looked at my business, I thought, well, people still need to talk.
We still need to run businesses. We still need to work. And so we have to do this online. And so I took all the elements that I know work from in-person that I have lots and lots of evidence. And then I just re-engineered them to. Work with an online format. I’ve used zoom. but I leaned into that platform and then did a thoughtful design. We want people collaborating. We want people listening to each other. We want people to be inspired.
And so we created a design for the virtual round tables and we worked them out a few times. And then we found like a process that really worked. And when people come on those virtual round tables, a lot of the response we get is this is the best zoom in and I’ve ever been on. And everyone’s been on zoom meetings for the last two years.
And so we really captured. That sharing, like we created an intimate space, one that feels safe enough to share in, we use breakout rooms, we limit how much we’re talking at people, right. And really fostering that communication and that real learning from one another. So that each person that is involved or invited to a round table they have a responsibility to make this event really great.
And so we built it all in that spirit and it’s worked really well.
Antoine Walter: But would you say that’s the digital experience was the best you could do given the conditions
Annyse Balkwill: Absolutely.
Antoine Walter: Is there something from this digital gatherings that you can bring back home? When we go back to this face to face physical.
Annyse Balkwill: I think there’s a benefit for both of them. So when you do a virtual round table, you can do them with everyone all over the globe, any meeting that you want to do, you can do that easily, all over the globe and not have people flying in and out. If you want to do something though, that does take a few days to do, because there are things in the world that just take a few days to do.
Then those ones are much better done in person. I think online there’s a limit for how long you can be online. I have a few rules on how I’m designing and when I’m working with teams that I don’t do anything longer than three hours because when, you know, with breaks and the proper design but if you really want to dig in make really meaningful connections and you know that it’s going to take more than that, or maybe even more than a series of like three hour, you know, you could do three hour sessions, three days in a row like that.
You can accomplish a lot doing it that way as well. When you do get in person though, it’s like, then what are we going to do with that? I hope people don’t do the same old thing that they’ve always done when they’re in person. I hope they take a more holistic human element to it. I hope that they explore and get creative and tend to that whole human.
I hope that they’re taking full advantage of practicing, creating safe space so that the wisdom of their organization or their team or the conference can really emerge, you know, are we tending to all of those design elements? Because when you’re in person, I think those are the richest moments and you want them to be memorable.
And you want that experience to be a little bit transformative. If people are going to travel, if they’re going to, leave their little ones at home and You know, their spouse to take care of, to take care of everything on their own, when we’re really used to doing it together right over these last two years, we’re really used to doing that together.
And so. Yeah, I think some thought really has to be put into when we’re gathering in a more holistic sense than we have before.
Antoine Walter: You mentioning the design. So does that mean that the full pressure of doing better lies on the shoulders of the organization or does it also involve the people participating in that ? The audience or the speakers?
Annyse Balkwill: Always both always both. And the more we can lean into both and the more that we can, there’s this principle that I work with from Dr. Angeles Arion, it is when we gather everything that would have happened is all that could happen. I totally butchered that.
I don’t know why it’s not totally coming to me, but it’s this idea that if you leave the meat. Or you leave the conference and you’re unhappy with it. You wish you would have talked about something, your angry at the design, whatever. Then it’s your responsibility in that room to do something about it.
It’s your responsibility to contribute. And then it’s the responsibility of the organization to design in such a way that can actually come to the surface. Sometimes when I share this this principle is this acceptance of everything that happened in the session is all that could have happened in that moment of time with the responsibility that people were willing to take with the design of it.
Right? So some people say it’s like a cop-out, you know, they’re like, you’re not holding people up, you know, strong enough to come and tell them what they’re responsible for to, But you’re responsible for everything you’re responsible for contributing. You’re responsible for caring enough for the purpose that you’re gathering to contribute wholly.
And if you’re not, if there’s psychological safety issues, if the design isn’t right, then you have to speak up, you’ve got to alter the design. You’ve got to make a shift. You have to make it worth it. You can’t, you know, if you leave there irritated, angry, disappointed that responsibility has to be on each of us. I think we’re past the point of taking a passive approach for anything that we’re gathering to.
Antoine Walter: But there’s dangerous when you’re in your position as an organizer, because that means basically that the audience can steal the show and decide to do something. Does it a different from what you’ve.
Annyse Balkwill: Yes. And that’s what I help organizations with the most. I think that is the question what do you help leaders with the most? And I really think the answer is letting go of control is really tapping into the organizational wisdom. We’re maybe tapping into 20% of the organizational wisdom or the conference was, and the wisdom that’s in the room at any gathering location.
The problems that we’re facing in the world, we just think about the water industry alone. Let’s leave COVID and all the other things that are happening in the world. But let’s think about water. We cannot afford to not tap into the 80% of the wisdom that we’re missing because of design, because of practices, because leaders are used to being in control and are used to being the experts that know everything.
Right. That’s just a, it’s just a paradigm. So it’s no one’s fault. But this old paradigm is that I’m the leader, I’m the boss. I’m going to design this and I know exactly how it’s supposed to happen. But in my experience, when we gather and we gather on a common purpose and we might even know what the common vision is, we can start from that place.
But then we must allow the wisdom of the room to emerge. And does that feel uncomfortable and feels like it goes off the rails. You know, when you’re in a meeting and they write that parking lot. They’re like, this is for the parking lot.
And they put everything in that parking lot, cause it’s off topic. Well, we’ll put that in the parking lot. Put that in the parking lot, all of your solutions, all of your innovative ideas, all of your problems solving capacities are in that parking lot. So we got to get better at excavating that parking lot.
We’ve got to make space to have that wisdom emerge and the water industry needs it. Like no one else. Right. So, but it’s a tricky, it’s a tricky path. It feels hard to let go of that.
Antoine Walter: Intimidating for an industry like the water industry, which is full of engineers, not maybe very confident in behaving in speaking, in public that behaving in the now I’m sounding like we are all from a cave, which is not the case. We know how to behave in society. That’s okay. But speaking in front of a room of very knowledgeable people and most of them have very impressive resume because yeah, there’s like a pity rave.
When you look at the attendees of this kind of Evans that’s can be intimidating. How can you create this confidence, this atmosphere of confidence so that they feel empowered to speak up. Do you have a special trick, which you can share to people that would maybe not come to Vancouver, but would like to steal that.
Annyse Balkwill: I do have two things that I can share. Anyone who’s worked with me before is probably rolling their eyes because they know I do this again and again, but. We work with the whole human. So if you only engage with the pedigree aspects of a human, it can feel really intimidating because they’re an expert in their lane.
And you know, whether it’s their PhD that they’ve gotten, or there are 25 years of wastewater experience or, whatever that might be when you only engage there, it’s challenging to find relatability. It’s challenging to find connection cause who connects with that, maybe somebody else of the same pedigree, but maybe not our connection comes from our vulnerabilities.
And so whenever we can create an aspect where we can share our vulnerabilities, you start to create a level playing field or one where everyone feels like they belong. And when everyone really feels like they belong, they share their ideas. So sharing our creativity, sharing an idea is one of the most vulnerable things that we can do.
Because a new idea that comes from inside of us, like deep inside of us, right. Comes from a combination of our learned experience of our learnings, our knowledge, our experience, it comes from our failures. It comes from our successes and all of that is wrapped into this, like this new idea that we’re sharing.
And so when we create space for vulnerability, that’s where we can create space for innovation, creativity, wisdom sharing. The first thing is I do whenever I can is people are sitting in a circle. There’s no table in between them.
So right away, we’re looking at each other when we talk. We don’t have anything to really like protect ourselves and ever. So everyone’s in the same boat. Everyone’s always very uncomfortable at first, but by noon or the next day, you know, people can’t wait to get back into that circle. And so physically we can do that.
We can do that with our leadership teams, people listening. Like you can do that with your normal team meetings when you’re back in person, it’s just or just pull the chairs around to somewhere where you can just, sometimes it’s only eight of you, right. Just sit around in a circle and then your laptops aren’t open in front of you because on a table they’re usually open, right.
And that’s signaling to people that I don’t really need to be here. It’s more important for me to be somewhere else. So presencing being fully present is the first way to do that. And the circle really supports that. And the circle also. We and we are equals, we all matter. We all belong here. And it also reminds us of our ancient history and our roots of how we’ve always communicated as humans.
It’s only been recently that.
we stopped gathering in circle. Right. So
Antoine Walter: Went back to the village, which is sitting together around the fire, around the main tree of the village or something.
Annyse Balkwill: Yeah. Yup. So that’s one way that I do it. Another way is we do a transfer in to the space. So I have a process that sort of involves cards and things I’ll show you them at BlueTech forum, but it’s a way to help people transfer into the space because we all come from a busy day.
We come from a, you know, a busy morning might be dropping off the kids. You might be running late, you know, there might’ve been traffic on the road, whatever. And do we just give time to transfer into the space, but in a way that’s meaningful. So when you gather, you know, sometimes just a simple question, like I use a card to say, what does the card tell you about whatever, but it might be about just why you chose to participate in this meeting, why you chose to come to this conference.
. And then what it does is it tunes you into. A deeper answer. That’s not just your default answer. Ah, my boss told me to come or, I felt like I had to be here mandatory. You know, it just gives people a minute to say like, why am I here? What is the purpose of this? Why does this feel important?
And it really transferred into the space. And then the third thing I do is I always ask for hopes and fears. So what are the hopes and fears around this challenge that we’re talking about this growth phase that we’re co-creating together, this new market that we’re developing, whatever, what are hopes and fears, and many people want to say, well, can we just talk about risks and opportunities?
And I say, no, because you put your financial hat on and then I don’t actually hear about your hopes and fears. I just hear about the financial risk and the potential financial opportunity, but I want to know what are people really worried about? What are they fearing? And then what are they hoping for?
And when we start airing those, we don’t make assumptions. What are we hoping for? We know what they are, and we know collectively what they are. We also know what some of those fears are, and we just work with the level of trust that’s in the room, because I can’t pretend to fix it or build it better. But the, that act alone of doing hopes and fears again, and again, you build trust.
You allow people to be vulnerable about what their fears are. And then what happens when we see our fears with our eyeballs, we can read them on a piece of paper. It starts to take their power away because they’re so powerful. We will dictate behavior based around an unspoken fear. But if it’s spoken, we’ve done the hard work of it.
We can now look to it. We can say, remember that fear that is coming up right now. What are we going to do about it instead of no one talking about it, even if they’re recognizing.
Antoine Walter: In the context of a conference. I see the hopes. I imagine what it could be when I see the program of BlueTech forum, seeing the speaker, which align all of them, I would have a lot of hopes. I don’t see an example of a fear. What would be the typical thing, if there’s any, which you hear in terms of fears?
Annyse Balkwill: I think there’s one, if I can use your example is the fear of leaving your brand new little one at home, right? That
Antoine Walter: No, that’s a good one.
Annyse Balkwill: You know, wondering how your partner is going to be juggling three children at home. It could be, the fear of creating a big environmental footprint. It could be the fear of leaving the conference and not making any meaningful connections. It could be being at the conference and feeling like you don’t belong. Am I good enough to be there? Do I have enough credentials to show up? Is anyone going to talk to. It could be, I don’t know, you might have a dietary issue. I know for me, I’m always like, are they going to have a vegan option? Right.
And they seem silly, but they’re really personal. And they’re really, they’re real. And I think people are going to make decisions about whether they’re going to go or not, you know, on some of these concerns, they’re going to really think about them.
Antoine Walter: So that was then the perspective of the attendee. We had a bit of the perspective of the organizer with what you explain, how you creating that environment and how you have to give up a bit of your control of what’s happening, because you’re designing it’s too to go uncontrolled by design, which is counter intuitive, but very interesting as an approach.
There’s a third part in that triangle and that’s the speaker. I’m wondering, you know, there are so many examples nowadays, everybody can see the best Ted talks they are. And then you look at those people, which in eight minutes convey much more than you will in two hours of slides and whatever.
And you’re like, if the Evans has to now come to that level, that means that me as a speaker, if I go on that stage, Maybe there’s no state you’ll tell me, but I need you to live up to those expectations. It doesn’t, that puts a big pressure on the speakers as well. And how can they mitigate that?
Or how can they be as good as that audience deserves it?
Annyse Balkwill: So we’ve spoken to the keynote speakers that we have, which is a fantastic lineup. And what we’ve asked of them is to really speak about what means the most to them, because I really think that’s where inspiration comes from is really what is the most meaningful for them. So that they’re not trying to craft a message to suit the audience, but really to allow their passion, their own motivation for this topic that they’re sharing.
Let that be the inspiration for the audience. So authenticity, there’s show up with their most genuine self, their most authentic self and speak to what has the most meaning for them is I believe what has the most meaning on the audience?
Antoine Walter: Let me be the devil’s advocate here. I’m sure when you were still at GE or at Zenon, you’ve been. Getting some conferences and trade shows and all these conferences they have sponsors and they have people exhibiting. And usually it’s part of the sponsor package to get your fair share at presentations.
So let’s say we’re in the water industry. Let’s say I’m an activated carbon company. And I just sponsored your show, which means I’m going to stand up on that stage. And I’m going to explain the full word, how am I activated carbon is the best. There was the reason that we’ll ever be, but chances are that’s in all honesty.
That’s not, what’s the most important for me. That’s just my job and I can love my job. It’s probably still not the most important for me to say that my specific surveys has 20% higher than competition. So what’s the place for this commercial parts of event?
Annyse Balkwill: So there’s a few places so that we are working with amazing sponsors and they also believe in the spirit of BlueTech forum, which is really to make meaningful connections, to have really meaningful conversations. And everyone actually, from the.
sponsor perspective is really excited about what are the next steps after BlueTech forum.
They really believe it’s a place that we can plant some seeds in that we can grow them and nurture them ongoing. So there’s already some momentum built around that. So we have sponsors who are in line with that. They introduce some of the different round tables. So there’s four round tables over the two days.
So it’s a highly interactive program and there’s you know, almost three hours of keynote speakers, really what that inspiration thread, but every. Element is introduced by one of the sponsors. So they do get their time. They do get their time to share a little bit about maybe a cool project that makes sense for the people here.
So it’s a solutions oriented. It’s like, what can we they’re sharing? What can we show you? What’s possible there. So to share in that element, what’s possible. So that we’re plant always thinking about planting seeds, generating new ideas, seeing what’s possible that maybe wasn’t possible before. So we give our sponsors a chance to share from that. And then there’s the innovation showcase, which does have a totally commercial element to it, which are the ones that they are vetted by BlueTech by their analysts and the BlueTech team and their show, the most promising water technology going forward. And so there’s opportunity for them to interact.
We do an innovation showcase where they get to, you know, talk, it’s all designed. They get to talk for a minute pitch, their case study, and then there’s a round table. So people can go and interact with them and learn more and understand what their needs are, where some partnerships might be. So the entire two days is really built around inspiration and then practical working relationships.
Where can we radically collaborate to make a huge impact to move towards that regeneration lens? So that’s been thought about through the entire design of the program.
Antoine Walter: If I keep my devil’s advocate hat on for a minute, I’m just looking at the program right now. You have, I mean, you mentioned there the keynote speaker. And honestly, it’s just impressing the lineup you have there. I mean, from middle Halterman which said he would be on that podcast, but I didn’t catch yet.
Maybe I catch him in Vancouver, too. Gary Wyatt You mentioned the startups and that is an exciting field. You mentioned he gets commercial, but at the end of the day, and during a one-minute speech from a company, which is at the pulse of what’s happening out, there is more of a deep dive into a fascinating area, then something really commercial, but, and nothing against activated carbon don’t take me wrong, but let me stand with my case. Chances are, if I’m in the business of activated carbon, I’m not a starter because that’s existing four decades. Chances are as well. That’s, I’m not a superstar at like mental Halterman how do I fit in such an event?
Annyse Balkwill: Sure. But you’re also needed in the solution just because activated carbon it’s been around a long time. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a place in the water industry has a huge place in the water industry. And so coming hearing about those thought leader, round tables, You know, and the innovation showcase, they’re really sharing, where are we going in the water industry?
And I think that activated carbon company or individuals, they have a voice at where it’s going and they have a voice about how they can help and how they can participate. And they might form a new relationship with a partner that they never even thought to talk to them, but because they ended up at the same round table, you know, there’s a bit of a serendipity in that is that you get to decide which round tables you have choice.
Right. So withdrawn tables. Do I want to go to, and then who else is interested in these round tables is a perfect recipe for starting a new relationship, starting a new partnership, maybe talking to someone about being a potential new client or vice versa. So I think that. There’s a place definitely for everyone in the water industry at an event like this, because it’s going to take new partnerships, new collaborations, new relationships, new ideas to really carry us forward, especially at the rate that we need to move at.
Antoine Walter: You mentioned serendipity. And that is a very interesting one. I recall the conversation I had with Annette boss from Aquatech when we were at Aquatech and she was mentioning that to her, there’s only one word to to fit everything they tried to do at Aquatech. And that was serendipity.
I get the concept, but when I look at the definition of serendipity, which I looked up in Wikipedia, which I already did at Aquatech in front of, and it it’s an unplanned, fortunate discovery, which brings me with a riddle. How do you plan the unplanned?
Annyse Balkwill: I think that’s sort of what we do at luminous. And I think BlueTech has these elements as well, is that we plan for those unplanned. We don’t know exactly who’s going to show up at BlueTech forum. But we have created topics, themes, ideas. We have this cool future scenarios, visioning workshop that’s sponsored by Kamira and really inspired by their future scenarios report.
I don’t know if you’ve read that, but it’s a really interesting piece of work that they did that has inspired us again and again. And so we’re going to do a visioning session around things that really matter things like. An a water optimized city. What does that look like in the future?
What does an optimize water basin look like? And who’s participating in that and how are we getting there? We’re going to have some people from the 50 liter home coalition there. So what does a 50 liter home in Vancouver look like? And then we’re going to leave that for the city of Vancouver to just fuel some of their ideas and their conversations about their planning going forward.
What do we want to do as an industry to bring messages forward to. You know, the United nations water summit in 2023, or to cop 27, how do we stand up as an industry and really share more as we need to be doing? So that visioning session is really going to start having people discuss what’s in that future.
And I think that’s how you plan the unplanned. We have no idea what people will create. We have no idea who’s going to go to which sort of visioning session that they want to be at, which one will they participate in? And the people in the room won’t know who’s going to be there either. And so there’s all this design for some serendipity to happen for something unexpected to come out of, you know, something that we’ve thoughtfully planned.
Antoine Walter: Let me try to do an exercise. We’ve been discussing a bit now back and forth. And how you plan all of that, I guess. As I mentioned, we are in the vape real that’s the point in time where the opinion of people might crystallize on the show, they will attend and they probably cannot attend all of them.
If you had to nail it down to two arguments, only two, what would be your two arguments to go to BlueTech forum?
Annyse Balkwill: I think that the level of thought and interaction that you’ll have those meaningful discussions I think is not replicated anywhere else. I think BlueTech just really has this long history of making that really meaningful. And then I also think that with a few of the elements that we’ve designed, including that visioning workshop, I’m sure that you’re going to leave BlueTech forum saying I’ve never done that at a conference before.
I think you’re going to leave with that memory of it being unique. It being really meaningful, hopefully a bit transformative. And you’re gonna leave with a memory that I don’t think you’re going to forget.
Antoine Walter: So that was the positive side of it. It’s good reasons to go there. When I was discussing with Balsam some month ago, he mentioned how he craves the work of Seth Godin. And what set cutting is saying in his various marketing books is that you have to be quite exclusive on your super fans.
They have to, I mean, it’s more excluding the ones which are not really your people and really concentrating on the ones, which are your people. Hence, that’s kind of we have question I would have, which is if you have something to tell people, And to help them not to go to BlueTech forum thing which we should make the decision.
If they feel that, then that is not for them. What would you say?
Annyse Balkwill: Well, I think there’s always the personal element. So personal life has to sort of Trump these decisions, I think. And so if you have something going on in your personal life and a lot of us have a lot going on right now that needs your attention, I would say choose your personal life and, you know, take a care of that first.
But from a consequence perspective, I think if you’re, if you want to go to a conference and you want to sit and just take in information and not really participate and not engage and that’s okay because sometimes we just want to go somewhere and we just want to learn a bunch of information. And I think there’s a great reason for that.
Then BlueTech, you know, four might not be your favorite conference to go to, right? If that’s your intention, but if your intent, you know, so if your tension isn’t to connect participant. You know, really engage for a couple of days. Then you know, then you can just choose a different one.
Antoine Walter: So we need to have some Headspace. You only need to come with your brain already full with whatever should take you somewhere else. And you must be ready to given the concept, which is that you will be participating in you. You’re going to be experiencing this, I guess, radical collaboration. It’s in the name.
I have two additional elements. One from the discussion with Annette’s boss in Aquatech. Because I was asking her if she was thinking that would be like a hybrid Evans, like aquatic is physical, but there’s an online Evans. And to me, she would obviously answer.
Yes, of course. And it was the exact opposite. She said, no, there’s no. Live Evans at all. No, no online thing. You’re whether in Amsterdam or you’re not in Amsterdam, but there’s no, in-between, what’s your position on that?
Annyse Balkwill: I think depending on the purpose of the conference, depending on the size of the conference, I think that you could build a hybrid conference if you want it to. I think that it takes a bit more thought it takes a lot more planning. But I think if you wanted to engage a global audience, even if it’s for just a portion, you could do a thoughtful design around that.
For BlueTech we were decided early on that we’re going to be. You know, gathering and BlueTech, you know, there’s probably 250, 300 people there. There isn’t thousands of people. So for us, the whole point of the in-person made sense to just keep it completely in person. But I think for larger events I think you will start seeing a bit of hybrid.
I think that?
there will be elements that you can share. I think that there’s, you know, keynote speakers that you could stream live or they could sign up for maybe it wouldn’t even have to maybe be live, But you could sign up for something that you could get post conference or there’s, you know, I think that you’re gonna see more and more of that, so people can grab some pieces out of it.
So I think you can make it both work depending on your purpose and goals for it.
Antoine Walter: But given the shape of BlueTech and what you intend to do there, it’s going to be physical. It’s not a hybrid.
Annyse Balkwill: It’s correct. It’s not a hybrid. You have to be there. Yeah.
Antoine Walter: Which leads me to my second question. You know, there’s this saying, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I get the live events, the element, but you know, I’m podcasting, which means it’s non-linear. And I intends to be in Vancouver at BlueTech forum. And I’m wondering if I start telling the World about what happened in Vancouver catching some opinions of people, making a summary of whatever am I somehow breaking the magic of whatever you want to build there?
Because what happens in Vancouver doesn’t stay in Vancouver anymore because I’m sharing the.
Annyse Balkwill: and I don’t think anyone wants it to stay in Vancouver. I think that if there’s going to be some exciting elements coming out of BlueTech forum, and I think we want other people to know that just because they couldn’t make it in person, there’s an opportunity for them to participate in belong as we move forward with some of those new.
Antoine Walter: Okay. I guess that’s in line with the name of a lighthouse awards there’s lighthouse in the elements, which means it shall be shining towards the word, I
Annyse Balkwill: Yes. That’s.
Antoine Walter: about sense.
Annyse Balkwill: Yes, exactly. That’s what we’re aiming towards is that even if you can’t come, it doesn’t mean that you can’t participate down the road.
Antoine Walter: in all honesty and transparency with you, I was already very hyped about Bluetick forum and you managed to make me a bit more hyped, which is an interesting concept. In French we say counting the Dodo, which would be like the nights I’d have all the sleeps that have to wait for it, but in a childish manner.
Annyse Balkwill: Jeff though, family is French and so my Dodo was always, you know, time for Dodo.
Antoine Walter: I like to come back to what I’ve put in the fridge a bit earlier, this element of leadership. So you mentioned that you’re working on the BlueTech forum preparation since October. And you’ve been working before on the BlueTech round tables, but whenever you’re not doing one or the other, you are helping leaders and you inspired one more question.
W when you mentioned this element of these 20/80, and that the leaders will have to give away and the low people to speak in again, I’m taking it from the devil’s advocate angle. Do you meet people that resist that and say, no, I’m the manager of the team at the end of the day.
I’m the one in charge. Don’t bother trying to reduce my power.
Annyse Balkwill: Yes, but they haven’t usually actively sought me out. So, so usually the leader that I’m working with knows that they’re ready to allow the organization to grow more or allow their team to grow. And they’re just, they’re not quite sure how to do it. And they know that leadership is changing and there’s a push pull, right?
There’s a there’s people who are trying to really grasp on to control and the more chaotic the world’s gets the harsher they want to control because it’s, we think it feels better. Right. So there’s that sort of reaction. And then there’s what happens when we start to release control and what happens when we start to really empower our teams and.
Decisions closer to the customer. And do we believe that we’re all trying to fulfill that same purpose? So they’re usually there, they understand the need to sort of go down that route. And they’re not quite sure how there might be members of their team who are quite resistant to it. And so there’s this fine sort of delicate path of continually meeting people where they’re at.
And we don’t have to have someone jump from where they’re at to 20 steps ahead. We just, where do they want to go? And so each person, even if they’re resistant, you get curious about where do they want to go, right? You just engage with them. Well, what would feel better to you when we talk a lot about feeling what would feel better?
And when we’re practicing those hopes and fears over time, we start to really understand what’s causing some of that. And there’s solutions in unraveling that you can start to see those solutions start to emerge. So it’s not so much a fight or, you know what, you must do it this way. I say, no, let’s co-create together where you want to go.
So let’s, but let’s just be conscious of it. Let’s not do it from default. So there’s usually this practice of moving from their default mode to their more, consciously desired mode. And I just help them find some ways to move in that direction and then to allow others to do the same.
Antoine Walter: And do you do that one-to-one with the leaders. Do you do that with the team? How do you.
Annyse Balkwill: I do a little bit one-to-one but we primarily work as the team. And so we, I teach them how to I’ll facilitate some meetings, whatever we always do it through the lens of the work at hand. So I never want to be meeting with someone on this like leadership stuff. I want to say, no, what’s the work at hand.
And then let’s tend to the leadership stuff as we do the work. And so it’s always meant to be around something super productive. And we just work in that. We just show different ways that you can access new ideas. And the first time I did this and my background, I’m an engineer too. So I was trained just like everybody I’m working with.
And I tend to work with technical people because I think there’s just an attractor field there. Is that when I was working with a company and they were working on their, the next idea for this product that they have. And they had already had two brainstorming sessions and they came up with nothing.
So they were really worried. And this was just after I met this person in the basement and someone said, Hey, can you help facilitate this conversation? So this is when I was still at GE. And I said, yeah, you.
know what? And I have this like new way to do it. So we did it. We booked three days the whole thing.
And what we came out with at the end of that was 15 concepts to present to senior management. And four of them became fully funded R and D projects. And so it was. we didn’t have any ideas. We just didn’t know how to create the conditions for those ideas to come out. So I work in the team so that people can see that see evidence of it, build their own evidence and then increases their willingness to practice some new ideas and to shed some of the old default modes that they had simply because, you know, we go to crappy meetings, our whole career, and then we like get promoted to the person that runs the meeting.
And then we just run a crappy meeting because that’s how we were taught to run them. It’s not really done on purpose. And so understanding when we need to co-create what do we do when we need to inform what do we do? And then understanding that when we decide consciously, whether we’re informing or co-creating, we’re building trust when we’re pretending to co-create, when we’re really just want to inform we’re eroding trust.
And so we just take them down a more conscious path of how to. You know, engage with their teams and how to engage with their business units.
Antoine Walter: don’t know if if you know that book, but to me it was a transformative experience to read it. It’s called creative confidence. It’s written by the Kelly brothers. One of them was the head of I’m terrible with names today. So it’s going to be difficult I’ll put it in the notes of the episodes, but it’s about Design Thinking, but also the creative approach and the way.
If you believe you will not be able to do it, then you will not be able to do it. And then you have that G case where you can be brainstorming and just have that white sheet and whatever. And that’s exactly what you said actually about this weakness and vulnerability and saying maybe the first idea is shitty and it’s fully okay.
And maybe the 20 first ideas are okay. And it’s still okay, because then you get your creative muscle working and then you can start just really brainstorming and not just thinking what will they think if I come with that weird concept. So.
Annyse Balkwill: And you can only do that in an environment that’s psychologically safe and that there’s people who are practiced at no judgment.
Antoine Walter: He was the head of ID. I’m sorry. It’s just the way my fuzzy brain works today is like, I get to figure out the answers to my own questions, like 20 minutes. So you, if you’re still with me in 40 minutes, I’ll find you the name of the speaker I was referring to
Annyse Balkwill: Perfect.
Antoine Walter: when I froze. Sorry, it didn’t intend to catch you.
Annyse Balkwill: No, that’s okay. But so there’s these conscious practices as leaders that the world is ready to embark on and people can feel it and where you’re just having people going first. And so we tend to work with the leaders who want to go first and we just help them. Co-create the path that is authentic to them.
That is actually taking them to their desired state of leadership. Instead of some of their default modes that they feel are no longer serving them, the business, their team, their customers,
Antoine Walter: I would have two last questions for you in the deep dive. The first is what is the mission of the LuminUS group? What do you want to achieve?
Annyse Balkwill: Oh, that’s a great question. We are a purpose-driven business And it’s really all about helping people learn how to connect, how to have meaningful conversations, because we know it’s in that space that our future is consciously decided instead of subconsciously created. So we want to teach the world how to have meaningful, brave, vulnerable, real conversations about, you know, well, I think about water but really about anything.
Because that’s where their genius lies. That’s where their wisdom is going to take us forward.
Antoine Walter: And what’s your metric for success with regards to that goal?
Annyse Balkwill: we have so many In every facilitation that we do, we have a closing circle And it’s often stated in that closing circle, the metrics come from a leader, who’s texts us and says he won’t believe what my team did. They’re so awesome. You know, cause they’ve released control. And so they come and all of those I mean they’re sort of measured, but they’re tangible ways.
They’re stories that come back there’s you know, I have one client who I adore and the work that they did and the skillset that they built really led them on this really powerful transformative journey. It was a four year journey and we don’t know that right out of the gates, but they come back and they share those stories with us.
And so we know they’re using those skillsets again and again, to work the magic in their own space and their own industry with their own.
Antoine Walter: And so my second and last question. Here, I award you a joker and I’ll tell you why. I couldn’t help, but notice that you were a woman. I started that, that podcasts now, 84 episodes ago with the intention to be a 50 50 show. And I failed miserably.
Annyse Balkwill: the water industry
Antoine Walter: time I counted and I decided to stop counting, I was at 85 15, which means I’m even below the water industry standard, because if I’m right by the latest numbers it’s 17% of women in the water industry.
And you’ve been quartering, a book called woman let’s rise, and I know it’s not a manifesto for a woman to, to be there. It’s more giving them positive reinforcements of examples of what they can be doing in life. And I’m just wondering. What are we doing wrong? Are we doing something wrong so that we don’t tap into half of the talents out there and only get a fraction of all that potential?
Annyse Balkwill: Yeah. This is a really important question. And I think the pandemic has shed a lot of light on this, to be honest, I think that the way we’ve thought about work traditionally has really been through a masculine lens because that’s primarily who built up the workforce. And we now carry on traditions in our organizations that are like a hundred years.
Right. We still set up the sales team, the way the sales team set up and they have to travel 95% of the time. Well, I’m sorry, but like a working mom can’t travel 95% of the time. Right? Like you have children that mom can’t go. Right. So there’s a lot of things that we do historically simply because that’s the way they S we started doing them.
Right. And you have to remember that corporations, aren’t that old, really the whole grand scheme of things. Right. We’re still kind of new at this whole thing. And just because we got started that way doesn’t mean we have to continue that way. And so just like so many of the systems that we’re seeing crumbling around us, we’re seeing, you know, in the education system, the social systems in so much of the inequity is really.
Not because we’re doing it on purpose. It’s just like how we set it up originally. And our first shot was like, kind of crappy, right? It’s kind of like that first idea was kind of crappy and, you know, we have to really give ourselves permission to go beyond that. So what are we doing wrong? I think what we’re doing wrong is we’re not listening enough.
Think we’re not listening to the needs of our employees. And I think, you know, as we’re talking about, do we go back to hybrid offices? We’re not listening closely enough. We’re trying to grip on to control because that’s what we know and that’s what we’ve done. But I think we really need to listen and get really curious about what do our systems and our businesses really need to look like and how do they need to be set up so that we are tapping into the full wisdom and into not only like male, female, but in all of our. You know, how do we really have more humans at the table with more perspective, with different experiences because that wisdom is really needed. So I think listening is a huge one. We think we don’t have time to listen. It’s not true. I think we’re in trouble if we don’t get listening. So.
Antoine Walter: It’s a brilliant answer. Thanks at all. me just explain why I was three to grant you a joker it’s. It’s unfair that I’m raising that question only when I have a woman on the show, I’m trying to raise the same question when have a male guests, but in all honesty, it’s almost 100 person that, that question shows up when there’s a woman.
It’s not 100% when the, when there’s a man. And it just struck me because you mentioned that we have now three kids at home and that’s quite fresh I may say so. And usually I’m participating in in, in, in June, every year. I’m not dancing, but my wife does usually. And and we are acting this year and everybody was turning to her and saying are you sure you will?
Because you know, you just gave birth and what would we do with the baby? And I’m there on the same scene doing the same thing. No one asked me that. That’s just not fair. And, but, and people don’t think they’re doing anything bad or negative or whatever. It’s just the way things are. But hopefully we’ll get into that element of listening to the needs to, and I guess, even me, if I was to return now to 95% traveling, wouldn’t be ready for that.
I mean, yeah, we have to live with the changes that have happened over the past two years, which is what’s, you’re doing with the conference, which is what you’re doing with whatever you do, and which is also what we have to do as an industry and even zoomed out from that.
Annyse Balkwill: Yeah.
I think the desire to really go back to normal is one that is from a unique, from a particular perspective. I don’t think the majority wants to go back to normal. I think the majority wants to forge a new normal one that works a bit better for more people. And I think we have to co-create that together.
Antoine Walter: Well, that makes for there’s some conclusion to that deep dive. I propose you to switch to the rapid fire questions.
Annyse Balkwill: Oh, sure.
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Rapid fire questions:
Antoine Walter: So in that last section, I’m presenting you short questions, which aim for short answers and not cutting the microphone, but you’ll notice that anyways, if someone is sidetracking, as you would have noticed for the past hour, it’s me.
So my first question would be what is the most exciting project you’ve been working on?
Annyse Balkwill: Well, BlueTech forum is super exciting. And I think I’ve told you all the reasons why, but the reasons for me is that I get to hug hopefully with permission. So many people in June. So that’s, I think the most exciting for me as I get to see people, I’m probably going to be a crying mess when I first got there, because I’m so excited to see humans in person and hug friends that I have not seen and friends that I’ve only made virtually.
I can’t wait to see them. So I promise I’ll ask permission first before I hug you, but I ready to Dole out some hugs.
Antoine Walter: Can you name one thing that you’ve learned the hard way?
Annyse Balkwill: Oh, just one. I feel like all the things I’ve learned the hard way do we learn any other way?
If there’s an easy way to learn, like send it over to me. But I think everything was hard from my engineering degree to, changing careers and deciding to do that. You know, whenever I do the hardest stuff, it equals me in the fetal position crying for a couple of weeks.
I think it’s so that’s my learning process. If you have an easier one, you could let me know. I feel like all the things I’ve learned about leadership yeah, that’s brought me to here. It was all the hard way. Parenting, everything was hard worth it, but hard.
Antoine Walter: Is there something you’re doing today in your job that you will not be doing in 10 years?
Annyse Balkwill: I think that I’ve, it’s kind of been a one woman show for this most part. And I think in 10 years it won’t be that I think I’m going to have a team around me, so I won’t be working solo as much.
Antoine Walter: What is the trends to watch out for in the world?
Annyse Balkwill: So I’m not really the expert to say this, but I have been involved in so many interesting conversations primarily through BlueTech and then through a few of my clients in the water space. And I really think that the holistic approach to water, understanding that it’s super localized, understanding that water base and health and who needs to be collectively responsible, who needs to join, you know, collaboratively to really solve for that, to really serve, you know, the planet and all the humans on it.
I really think that’s a big trend and I hear more and more willingness and excitement to be involved in that. And people who really feel that it’s their collective responsibility. So yeah, that one feels.
Antoine Walter: If you were a word political leader, what would be your first action to influence the fate of the words? What a challenge.
Annyse Balkwill: I think just getting it on the agenda in a real way, you know, regularly, not just as this backdrop. And I think having it as one of the platforms that we’re actually standing on would be the first thing that it actually matters. And we have to really take action on it quickly. So I think working with other nations to really elevate this conversation and to really get into action and start experimenting and start allowing funds to go into that direction that let’s go experiment.
Let’s go figure this out. Let’s tackle these, the toughest hit basins. Let’s turn this around and show some evidence so that the rest of the world can follow in those partnerships.
Antoine Walter: And finally, if you had someone to recommend me that they should definitely invite on that same microphone, who would recommend me?
Annyse Balkwill: Well, I’m thinking of women, of course. So I have two in
Antoine Walter: By the way that’s, that is really something I spotted, which is whenever I have a woman on the microphone, she recommends women, which is awesome because I’m really, as I said, it’s very far from him for my starting point is this, which was that 50 50. So, so thanks a lot.
Annyse Balkwill: So Karine Rouge, She is the new CEO of municipal for Veolia north America. I recommend having a wonderful conversation with her and
Antoine Walter: she’s on my bucket list for awhile.
Annyse Balkwill: well, I can connect the two of you. I know her well. And Kimberly Cooper, psyche from DuPont. She is there. She has a long title. I’m not going to nail it, but she’s really does their communications, their partnerships.
She’s really active in the water space in a really big way. They will both be at BlueTech forum for you to know. And yeah, I can connect the two of you, but she’s amazing and has so much to offer as well. Both of those women.
Antoine Walter: And this has been an incredible pleasure to chat with you of course, longer than you would have expected. I’m sorry, I’ve been French again. If people want to follow up with you, where should I redirect them the best
Annyse Balkwill: Sure, you can find me easily on LinkedIn.
Antoine Walter: and like always links to your website, the link to your web to, to your LinkedIn. That is of course in the show notes. So just have a look I’m looking forward to meeting you in person now at the Bluetick forum because you finalize my conviction that I will be on the other side of the Atlantic.
That’s the first week of June.
Annyse Balkwill: Yes, June 7th and eighth,
Antoine Walter: Okay. Perfect. See you there. And thanks.
Annyse Balkwill: it’s been such a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.