Reflexology NI Conference: Behind the scenes

The Reflexology NI Conference Team – from left to right RoseAnna, Andrea and Dorothy

The Reflexology NI Conference 2019 is the first reflexology conference to be held in Northern Ireland and will take place in September, in the beautiful County Antrim.

The conference team consists of RoseAnna, Andrea and Dorothy – three professional reflexologists who love what they do, where they live, and want to share this amazing experience with you.

The team has organised an inspiring list of speakers including:

Hagar Basis
Ziggie Bergman
David Wayte
Jane Sheehan
Susan Quayle
Sam Belyea
Louise Brogan
Arno Schouwenburg
Dorothy Kelly
Nuala McKeever

There is also a drinks reception and gala dinner.

I am delighted to interview the team to see what really happens behind the scenes of conference planning.

Q: As a fabulous team of three reflexologists, where did you meet and what was the lightbulb moment which made you decide to plan a conference?   

Dorothy: We are fortunate that we have all known each other for quite some time.  It has always been something I wanted to create to help raise the profile of reflexology in Northern Ireland and I have talked about it for several years and mentioned it to Andrea many moons ago.  Our light bulb moment was at the UK conference where all three of us were attending, when we made the commitment to each other to make it happen.

Q: How long have you been planning the conference and what has been the biggest challenge for you?

Dorothy: Planning started immediately we returned from the UK Conference in March 2018, and it hasn’t stopped.

Q: Planning any event takes a considerable amount of time to organise, how are you juggling this alongside your own reflexology businesses?

Andrea: It has certainly been a huge challenge, especially as I have been expanding my own business and have recently opened my training and wellness centre in Coleraine, which along with the conference has always been a lifelong ambition.

When embarking on this journey, I think we all underestimated the time and dedication required to bring such a huge conference to Northern Ireland. However, we have an amazing team who have all pulled together to make this event possible and it will all be worth the hard work come September! 

We have monthly meetings, but this alone would never be enough. We communicate daily and have realised the importance of managing our time to be able to keep on top of all aspects of the conference.

Dorothy: I’m afraid because I work full-time in the NHS, and part-time in my treatment room, when I see clients late afternoon and evenings and teach the Level 5 course in Belfast and all that that entails, I burn the midnight oil when it comes to any admin work for the conference. 

In between all of that I love catching up with RoseAnna and Andrea for our conference meetings on a regular basis when we can bounce ideas off each other for progressing the conference forward.  In between meetings we do lots of conference calls, messages/texts and voice messages on WhatsApp which keeps everyone up to date with current developments.

RoseAnna: I have been proud to be a part of the fantastic team we have for organising the conference. It has been very challenging trying to juggle my daily therapy business, doing the level 5 reflexology course and all the organisation that the conference has entailed. Certainly my house, my garden and my social life have taken a back seat for now – but hey, I can make up for that next year – until I take on the next new project!

Q: What have you learnt about yourself and each other during the planning process?

Andrea: We have all got our own individual attributes that we bring to the table and these help us work well together. Stepping outside your comfort zone can be daunting but that is how we all grow and evolve. As we have all done this, we are now bringing this inaugural Reflexology Conference to Northern Ireland for the first time which is a huge achievement for everyone involved. Personally, I have come to recognise my strength in communicating my passion and enthusiasm for reflexology in order to create new business connections which benefit the conference and encourage many people to book to come along to what will be an unforgettable experience.

Dorothy: More patience, commitment, good communication and time management are needed in monumental amounts to keep everything flowing .

RoseAnna: I have learnt that I can cope with the pressures thrown at me and I have learnt the real importance of communicating clearly and effectively with the team – for support, advice and help.

The advantages of having a very strong team cannot be undervalued. Being flexible and being organised are key. It has been a huge learning curve for me dealing with businesses, people and processes.

An important concept has been to ask for help if we need it and if you don’t ask you don’t get! It has been a great step out of my comfort zone but I have no regrets and I am so glad we are bringing such an event to Northern Ireland.

Q: If a reflexologist hasn’t attended a conference before, what can they expect, and what can they take away with them which will support their business?

Dorothy: Primarily networking with old friends and making new friends; knowing that there is always someone there to support you, sharing techniques, learning new techniques and tips to develop or promote your business and being part of a wonderful energetic and shared experience. The opportunity to chat with the speakers will be available to everyone over the weekend as we are all together for the conference and the gala dinner.

Hopefully, everyone will have great food and fun, creating everlasting memories over the weekend and during the gala dinner.

RoseAnna: And there is no better place to hold this amazing conference than in the beautiful town of Portrush on the North Antrim Coast with the long, sandy beaches full of positive energy and beauty.

Q: The gala dinner sounds incredible, please tell me more about it? Will guests need their dancing shoes?

Dorothy: The gala dinner is planned to create lots of fun, laughter and joy as the night goes on.  We can’t reveal much as we don’t want to spoil the experience for everyone.  Dancing shoes are welcome for those who want to dance the night away or for those who wish to spend time soaking up the energy of the evening on the sideline that’s fine also. 

Q: Do you have any surprises planned for the conference weekend? Any exclusive news?

RoseAnna: We have a good few surprises up our sleeves for the weekend so don’t miss out on being there and being a part of this wonderful event.

Some of the speakers have exciting plans that they will be announcing for various events. We can let you in on the exciting news that David Wayte will be back teaching in Portlaoise this October and he will be teaching again in Canada in the not too distant future,

Also Hagar Basis is celebrating 30 years as a Reflexologist and has a wonderful tour arranged this and next year including Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Argentina, and of course will be back in Ireland next year. The speakers will let everyone know their exciting plans over the weekend.

Q: and finally, but very importantly, how do you relax and unwind from conference planning?

Andrea:  I find it difficult to take time away from work, with juggling my busy practise and new centre. However, I try to take time out on a Sunday to walk my dogs on the beach or meet friends for coffee. I also spend whatever time I can each day listening to audiobooks by Dr Wayne Dyer and other inspirational speakers, which allows me to relax and puts me in a positive mind-set for the day. I am currently typing these answers in the south of France while on holidays with my family, helping me to recharge my batteries before the few busy months ahead leading up to the conference. And of course regular reflexology appointments are an integral part of my self-care!

Dorothy: As part of my weekly wind down I go for facial reflexology each week to help me chill and prepare me for the week ahead which I love – it’s addictive. When the opportunity arises I like to spend time with my husband relaxing, going for a meal and catching up with my son and his partner as they prepare for the arrival of their first baby which is all quite exciting for the family.

RoseAnna: To help me unwind I like to head out into the countryside for a walk with our dog and whenever I can I head for the beach – my go-to place to calm and refresh.

Thank you to the Reflexology NI team for spending the time to talk to me, wishing you every success for your fabulous event.

Kelly x

If you would like to book a place at the conference or would like to learn more about the speakers booked please visit the Reflexology NI Conference website.

You can also follow the latest conference news on Facebook: Reflexology NI Conference.

Reflexology NI Conference

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