Frocking up in Alice Springs

Two years of staff working harder than ever during the global pandemic saw the entire ICMS Australasia team taken away to Alice Springs in July for a part-reward, part-development experience.

With significantly increased workloads, along with travel restrictions in place during 2020 and 2021, the staff Conference was postponed until 2022 when ICMSA owner and Managing Director, Emma Bowyer, put to the vote a potential destination for the get-together.

A unique and contrasting Australian setting was sought in order to fulfil both professional and social experiences. Alice Springs and the Northern Territory was the winner.

Attendees at the Conference included ICMSA’s senior and junior meeting and event planners, web designers, communication specialists, administration and finance staff – 27 in total.

The Program’s business sessions at the Alice Springs Desert Park and Alice Springs Convention Centre included the sharing of the company’s strategies and future goals as well as a series of brainstorming workshops on secured upcoming conferences. Collectively, staff came up with over 1,000 new ideas designed to add value and enhance events for ICMSA clients.

The `reconnection’ between staff was creatively and effectively achieved over the four days through workshops and a range of extra-curricular activities including a private viewing of the Alice Springs Desert Park’s renowned facilities, including a bird show, an Aboriginal dot painting workshop by Ayeye Atyenhe Art, and a group camel ride in the desert.

A true highlight was an early morning hot air balloon ride. Arriving at the balloon launch site in pitch desert darkness the group was excited to watch the two balloon envelopes rise with blasts of hot air from the fiery burners. At first light they were up and away as the sun slowly peeked over the majestic MacDonnell Ranges, drifting over the desert landscape.

Another engaging group activity was at the Alice Springs-based social enterprise, Purple House. The facility provides important kidney dialysis services for Aboriginal patients in the NT. ICMSA staff participated in the making of traditional Bush Balm®, which Purple House sells to assist in funding its work.

The four-day program was topped off with a Priscilla Queen of the Desert themed dinner at The Old Quarry – an outdoor space surrounded by sheer rock walls. The group sipped cocktails as the sun set before sitting down to an artisan style outback dinner followed by dancing and entertainment from a local rock band.

ICMSA Owner and Managing Director, Emma Bowyer, said the decision to take the entire team to Alice Springs was not made lightly.

“The experiences and opportunities we have now all shared together will stay with us forever,” she said.

“Alice Springs and the Northern Territory is a truly unique and quintessential Australian destination, aligning perfectly with our own corporate values.

“I highly recommend it as a destination for an incentive or a meeting for groups small or large. We spoke to Northern Territory Business Events about our Program and they provided excellent guidance to us on all elements.” ICMSA is considering a short-list of two destinations for its 2023 Staff Professional Development Conference.