Steve Jordan reflects on the FIDI conference in Cannes as the event makes a welcome return following a three-year COVID-enforced break.
Kicking off a conference is always a tricky affair. Even under normal times, everyone wants to make a splash, get the adrenalin flowing and make a statement. In the past FIDI has employed the services of dancing groups and DJs, Cannes had Steve Lewis.
Now that may appear to be a step back, but not so in my opinion. Steve did an excellent job of rallying the troops in a chorus of Elton John’s ‘I’m still standing’ accompanied by the official FIDI Cannes dance routine that everyone was encouraged to perform throughout the conference. The song was chosen in homage to the FIDI members who, despite all that COVID could deliver, were indeed still standing. It was recorded by FIDI’s own resident musician, Andrew Mavin and was, to my ears, at least as good as anything the superstar could have produced himself.
Ebru Demirel, at last getting the chance to host her own conference as president, said that getting together was like ‘a breath of fresh air after way too long’. She acknowledged that some affiliates were unable to attend because of COVID restrictions and the war in Ukraine, praised everyone for their creativity in keeping their businesses alive, and thanked them for their commitment and dedication. She believed that COVID had made businesses stronger and more resilient.
Derek Duffy, the FIDI Board member responsible for the FIDI Academy, told his personal experience studying with FIDI, then introduced the top students of 2022 putting Diana Martynova from Aspire Mobility and Florine Eikenaar from Meyer Moving centre stage as they were present in the room. He said that the Academy had shaped his career and trained 4000 people online last year. “The future looks bright for the Academy,” he said. The other top student winners were: Brian Varis from William B. Meyer, Lisa Huijgens from De Haan Relocation, and Ella Jones from Fox Moving & Storage.
Jessica Deutschmann, President of the FIDI 39 Club, told how the group had spearheaded the environmental sustainability initiative and presented it to the FIDI Board. This has made huge steps in the last two years. She also spoke of how the 39 Club aims to help the younger generation learn and grow through the exchange of knowledge.
Sophie Lucas, President of FIDI France, welcomed everyone to the French Riviera. The opening session concluded with a tribute to those who had passed away since the last meeting in 2019.
Now, those who have read my conference reports before will know that I like to praise when possible and criticise sometimes. Either way my comments are, I hope, constructive. But this year I had to take a different approach ...
Photos: Ebru Demirel hosts the conference as president (top); delegates attend the welcome reception.