Assalamualaikum warrahmatullahi wabarakatuh and a Good morning to everyone,
On behalf of CONFEX, I’d like to convey our appreciation and gratitude to Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade for accepting our invitation as the guest of honour. Welcome Your Royal Highness – We are honored to have you with us.
To all our delegates, sponsor and invited guests…Welcome to the 4th Annual Executive Secretaries & Admin Professionals Conference 2015 and congratulations on your recommendation for being nominated to attend this event today.
I’d like to open with a quote that I hope will condition our minds ready for learning – “Knowledge is like climbing a mountain; the higher you reach, the more you can see and appreciate.”
Now, I know the 4th Annual Executive Secretaries & Admin Professionals Conference 2015 is a really long title to pronounce, so let’s just call it ESAP 2015.
You might ask yourselves – Why are we doing this? Well, this week marks the ‘World Secretaries Week’ – A week that is observed and celebrated globally at the end of April to recognize the efforts of both secretaries & Admin professionals. In Brunei, ESAP is the only event that gathers secretaries and admin officers a chance to re-charge, motivate, learn & network with one another.
With this year’s theme, “We work hard. And, we play harder!” our team has prepared a full itinerary that will encourage your career development and growth prospects. Over the next 2 days, you’ll witness exciting topics such as ‘Creating a culture of innovation’, ‘Influential Communication’, ‘Beating Brain Freeze’, ‘Speed Writing’, ‘Attitude Advantage’, ‘Soul Detox’, and ‘The Art of beauty’ just to name a few. These will be delivered by a selected panel of global professional speakers and not to mention, our very own Brunei-based speakers as well. I hope everyone will enjoy these sessions, and in particular, I encourage you to take full advantage of this opportunity to ask any burning questions that you may have at the end of each session.
Your Royal Highness, Invited Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen – I would like to end my speech by sharing with you a story that I felt was appropriate for today’s event.
Here’s how it goes –
A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the company. Instead of choosing one of his directors, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you.”
The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”
One lady, named Annie, was there that day and she, like the others, have received the seed. She went home and excitedly, told her husband the story.
Every day, she would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Annie kept checking her seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Annie didn’t have a plant and she felt like a failure.
Six months went by – still nothing in Annie’s pot. Everyone else had tress and tall plants, but she had nothing. Annie didn’t say anything to her colleagues. However, she just kept watering and fertilizing the soil.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to their CEO for inspection. Annie told her husband that she wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Annie felt sick in her stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of her life but she knew her husband was right.
She took her empty pot to the board room. When Annie arrived, she was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful, in all shapes and sizes. Annie put her empty pot on the floor and many of her colleagues laughed!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Annie tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!” all of a sudden, the CEO spotted Annie at the back of the room with her empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring her to the front. Annie was terrified. She thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”
When Annie got to the front, the CEO asked her what had happened to her Seed – Annie told him the story.
The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Annie. He looked at Annie, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive! Her name is Annie!”
Annie couldn’t believe it. Annie couldn’t even grow her seed. How could she be the new CEO, the others said?
Then the CEO said, “one year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today.
But, I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Annie was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, she is the one who will be the new Chief Executive!”
The moral of the story is:
If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment.
If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
So, be mindful of what you plant now, it will determine what you will reap later.
Wabillahitaufik Walhidayah Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahiwabarakatuh.