This was my first time attending the Imagine Your Workplace Conference. As a Your Workplace staff member, I knew what to expect in advance, yet I was still surprised by how different this event is compared to other conferences. It offers a robust program featuring truly unique experts, a high level of interaction, physical activity, fun outdoors, not a speck of white food anywhere, and, given the botanical garden location and profusion of blooming spring flowers, smells better than any conference I’ve ever attended.
In the morning, we were immersed in rapid-fire Lightning Talks. In the space of a few hours we got the lowdown on transformative volunteering, a failed mentorship program, a new perspective on work culture, chronic illness, the Yukon’s new dispute resolution process, a very personal account of how to talk to someone in crisis, and text analysis (and, yes, we know what that is now). We learned about the connected generation and the digital workplace, and, in a longer feature presentation, how to combine high-tech with “high touch.”
Just when everyone was starting to shift in their seats a little, we moved outside, curbing any possibility for restlessness. The sun warmed us on the slightly chilly morning as we strolled through the picturesque Toronto Botanical Garden in groups. We got to know the people in our groups quite well as we moved from station to station, completing problem-solving challenges.