Family for Every Child
fast thinking and flexibility

Uncharted Waters … Winds and Fire

Challenge

This outstanding charity had selected Guatemala to host their annual global conference despite – and because of – this area’s political, social and security issues. Our task was to pull off a seamless event in a country new to hosting such gatherings. However, visa problems reduced our active lead-time from 11 to just six weeks, while a hurricane and an erupting volcano didn’t help matters either!

BEYONDsolution

Difficulties obtaining visas was an immediate headache for many guests, all of whom had to ‘be there’. With just five days notice we solved all the technical issues of screen sharing and linking delegates worldwide through video conferencing – with simultaneous translation in four languages. Even when the city suffered a total blackout on the first day, the service stayed on. Our trusted interpreters also rose to the challenge of one speaker eagerly switching between three languages and another who enthusiastically refused to pause. Lengthy negotiation with the kitchen dramatically expanded their simple pork based, two-page suggestion to a highly varied menu that solved a raft of dietary requirements including Halal and gluten-free. Delegate safety concerns led us to hire less than pristine buses that drew no local attention when transporting guests to Family charity projects.

BEYONDresults

We were able to unobtrusively manage this intense, week-long event thanks to meticulous time and contingency planning, as well as flexible, fast thinking that solved every hitch as it arose. We also faced an impending hurricane as we flew out that luckily diverted at the last minute, plus the eruption of volcano Fuego less than 28 miles from Guatemala city. After that, an impromptu Mayan candle ceremony that sent us racing to shut off all the hotel’s fire alarms was a breeze to sort out! We have already been appointed to manage their next conference.