I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the work hard, play hard mentality is deeply embedded and very much alive in Flightie culture… so it should come as no surprise that Global Gathering is the key incentive at FCTG. Today, Global Gathering is the most important event on the FCL calendar and is the perfect mix of play, inspiring content, and recognition of our people.
What may come as a surprise to some of you, particularly to our novices, is that this year marks the 30th year for Global Gathering and it was not always a 2 days event! So how did it all start?
Originally named ‘Global Ball’, the first Global Gathering took place in 1987… on the Gold Coast! It took 11 years for the Global Ball to be hosted overseas with the 1998 Global Ball in Hong kong.
Since it’s inception Global Gathering has been hosted in some truly amazing locations; including Las Vegas, Thailand, Sydney, Bali, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Singapore, Dublin, Barcelona and Hawaii.
The Global Ball was a Saturday night ball celebrating team achievements. Whilst it has evolved significantly over the past three decades to become a 2 days event we all grown to love, the Saturday night dinner remains the pinnacle of Global Gathering. After all, Global Gathering is all about our people and recognising their successes. In fact, in those 30 years, we recognised over 2,700 best consultants from around the world.
“Both back and front end consultants compete together to achieve extraordinary results. They do this through an atmosphere of competition, recognition and reward to gain a spot at the event of the year….hopefully (if I have done my job properly) the event of a lifetime!.” said Kerry-Anne Walker.
The Global Ball got a name change in 2003 and became Global Gathering. This year was also a key milestone for Saturday night entertainment with the first ever ‘big name’ act: the Village People took centre stage. Over the years the likes of Groove Armada, Jason Derulo, Scissor Sisters, Cindi Lauper and Jessie J have graced the stage.
For Louise Schweikert (Creative Director who worked on 13 Global Gathering), the standouts have been Pitbull in Cancun who performed an “amazing and dynamic show”, One Republic in Singapore whose show was “first class. Pure Talent!” and Fatboy Slim is at the top of the list for “always being a crowd pleaser.”
In 2007, the Global Gathering took place in Dublin and this year marks the first Saturday morning conference. Global Gathering became more than just a celebration and Bob Geldof was the first ever keynote speaker. The Gathering conference has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings and has grown into an event of its own. These days, it is part conference, part rock concert and is the perfect platform to inspire our people, communicate the FCTG’s business vision and launch company-wide initiatives.
Another thing that may come as a surprise for our novices is that the Friday night party is fairly recent in Global history. The first ‘official’ Friday night was first held in Hawaii in 2008. But it wasn’t until Vegas in 2010 that this really took off with a toga party at Caesar’s Palace pool….. Two of the most memorable Friday night events were held in Singapore: the 2012 beach party in Singapore and also last year’s Flight Fest at the base of Marina Bay Sands featuring Basement Jaxx and Peking Duck.
Returning for the first time to Hawaii, there’s no doubt that the opening of this year’s Global Gathering is going to be the Friday night of a lifetime!
From the pictures in this blog post, I think it’s safe to say the team aren’t exaggerating when we say it’s been getting bigger and better every year! But I couldn’t wrap this blog up without asking Louise for her BEST Global story…
Now, many an MC have also graced the stage, with the likes of Rove McManus and Hamish & Andy all getting multiple gold stars from Louise and other GG attendees. But the one that stands out the most? Lenny Henry!
”He called me to his dressing room with a problem. He refused to go on stage because he had a hole in his sock. Of course, ha ha, I thought he was kidding, but his stony faced response made me quickly realise that he was deadly serious. ‘URGENT… THIS IS NOT A DRILL… I NEED A PAIR OF BLACK SIZE 10 SOCKS BACKSTAGE…. NOW!!!” was the call over our comms.
“Within seconds, our Technical Director, Mario Valanti had ditched his shoes, torn off his socks and a runner delivered the slightly previously worn socks to me backstage!
“Lenny was placated. The show went on. To this day this remains one of the funniest, weird things that has happened. Oh, also, Richard Branson poured a bottle of water over Lenny’s head on stage that year too!”