A Maori haka, Katherine Grainger: the most decorated female GB Olympian, mind games. Welcome to Simplyhealth Professionals Dental Conference 2017
Once every two years Simplyhealth Professionals invites its member dentists to its showcase social event, the three-day Dental Conference. For 2017 the Conference was once again hosted at the prestigious London Hilton in Syon Park. Good food and good company are always hallmarks of the proceedings; as are education, entertainment, and colourful social evenings.
On Friday 8th September an estimated 150 dentists and their families were welcomed by Simplyhealth Professionals’ MD Caroline Coleman. She outlined how the weekend was to be linked to Newcastle’s Great North Run – a half marathon completed by some 60,000 people making it one of the world’s largest sporting events – and for which the company is the title partner. On Sunday 10th delegates were invited to don their complementary pedometers and take part in the Great Run Day, an activity initiative designed to get people moving for improved physical and mental health.
Caroline also lauded the success of the 50/50 Partnership scheme; and the soft launched ‘Voyager’ program of flexible payment plans. She mentioned obesity and sugar addiction as just a few of the challenges facing every aspect of healthcare in the UK, and said Simplyhealth Professionals will ensure it has the facilities in place to help member dentists face them.
Finally Caroline congratulated Director of Dentists, Sandy Brown, on his 25th anniversary with the company.
However, that was not the beginning of conference. Before Caroline had spoken a single word delegates had streamed into the Hilton’s great ballroom. They had studied their itinerary for a packed few days, they knew what was coming. Or so they thought. They were expecting the day to start with Caroline’s welcome followed by a prestigious guest speaker. The empty stage glowed with light and an expectant buzz filled the air. This was a civilised place, a place filled with people waiting for gentle discourse and insight. Then they were jolted in their chairs by thundering voices, and the stamping feet of warriors shattered the calm. Four half-naked and traditionally decorated Maori tribesmen stormed onto the stage where they performed a full haka to the delight of all.
The Maori spokesman, who claims a father from Northern Ireland, gave a welcoming speech in his native tongue, during which the only recognisable words were ‘Simplyhealth Professionals’. Then he converted to accented English and bantered in hilarious form, providing the history of his tribe and his opinion of the ‘greatest rugby team in the world’ the All Blacks. He concluded by bringing his audience to their feet to perform – and sing along with – his tribe’s haka. It was a rousing beginning to the day, and one no-one will forget. The Maori parting message? ‘Never get so big that you forget how to do the small things that matter.’
Dame Katherine Grainger DBE
Who would have believed that Britain’s most successful female Olympian could hold the stage like an inspirational stand-up comedian? Delegates took Dame Katherine Grainger to their hearts thanks to her self-deprecating wit and immense charm. Striding backwards and forwards across the stage Dame Grainger explained that rowing – for which she has five Olympic medals, including four silver and one gold, – was not her first choice for team sport at University. She wanted to be a juggler.
As a child she had once, and only once, gone out with a rowing mad uncle and took the oars for the first time. Her uncle later told her mother that she had a daughter who had a natural flair for the sport, that he thought she would do something wonderful in the future. She was a natural. When her mother told her this after she won her first medal, Katherine asked why she hadn’t told her before. It would have helped inspire her to even greater effort. No, dear, said her mother. He was talking about your sister.
Her success, she said, depended upon determination and teamwork. It was about tapping into something vital at a human level. At Sydney 2000 Katherine and her rowing partner were the first British women to win a medal for rowing in the history of the sport. Four years later, in Athens, all eight women in the GB team won medals.
What made the difference? Katherine explained: Little differences add up to make a big difference. If you can’t make the big change straight away make the little ones that move you forward. One day you’ll find the big change will have happened and then you can move on to even greater things.
She won her gold medal during the London 2012 Olympics. As they neared the end the roar of the crowd was so loud they couldn’t hear the signal that told them they had reached the finishing line. The sound vibrated through the water so they couldn’t even feel the airline set to fire bubbles along the finishing line which told them they were done. They rowed an extra 10 metres before discovering they had come first. To come first in front of a home crowd, to win gold, there is, she said, nothing else like it – nothing in the world.
Next: So, you think you’re a multi-tasker? Think again.