2016 has been a great year for me… sorry about the rest of the world (cannot decide: smiley or sad face?)
It started in April, when I spoke for the first time at an international research conference – The QRCA Worldwide Conference in Vienna. After years and years of attending international conferences (it started in 2003, at another QRCA International event), and being too shy or self conscious to submit a speaking proposal, I finally did it. I don’t think I could have chosen a better conference to make my debut – because of the people, who made me feel so welcomed, appreciated and encouraged. As I have learnt, this people-to-people approach is a distinctive mark of QRCA.
Then, I felt encouraged to submit a speaking proposal for the ESOMAR Global Qualitative conference in Berlin. Guess what? It got accepted! Speaking at this conference had been a dream of mine for many years, as this was one event I had attendended most often (7 editions, since 2006) and I had so much admiration for the speakers and their intelligent views on the business I was thriving in. To motivate myself to submit a paper proposal I had established this secret goal: to be the first Romanian speaker at this conference. Every year in which I would pass on the opportunity to submit – I was opening the conference programme slowly, with fear: will this goal still be on my bucket list, or not? I guess I was lucky enough, because I had passed on many opportunities 🙂.
However, the year I finally decided to try to get in, I got so much more than I had bargained for: I also received Best Presentation Award, via the vote of the 200 attendees. Which is something I never dared to dream of (trust me, I would have dressed much nicer on day two if I have had any suspicion I would be back on that stage). I cannot be modest here (I know some of you have heard enough of this in the past 2 weeks) – I simply feel like this is the highlight of my career so far (my 17 years old career – OMG, I’m old!). Not just because of the prize, but also because of the appeciation that the content received (a content that is very dear to me, on which I have been working for the last year and a half and that now will be applied in various forms, bits and pieces all over the world – some of it by myself🙂 ).
But this is not all! One week before leaving for Berlin, I learnt that I had also won the QRCA Global Scholarship, which will allow me to be present in Los Angeles in January 2017, for the QRCA Annual Conference – which I expect to knock me off my feet! And now I lose my words to express how I feel about all this…
One more thing I have done this year. In the midst of all this, not knowing (yet) all the goodness that was still to come, in September, I took a leap of faith. I have always been on my own in the past 12 years, as a business owner, as an entrepreneur. Now I decided to try out the independent consultant’s position. I work again under the brand of Anamnesis, as it perfectly embodies my commitment to qualitative research and qualitative thinking. Other than that, I don’t run a business anymore, but am part of a network. I work again with the Anamnesis people – just that they are not my employees or suppliers anymore, they are my informal associates. Just as I still work with the reliable Mappers people, just not as business partners or employees anymore. We simply work together.
Can you believe the year I’ve had?