Teaching Core Agility Concepts in Sweden: Reflecting on the 2024 GRC Conference in Stockholm

Teaching Core Agility Concepts in Sweden: Reflecting on the 2024 GRC Conference in Stockholm

Last year I had the pleasure and honor to speak at the IIA's international conference. That was my first time in Europe (the event was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands - check out my previous post on that experience here), and I loved it so much, I couldn't wait for my next international trip.

Also in attendance at that event was Stina Nilsson Kristiansson from the IIA Sweden, who reached out to me and asked me to speak at the organization's 2024 GRC Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. We quickly agreed on the terms, and I couldn't have been more excited for the opportunity. In the months leading up to the event, the event coordinator, Emelie Cheng, kept me informed of key details (times and locations of my sessions) in a timely manner. She did an amazing job coordinating everything, answering my questions, and making sure I was set up for a successful trip and event.

Leading up to the event, I also kept my presentation materials current with the latest insights on Auditing with Agility and prepared a workshop, customized to meet my client's needs. I had a call with the event's MC and another call with the event coordinator and other representatives from the IIA to ensure the sessions went smoothly.

Finally it was time to fly to Stockholm for the event. My mother in law came to our home to stay with our son, so my husband could travel with me. (Thank you, Bobbie!) We packed our bags and headed to the airport. I tend to be the person who gets to the airport a full 2 hours before my flight (thank you, anxiety), so my husband played along and settled in for some quality time at the CMH airport. The flight consisted of three legs (CMH --> DTW --> AMS --> ARN). While we left on a Monday, we arrived Tuesday. Thanks to an unexpected Uber adventure, we didn't make it to our hotel until about 4pm that Tuesday. After a quick shower, we headed to dinner at a nearby restaurant that specialized in homemade traditional Swedish dishes (Bla Dorren). The Toast Skagen and Deer Meatballs were EXCELLENT! Then it was time for bed.

The next morning, I enjoyed breakfast with my husband and headed to the Münchenbryggeriet event center. After months of emails back and forth, I finally met Emelie in person! Then I took the main stage and delivered a presentation on auditing with agility that was well-received by the audience.

With that complete, and my next session not scheduled until the following day, I walked back to the hotel to drop off my things and meet up with my husband. from there we walked toward the Royal Palace, searching for a place to fika along the way.

We ended up at the Grand Hotel, where the doorman, who was wearing a full tuxedo and a top hat, informed us that the hotel's coffee shop was closed for the season. He the proceeded to direct us to the hotel's champagne bar for coffee and pastries. Although underdressed, we enjoyed delicious lattes and quality time connecting. From there we went to the Royal Palace. When travelling abroad I love experiencing things we can't experience in America. We toured the palace, including the treasury (which houses the crown jewels) and the armory (which houses armor and weaponry dating back to the 1500s). We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the city on foot - my favorite way to experience a city.

The next day jet-lag set in, but I fueled myself with a delicious breakfast and a few lattes and headed to the World Trade Center building to host my workshop. Full of nerves, I had the pleasure of catching up with Sara I James before the event. She coached me on viewing my nervous energy as anticipation. With that, my sparkly shoes and I headed to my assigned room to set up. Participants began trickling in as lunch drew to a close. I kicked off the workshop and spent over three and a half hours working with and learning from the participants. I was blessed with an engaging group of professionals that asked thought-provoking questions, challenged me, and shared their own experiences. We played games to practice concepts in a fun way, laughing and learning together. We did a case study and had great conversations. The time flew by. I had SO MUCH fun with the workshop attendees. the primary topic of the session was feedback loops, and the group practiced what they learned by providing me with feedback on the workshop. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with a large majority of the participants indicating that they would strongly recommend the workshop to someone else. Participants also provided insights on what they liked about the workshop and advice on how to make it even better. I can't wait to take their advice and implement their feedback on my next workshop.

As ambivert, I used all of my extraversion during the workshop, and my introverted side needed time to recharge. So I went to dinner with my husband and turned in early for bed. Although it was a relatively short trip overseas, it was so worth the effort. Sweden was great, and the GRC conference experience was just as good.

Thank you Stina and Emelie for bringing me to Stockholm and giving me a platform for sharing how to audit with agility with your organization! It truly was an incredible experience.

Views or opinions expressed here are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.