Everyone had their 'mug shots' taken

Everyone had to have their 'mug shots' taken!

Far East feedback:

'Communication is important... although a person cannot expect every party to agree or follow his/her thoughts, with communications, people can still understand and consider each other.'

Kirk Lui, Merchandising Manager

Imago Shenzhen


'I very much appreciate the Imago Seminar. Meeting face to face to know get to know each other better. The most benefit I think is for us to listen more/have opportunity to “ be open” and to speak more English, not just written English. We all had to be brave!'

Queena Peng, Production Controller

Imago Shenzhen

Sales Conference

In May 2014 four intrepid dragonflies set off from four corners of the globe on a mission to share their sales and client services knowledge with their colleagues across the oceans in the Far East. In return they hoped to learn more about the issues our production offices face and join forces to make sure our service is second to none.
The plucky quartet included Amanda Barnett, Account Manager at Imago UK, Ali Wheeler, Sales Director Imago Australia, Matt Critchlow, Sales Director Imago France and Scott Lavelle, Sales Manager, Imago USA.
The week-long event was slightly nerve wracking for those involved in delivering it (no more so than when they saw microphones were involved), but turned out to be a wonderful learning experience for everyone.

Scott shares his experience below – which didn’t get off to a flying start……

Shenzhen May 2014

So I wake up at 5:00 am like I usually do - only today multiple alarms go off. I needed the back up. I needed to make sure I started the day early. I was flying to the Far East for a very important week-long, company sales conference, where I was one of the main speaker’s.  It was 16 hours – 8,000 miles, I wanted to be ready. My flight was in the afternoon, so I had plenty of time – everything was good.

I went to my iPhone, to turn off all of the back-up alarms I had set and check my reminders. To my shock and awe, there was a message from my Flight track App, telling me that my flight left the gate 14 minutes late! What! This could not be! I felt empty and anxious at the same time. I launched the App and lo and behold, the little airplane icon was half way across the screen. I checked, bleary eyed, trying to focus on what had happened. It became clear that I had missed my flight, thinking that 0150 was 1:50 in the afternoon, not 1:50 in the morning.  Who leaves on a 16 hour flight at almost 2:00 in the morning?! (not me evidently) Just crazy!

With a limited number of flights to Hong Kong daily and Cathay Pacific’s customer service only open at 9:00 am California time (I live in New Jersey), I was in a daze, in a panic. Working very quickly, I managed to rebook – this time flying to Toronto first and then on to Hong Kong. Nothing but drama until I got on the plane - that included white-knuckle highway driving, angry customs agents, speeding golf carts and Indian tourists.  In the end I made it. I had an aisle seat with extra legroom.


So now off to Hong Kong, Shenzhen and the conference. Hong Kong was cool, like a big city can be cool, but the weather really hot and really humid. I mean crazy hot and humid, like worse than NY can get. I was meeting 3 other colleagues from different parts of the world. The 4 of us stayed there two days before traveling to Shenzhen. That was where the conference was being held.
The second night, in a hot driving rain, like a “cross-fire hurricane” we headed to the Chinese border. Visas and luggage in hand, packed into an air-conditioned van driven by a Chinese guy who spoke nmenu.jpgo English. The border crossing was a little intense. A lot of eye contact was made, but no words were spoken. The driver was incredibly relaxed. It all seemed routine. In way, he made me feel okay, made me feel safe. We made it through.

Now we’re in Shenzhen. So if Hong Kong was like standing next to a furnace, Shenzhen was like being in the furnace, only everything was wet. A hot mess where the air inside and out smelled like a combination of cheap perfume, stale wet laundry and nicotine. The hotel was gigantic and looked like one you would see on the Las Vegas strip, minus the gambling and the money that went with it. My room had two flat screen TV’s, two bathrooms, an office and a sitting room. I really think that this was pretty much a standard room. The restaurant was gigantic.

Thfood.jpge food that obviously people love and is served with such reverence and care, I found challenging. Let’s leave it at that. We all had some good laughs. You need to be able to laugh at yourself.

(and yes - those are whole chillis)



sign.jpgSo I’m now at the Imago conference, which was after all the whole point of being there. It was great! Between our Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Singapore office we have over 40 people on the ground.

They work with our printers, they work with our clients and they work with us in the Sales offices. The goal of the conference was to talk about how we work and how we can work better to ultimately increase our sales and serve our customers better. Another big part of the conference was simply to get to know these individuals better. With so much distance and time between us, you just don’t have the opportunity to sit across a table and talk.

The FE crew is really smart and it was clear to me that these individuals wanted to up their game. For themselves and for the clients we serve. We got a lot done. We learned a lot about each other and left 4 days later with the stage set to work more efficiently, communicate better, and have more fun doing it.  It’s all good for our clients! They ultimately benefit, which is why we did this thing. I thought it was real success.



We left Shenzhen in a different van, different driver, but this guy equally cool across the border. It wasn’t raining this time, but still humid as hell. We had our temperatures taken with an electric gun – a single dot to the forehead. I guess we were fine, because they let us back in. The next day I flew back to New York. This time I made my flight with plenty of time. In the Hong Kong airport, I dined at McDonalds, where I had a particularly delicious Big Mac and large order of equally delicious fries. I washed it all down with a nice Diet Coke. A little later, I went crazy at Starbucks and had Venti Caramel Frappuccino.

On the flight back, I sat next to a young father and son. In between naps, the boy squirmed and screamed, actually threw up a couple of times. None of it bothered me. I was going home non-stop. I felt good. I felt like I had accomplished something. It was a work accomplishment, but it was also a real human thing, full of emotion. We were 8000 miles apart, but we were still working together as a team to do great work and feel good about ourselves. I was really moved by how dedicated they were. How much they wanted to do a great job. I was also humbled by learning about their lives in China.  It was one of those experiences where you appreciate everything more.

That Monday I went back to work – more aware, closer to the truth and ready to do even greater things.

Scott Lavelle, Imago USA