This year, MATTER grew up: at the double-whammy, two-day event in the sunshine at The Source and brought to you by Tourism Australia, the hot topic on everyone’s lips was about how to develop not only your business, but also your soul.
Far from the stuffy, four-walled conference rooms abhorred by high-spirited free-thinkers, PUREists arrived at MATTER on Sunday afternoon to discover (with glee, we might add) that they’d be bringing their work into the great outdoors.
Doing away with suits and ‘go-go-go’ mindsets, instead they took the time to stroll around in their flowing, boho-chic attire, exploring the paradise that is The Source – this year’s MATTER venue. Breakout zones nestled among an abundance of greenery were discovered via winding gravel pathways; stylish chill-out areas were the perfect spot to lounge on plush Morrocan rugs and cushions; and the audience at the main stage floated in the sunshine on inflatable swans…
TAKE TO THE STAGE
Warming up the main stage came the fast and furious SPARK talks, where the bravest of our community put their conciseness to the test with a five-minute, 15-slide presentation timed to move on automatically – not for the faint-hearted…
Day one saw MATTER’s first two keynote speakers throw the speech etiquette guidebook out of the window. Nothing was conventional about Coss Marte, the ex-convict who transformed himself into a fitness guru, or Wim Hof, a.k.a. The Ice Man, who both entertained and touched the audience with their extraordinary stories. There was laughter following an audience-participated push-up demonstration from Coss, and delegates surprised themselves with their ability to hold their breath under Wim’s instruction.
On day two, Taylor Conroy took to the main stage to deliver a game-changing speech that proved you really can have the best of both worlds. He inspired an ‘everything-is-possible’ attitude amongst the community, showing how you really can make a difference to the world, while also turning a profit.
CREATE YOUR OWN AGENDA
In the main hub, the energy was palpable as the crowd surveyed the schedule and added to it, in true un-conference fashion. With a packed two-day lineup across 17 rooms with names like ‘Sydney Harbour’ and ‘Agincourt Reef’ – a nod to our friends at Tourism Australia, without whom none of this would have been possible – and over 30 speakers, the main problem PUREists faced was the difficult decision of what to choose…
There were 40-minute LEARN talks given by accomplished individuals from outside the travel industry, who imparted their wisdom to delegates reclining on beanbags and wicker seats. With topics ranging from F&B to the LGBTQ travel market, how to make sustainability sexy to how to drive your bottom line, there really was something for everyone.
DISCUSS sessions, where a session leader presented a topic before opening it to the floor for input and debate, offered an opportunity for the community to get their teeth stuck into an issue that’s important to them and glean insights from their peers along the way. One group we overheard were particularly engaged with the question, ‘What scares you the most?’
New this year were the Wellness Workshops, as we encouraged PUREists to develop not only their business, but also their soul. Spread across an outdoor kitchen table set amidst a vegetable garden and The Source’s luxury spa, sessions on everything from vegan cooking and permaculture to meditation and psychotherapy encouraged delegates to understand the importance of both physical and mental health, as well as how to incorporate the increasingly poignant concept of ‘wellness’ into their business.
Meanwhile, 90-minute ACHIEVE sessions saw intimate groups of PUREists join in interactive masterclasses on anything from PR, to Instagram, to alchemy. We’re reliably informed that ‘The Wizard’, Andrew Wallas, sparked more than one tear as he tapped into PUREists inner selves and encouraged openness and sharing – what a way to bond!
Over in the Screening Room, a Q&A with Wim Hof saw the room fit to bust on day one; then day two saw the official launch of Amanda Ho’s documentary, Big Life. Even movies are educational at MATTER!
Throughout MATTER, live sets by The Three Birds added to the buzzing, festival-like atmosphere; then we wrapped the un-conference in style with a surprise act from PURE’s very own crowd-sourced band! Cue percussion instruments being handed out and PUREists (Wim Hoff on guitar included) shaking, banging, clapping and strumming to the beat as the sun fell from the sky, taking to the dancefloor, almost certainly not for the last time this week. All this, and only two days in – we hope you’ve brought your stamina, PUREists.