Soda Intern Isabel Leeming recently went on an adventure with our Head of Operations, Rachel Adams, to the Blackbird Ventures Sunrise North Island Conference. In this first-person blog find out what she learned from the incredible speaker lineup.

A few weeks ago, the Soda team sent Rachel and I on an exciting opportunity up to Auckland for the Sunrise North Island Conference.

I cured my 5am wake up with a big cup of coffee and was off like Bilbo on an adventure.

I was stunned when Rach and I arrived at the ASB Waterfront Theatre. Entrepreneurs buzzing everywhere! The powerful hum of the founders and CEOs sharing their insights with one another reminded me of a beehive.

We found our way into the theatre where we were introduced to our first speaker, Melanie Perkins, one of Canva’s Co-Founders and CEO. I learned a lot from her speech, the insight I thought was most valuable was how we can easily compare our ‘behind-the scenes’ to another’s highlight reel.

Our day was action packed with valuable insights and gave us both chances to broaden our understandings of all-things-entrepreneur.

We got to hear unique stories from Brianne West - Founder and CEO of Ethique, Shama Lee - Founder and CEO of Sunfed Foods and Tama Toki - Founder and CEO of Aotea. We heard witty banter between Sam Gribben - Founder and CEO of Melodics and Rowan Simpson - Founder of Hoku and Co-founder of Trade Me, John-Daniel Trask - Co-founder and CEO of Raygun and Serge Van Dam - Investor and Board Member of Raygun.

The final speaker, Jodie Fox, delivered a powerful mantra, “be yourself, trust yourself, stick to your gut”. She spoke of her experience with building Australian fashion startup Shoes of Prey that collapsed into liquidation in 2018.

Her new book Reboot: Probably More Than You Ever Wanted to Know about Starting a Global Business was a gift to the audience and is a fascinating read.