Setting the scene at the Museum Aan de Stroom

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One of the astonishing benefits of my job is getting to travel to beautiful places around the world to meet with customers and prospective customers at The Premier Business Leadership Series conferences. This year is no exception, the historical city of Antwerp as our backdrop, where hundreds have gathered to explore the latest in analytics. Some of my colleagues and I will be sharing reports about the sessions over the next 24 hours or so.

The opera singer towers above attendees at Felix PakHaus

Last night's opening session started at the Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS). Also known as the museum on the river, MAS officially opened on 17th May 2011 and is now Antwerp’s newest and biggest museum. It was also the venue chosen to start the Premier Business Leadership Series in 2011. After a small hiccup with an alarm going off right at the start; a walking tour of the MAS introduced delegates from all around the world to one of Europe’s most interesting (and under-appreciated) cities. The setting fit well the conference theme of innovation, optimisation and transformation as the city is an elegant mix of the historic and the modern; no more evident than in the enchanting waterfront area. After touring the MAS, we walked for two minutes along the riverbank to the old warehouse district and in to the FelixPakhuis – a wonderful renovation and adaption of old warehouses and a covered street into one of the trendiest spots in Antwerp. A "taste of Belgium" experience (I can especially recommend the chocolates) was complemented by the entertainment and wide selection of dishes available as a "walking buffet dinner." This was also a great opportunity for the delegates to network, catch up with colleagues and peers from around the globe and compare notes about the agenda for the following two days. For me, however, the highlight was the amazing voice of the opera singer who opened proceedings. As a huge fan of opera, it was a delight to hear such a talented soprano entertain our guests.

All-in-all, I would say that the evening’s entertainment helped to cement what a surprising and delightful city Antwerp is and for the 350 plus of us that attended the reception, it really helped set the scene for the conference.

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Peter Dorrington

Director, Marketing Strategy (EMEA)

I am the Director of Marketing Strategy for the EMEA region at SAS Institute and have more than 25 years experience in IT and computing systems. My current role is focused on supporting SAS’ regional marketing operations in developing marketing strategies and programs aligned around the needs of SAS’ markets and customers.

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