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Event review: Acumen Convention 2023

This post is written by Co-Women member, Carrie Swift, Founder and CEO of Fearless. Fearless™ provides world-class training for confident communication, helping people become influential communicators and fearless leaders to reach next-level performance at work. Carrie recently appeared on Management Today’s “35 Women Under 35” list which celebrates Britain’s brightest young business leaders.

Year on year, the Acumen Business Convention pulls it out of the bag, with an event that flawlessly covers every aspect of what a business networking event needs to be a raging success. This year’s event was held once again the Grand, on Brighton sea front on a beautiful sunny day in May, welcoming over 300 business managers from East Sussex and the surrounding areas. With a blend of high-profile speakers, dynamic networking opportunities, and flawless execution, the event delivered an unforgettable experience that left a lasting impact on everyone who attended.

A warm welcome

The day kicked off with a burst of energy as we were greeted by the Acumen brand's iconic zebra mascots who escorted us into the conference room. Yes, you heard that right—zebras! They perfectly embodied Acumen's distinctive and innovative approach to legal support. With tables beautifully adorned and wine chilling on ice, the scene was set for an exciting day ahead.

Inspiring keynote speakers:

The convention featured an exceptional line-up of keynote speakers who shared their expertise and personal journeys. Penina Shepherd, the CEO of Acumen, delivered an inspiring TED-style talk on resilience and the power of ‘grit’, igniting the entrepreneurial spirit within the room. Perry Power, charity founder and child abuse survivor, delivered a hard-hitting speech about speaking out against abuse, leaving the audience feeling moved and empowered to – in his words, ‘own their own story’. Susan Peyton, Founder of 'The Business of Stories,' told us all about the importance of storytelling in business, and Rachel Watkin, the founder of Tiny Box Company and Dragon's Den's most successful entrepreneur, shared her wisdom on building resilience as a business leader and harnessing the power of visualisation.

Breakout sessions:

Following a delicious (and dare I say.. boozy) lunch, attendees headed into breakout rooms with a range of speakers covering different topics relating to business growth and leadership. The session I attended was led by Martin Reilly, author of 'The Business Jet Engine,' who shared his insightful analogy on how to power up a business using his jet engine framework, providing the audience with practical tools and strategies to drive their businesses forward.

Networking opportunities:

One of my personal highlights of the convention was the "threesome networking" session where attendees participated in rapid networking with rotating groups of three. This unique format enabled participants to pitch their businesses to over 30 individuals in small groups, helping us to make meaningful connections and expand our networks in East Sussex and beyond.

An inspiring finale:

The convention closed on a high note with a keynote by Charles Rolls, the Founder of Fever-tree drinks company. His personal story of how Fever-tree became a leading brand served as a testament to the power of perseverance and innovation. We finished the day with a relaxed "wine-down and networking" session, where Co-Women members enjoyed drinks, engaging conversations, and sunny beach views. With 13 Co-Women members in attendance at the convention, we certainly made our presence felt in the room!

Overall, the Acumen Business Convention 2023 was a great day for all attendees. The stunning venue, delicious food, and high production values, from the brochures to the commercial ad breaks, showcased Acumen event team’s meticulous attention to detail. Will I be attending next year? I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

To learn more about Acumen Law and their innovative approach to legal support, visit their website at:

To learn more about Carrie Swift and Fearless, visit:

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