BWCA conference and trade show this week

The British Water Cooler Association (BWCA) annual conference and trade show takes place this week at the Nottingham Belfry and complete with a prestigious line up of speakers, it promises to be a thought-provoking event.

Keynote speaker Debra Searle, who famously rowed solo across the Altantlic in 2002, will address guests at the conference themed The Journey, a title taken from Debra’s book.

Keynote speaker Debra Searle

The conference will be held on the morning of March 8, while the trade show takes place in the afternoon. A gala dinner will be held in the evening.

Phillipa Atkinson-Clow, general manager of the BWCA, said: “Each year our trade show grows in strength and in the number of exhibitors attending. The conference is always at full capacity and has become firmly established as the key annual event in the UK water cooler sector. It provides an opportunity for the industry to network, but importantly also for those procuring and managing coolers on the customer side to see a showcase of the best companies operating in the sector. We couldn’t do this so successfully without the generous support of our sponsors and so we thank each and every one of them”.

Debra Searle will be sharing with BWCA members the highs and lows of her Atlantic row and her strategies for success.

She said: “When I was alone on the Atlantic I developed a whole toolkit of mental strategies that helped me to keep my oars in motion.  Back on dry land, I became completely reliant on these strategies as tools to achieve success in my businesses and in day to day life.”

Phillipa Atkinson-Clow, general manager of the BWCA

She went on to say: “A study into the behaviour of top performers found that 15% of their success can be attributed to their skill level but 85% is down to their attitude.  I believe that if we can tap into that and start to proactively choose our attitude, then we can achieve more than we ever dreamed of, whether that be in our businesses or for personal goals.”

She added: “Employing these tools and techniques has changed my life and my businesses forever, and I hope they can for you too.”

Debra first hit the news headlines when she set out to row across the Atlantic with her husband.  Unfortunately, he had to be rescued so Debra, a novice rower, continued alone and rowed 3,000 miles from Tenerife to Barbados.

It should have taken them six weeks but, to achieve her goal, Debra ended up spending 3½ months alone at sea, encountering 30′ waves, sharks, and force 8 squalls in her 23-foot plywood boat.

Since returning from this adventure, Debra has gone on to undertake solo and team expeditions across the globe; has launched companies; and is a published author and broadcaster. Debra says: “When you choose your attitude anything – absolutely anything – is possible.”

Other speakers at the BWCA conference will include Karen Wells of Zenith Global, revealing the latest industry market data; Phillipa Atkinson-Clow, general manager of the BWCA,  talking about her 25 years at the helm of the Association; and Brendan Hanlon, from Just a Drop, celebrating with Members the Association’s continuing efforts in support of his charity in bringing clean water sources to villagers in Africa.

The master of cCeremonies at the event will be the BWCA’s recently-appointed Chairman, Jon Wicks.


New for 2018 will be a fund-raising activity for delegates: a Batak Wall. This game of skill involving hand-eye coordination will help raise funds for the Association’s chosen charity, Just a Drop. In addition, as has occurred for the past two years, a highlight of the gala dinner will be a charity auction in aid of Just a Drop.

As well as hearing  from Just a Drop’s Brendan Hanlon, the BWCA will be announcing details of the next project in Africa to receive funding, so transforming the lives of yet another village which previously had no access to clean, safe water.

The BWCA has also announced a record number of  sponsors of the 2018 conference and trade show. The sponsors, with the segments they are supporting, are as follows:

  • Pureflo – conference
  • Crystal Mountain – trade show
  • Waterlogic UK – registration portal
  • 4 Aces – gala dinner
  • Nupik-Flo – keynote speaker
  • Database Workshop – charity auction
  • BWT UK – Chairman’s welcome supper
  • H2O Direct – conference lunch
  • Cosmetal – Batak wall
  • Bericap UK – signage
  • Calomax – Casino