We Survived Hurricane Matthew

 In Attract more Students, Build a studio people LOVE, Get more done in less time, Student Retention, Uncategorized

This Studio Masterclass will forever go down in history as ‘that time we ran an event in a category four hurricane!’

I’ll confess that the LAST THING I EVER EXPECTED was a hurricane when I flew out of Sydney to Orlando Florida.

Studio Masterclass Orlando USA


The day before the event, the forecast was rather dire.  The Weather Channel ran outstanding coverage of the category four storm.  (By the way, as someone who doesn’t watch TV, The Weather Channel is seriously compelling TV – I was up to 1am waiting for their latest updates!  Couldn’t turn off the TV!)  

But their predictions didn’t hold back on the rapidly approaching storm.    

“Floridians:  People will die.”  

Nerve-racking to say the least.  

To know that I had responsibility for these wonderful clients, whom I care about so deeply was something I took very seriously.  We had SEPers travel from every corner of the USA, Canada, Bermuda – even New Zealand to attend the Masterclass.  

The hurricane was predicted to strike between 9am and 12pm on Day one of our Studio Masterclass.  We had already had two incredibly inspiring days with our Studio Evolution private clients, with dozens more flying in for our 2 day Studio Masterclass.  

The evening before Masterclass, tensions were high.  All the local restaurants had shut due to a curfew that had been instigated to get people off the roads and safe in their homes.

So, instead of having everyone spend their evening glued to the anxiety-causing reports of the Weather Channel for the latest movements, I thought we should have a Hurricane Party!

Studio Masterclass Party Studio Masterclass Reception



We came together to feast and drink wine, a sign of solidarity before the storm.  With chocolate, cheese and champagne – nothing ever seems so bad.  

Overnight, we filled our bathtubs with water in the chance that we lost power and there would be no way of bathing for a few days.  (I tell you – when you’re getting prepared for six days of presenting, you never think of the possibility you won’t be ABLE TO SHOWER!)  

We woke to strong winds but thankfully, the storm headed east instead of west, leaving us safe!

We joked about getting t-shirts made…



Hurricane aside – this was one of the BEST Masterclass events we have ever hosted.


“I felt so alone as a studio owner. It’s dog eat dog, you can’t talk to the studio down the street and I knew I needed help. I needed the connection and the community. My favourite part of the weekend has been connecting with all of you and sharing freely and openly because we’re not fighting against each other, we’re all in the same boat.” – Polly Schill.


The connections, the sharing, the level of conversation, the transformation – this was an incredible room to be in.  

There is one thing that’s for sure – the people who were in the room were some of the most dynamic, passionate and committed studio owners in the industry.  

One of my favourite pieces of feedback came from the brilliant Polly Schill.  She shared in our Closing Ceremony that this was the BEST conference she had ever attended (even after a career in sales and marketing) because here not only did she learn, but she WORKED.  

Every single person in the room came ready to give their best.  They created marketing plans, quarterly strategies, workshopped challenges and brainstormed solutions as a team.  

Studio Masterclass Orlando



“This was above and beyond what I ever expected. I don’t feel like I’m wandering in the road with this, I feel like you’ve given me the equipment I need. I have my tent, I have my lantern, I have everything I need to survive. I feel equipped, encouraged and that expectation to step into excellence is now back. -Marcy Lee Beal


It was so beautiful to see the level of confidence blossom over two days.  

Studio owners challenged their perception of what was possible in their studio – thanks to the insight of other studio owners, they now had easy solutions to problems that had been plaguing them for months!

While the hurricane may have been hounding the walls, inside was a haven of creativity, support and encouragement.


Studio Masterclass Orlando 

“This is so different to any other studio development program that I have read about or partaken in. I am impressed by the level of connection that starts from the top with Chantelle, you know every single one of us in this room, you have talked to every one of us many times all the way through.” – Lisa


Sadly, Hurricane Matthew caused widespread damage throughout Haiti, the Caribbean and Eastern seaboard USA. Hundreds lost their lives and the recovery time will take years and cost billions of dollars.

We are so grateful that we were safe and dry together.  In a strange turn of events, while we never in a million years would have predicted these circumstances, it did bond us together in a beautiful way.

I am incredibly proud and grateful for everyone who banded together to make this Masterclass a complete success.  

THANK YOU to Kelly Doe – for negotiating with last minute printers and creating our incredible Studio Evolution brochures.

THANK YOU to Alice-Margaret, Mindy and Tracy – for being the greatest on-the-ground support team imaginable.  

THANK YOU to Michelle Hunter – for being on the phone at 2am Aussie time demanding hotel management find a room for me to ensure that I could be onsite for the event and not be stranded at our AirBNB.

THANK YOU to Theresa Case – for being my right hand woman and angel at this time of challenge.  You were by my side at every moment, being a pillar of strength and giving so much support to our beautiful guests.  Words cannot describe how thankful I am that you were with me.

Studio Masterclass Orlando


“Every time I come there’s  different things I pick up. I would encourage all first timers to no think “Oh I don’t need to go, I’ve already done this.” This time I could digest things differently from being alone and overwhelmed last time. Now I’m even more focused and more determined.” – Alison Woodbury


This Masterclass will go down in history as the one where we united together to have the chance to remember what is REALLY important.  

How we design our studios and our lives is how we live our life.  These two days were a powerful example of designing your studio on your terms.  That’s what truly matters.  

We celebrated a momentous two days with the sharing of commitments and the vision for what is driving us forward.  And there’s nothing like a surprise dance with a hurricane to crystallise that vision.  


“Being able to link arms and share each others successes and challenges was very encouraging. I feel like I’m no longer just an island out there. It was nice to have the camaraderie.” – Robert Jamison 


Studio Masterclass Orlando

Rarely do I look forward to the 16 hour flight from Dallas to Sydney. This was an exception – I slept for 11 hours straight (after a glass of champagne – never has relief tasted sweeter).

Oh – and the other lesson I learnt was from now on to avoid doing events in Florida during hurricane season. These are things that the girl from down under needs to know – seriously!!  USA friends – please warn me next time!!  

We’re going to host our next Masterclass in Scottsdale in April 2017.  Nooooo hurricanes there.  

Thank you to everyone who made this event UNFORGETTABLE in every possible way.  

ALL my best,


P.s If you were one of the dozens who had their flight cancelled or were not able to travel to the event, we will reserve you a special seat at our next USA event in April next year.  Please reach out to [email protected] and we will be sure to take care of that for you.

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