22 September 2023

Exness talent show: highlighting event excitement and showcasing Exness life

Road to Exness summer festival

At Exness, we value talent and provide opportunities for everyone to show, apply and develop their strong sides, empowering and inspiring people to be their best. These talents however aren’t restricted to the confines of an office building, a meeting room, or a Zoom call. Outside of work, people of Exness still possess amazing talents and have cool hobbies, which we encouraged them to showcase during the 2023 Exness Summer Festival.

Held over two consecutive weekends and across several company hubs, the festival became a celebration of Exness Life in all its glory - raw talent, team spirit, and most importantly, exhilarating fun. Kicking off the annual summer break, the event immersed its attendees in an open-air celebration filled with live music, dancing, exciting workshops, and activities for both employees and their families.

The festival’s highlight was an epic showdown on stage, where gifted Exnessians got the spotlight to showcase their talents and compete for the grand prize - a fully-paid trip to Coachella 2024!

The creative and varied acts spiced up the event and left a lasting impression on the audience! Just like our photographers captured the memories in pictures, our Marketing team’s Copywriter Theresia Clara decided to capture her emotions in text, using her talents to share her personal experience with her colleagues. We, in turn, are happy to share it here, so that you have an opportunity to experience the event through the eyes of one of its attendees.

The blend of food, music, workshops, and talent shows created a vibrant atmosphere that truly embodied the Exness Culture."

Theresia Clara Copywriter in Operations

A lasting impression

Having just attended the Exness Summer Festival 2023 a weekend before writing this, I’m still buzzing - this year’s event was an absolute blast.

Expectation surpassed reality – the Exness Summer Festival was a whirlwind of excitement that left me thoroughly impressed. The Internal Events Team brilliantly captured the essence and vibes of Coachella - the annual music and arts festival in California that inspired our own fest! Our talented colleagues set the stage on fire, making the weekend unforgettable!

Taking place in August, 2023 at the stunning Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort in Malaysia, the Exness Summer Festival was not your ordinary company event. It was a yearly family affair, welcoming employees, their spouses, kids, and partners to join in the fun.

This inclusive festival provided a unique platform for our diverse workforce to showcase talents beyond the boardroom. The pre-festival hype began with an internal online casting, where employees shared videos of their hidden talents on the company Intranet. Finalists were chosen based on the number of likes they received, adding a friendly competitive spirit to the mix.

The venue was spot on, offering ideal weather for a summer festival. Despite a brief rain shower, the skies cleared up just in time for the main events.

Let's rewind and relive the highlights of this fantastic fest.

Reliving the memories

The excitement for the Summer Festival was palpable even on the night before the event. I felt anticipation building as I packed my bag, glanced over my bohemian-themed outfit, and double-checked my camera's battery, making sure it was ready to capture every moment.

Could I truly capture its essence though? Nervousness mingled with eagerness, but Coachella's allure was captivating, and our Events team’s meticulous planning helped me envision the impending splendor. Excitement overshadowed anxiety, promising an unfolding adventure.

I knew the promise would come true as soon as I arrived at the location –  the picturesque Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort, our festival oasis. Helpful ushers and signs made sure I was on the right track from the get-go, and my first stop was at the registration counter to drop off my belongings and pick up my goodie bag.

Exploring the festival grounds

Organization immediately felt spot-on, as a building near the entrance provided proper restrooms and powder rooms, with portable facilities were available on-location for everyone’s convenience - an important feature for big outdoor events. Activities didn’t take long to find either: a nearby two-story building hosted exciting workshops like hair and beauty salons, flower crown crafting, beading, and even Picasso-style drawing.

After soaking in all that creativity, I headed back to the main festival area. There was a giant map to help with the navigation, a vibrant kids' zone, and food stalls dishing out flavors from 20 different regions.

The kids' zone was a hit, featuring an inflatable playground, nap rooms, and breastfeeding areas. They even had pumpkin and broccoli porridge for the little ones. And to top it off, ten certified kindergarten teachers were there to make sure the kids had a blast at the workshops and playground. And happy kids meant happy parents!

The journey to Genting had me a bit worried about the cloudy sky, fearing rain. Sure enough, there was a drizzle at the start of the event. Luckily, my goodie bag had a raincoat and shoe covers! Our considerate events specialist warned us in advance to wear comfy footwear suitable for grassy areas, so I came prepared with anti-slip, waterproof hiking shoes.

Despite the 550 hotel rooms booked, the 100+ staff, and the numerous festival-goers, the space never felt crowded. Interestingly, there were no chairs – just like Coachella, it was all about the outdoor, on-the-go food, and picnic-style seating.

Plentiful beanbags to plop down on allowed me to take a breather at any moment - or I would just lay out my tikar (woven mat) on the grass. There I sipped on ginger ale, capturing memories through photos. Time flies by when you’re having fun, and I sure was, as suddenly, it was already 4 pm - time to rush backstage to meet the contestants.

Backstage jitters

As I approached the talent contestants’ tent, the rain intensified. But as my Russian colleague told me the day before, rain before the event signifies good fortune. And just as it came to a halt, a renowned Malaysian pop and R&B singer Ning Baizura took the stage and kicked off the talent show with a medley of hits to warm everyone up for the talent contest.

Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for had arrived!

The judges were no ordinary folks – we had Ning Baizura herself, dancer and choreographer Fellest Yan Sunshung, and theatre director, actor, and music director Dominic Lucien Luk - all big names in Malaysia within their respective arts.

Talent takes the stage

It was time for the performances. Our finalists represented a very diverse group of colleagues from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Individual Acts

  • Kaish Hasmi (Stand-up comedy)

  • Ali Alfraih (Strength stunt)

  • Alhamda (Dance)

  • Karen Hutcheson (Singing)

  • Muhammad Fraih (Magic routine)

  • Omkar Mungekar (Fire stunt)

Team Acts

  • AmitRao Somkuwar and Gokul Viswanathan (Singing)

  • Eleonie Momo and Abdulwahab Muhammad (Dance)

  • Dat Nguyen Thanh Thu Bui, and RuJin Bai (Dance)

  • Florent Catrevaux, and Patricio Suarez (Singing)

Before each performance, we got a sneak peek into their lives, struggles, passions, and inspirations through interview videos.

These videos were raw and authentic, shedding light on the human side of the contestants. On this day, the stage was theirs to shine, showcasing talents that go well beyond the office walls.

There’s no bias in saying their acts were amazing and entertaining - these weren’t your typical timid performances. They were meticulously planned, blending storytelling, singing, dancing, practice, and incredible costumes. I was blown away, and I'm pretty sure the judges were too!

Our colleagues poured their hearts and souls into these performances, and the crowd's continuous cheering showed unmatched support. What an incredible audience!

Intervals featured two special dance performances, with Fellest, one of our judges, even taking the stage. A big shoutout to Exness for giving me a VIP view of live performances by Ning Baizura and Fellest!

Even being present at the event felt like winning, but the real winners were about to be announced.

Drumroll, please…

The judges named Karen Hutcheson as the Champion of the Exness Summer Festival talent showdown. She received a fully paid trip to Coachella 2024 worth EUR 10,000. 

Followed by the first runner-up goes to Alhamda, taking home the prize of any concert ticket in Europe worth EUR 2,000. Ali Afraih took the second runner-up spot, winning himself a return flight ticket to any destination in Europe worth EUR 1,000.

And finally, the Audience Choice Award voted by colleagues goes to Dat Nguyen Thanh, Thu Bui, and RuJin Bai who received a prize of a hotel stay or flight ticket worth EUR 1,000.

What an incredible night of entertainment! After the fanfare of the talent show quieted down, the DJ continued spinning tunes well into the night. Between snapping more photos and grooving to the music, I eventually made my way to the food stalls, absolutely famished.

I had skipped eating earlier, fearing I'd miss out on capturing moments for this blog.

Thankfully, a few stalls were still serving late in the event, even with desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth. I retrieved my bag from the registration counter and waited for the shuttle bus back to the hotel. Not just any hotel, but the 4-star Genting Resort. A hot shower in a cozy hotel room was just what I needed after a long and eventful day.

Back home

Rise and shine! Time for the journey back home, but first - breakfast. Thankfully, that was also taken care of by Exness: we each received a card worth RM40 for breakfast at the Malaysian Food Street or Jom Makan - or for our own expenses if we chose so.

The blend of food, music, workshops, and talent shows created a vibrant atmosphere that truly embodied the Exness Culture. The festival wasn't just an event, it was an experience shared by employees, their families, and partners, all in a single day.

What a memorable two-day and one-night summer festival! A massive shoutout to Exness and the Events Team (Cheryl Ng, Eric Villanueva, and Wei Xian Lim) for making it all happen. We had an absolute blast!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure and look forward to covering future ones. Exness has shown how to organize a fun, eventful and creative get-together to both take our minds off the daily duties, and to showcase how varied and talented the Exness community is.

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