Tag Archives: IAVM

Joy best expressed in person

Pardon me while I take a few minutes of your time to share with you the obligatory post-conference glow post.

Before settling in to write this, I read through past post-conference posts. I 97% certain that they make up a collection of my favorite words. Some were reflections of life changing moments spent roaming the streets of Manhattan. Some were spent intently listening to every word shared with me while sitting in on panel sessions because the world outside was far to hot and muggy to even think about exploring. Some were spent trying to relive what I’m sure other 22 year olds were doing while I was studying music history and force feeding my brain French in college.

One conference saw me post a brave tweet, meet future mentors and be asked to write an article for an industry publication.

All were pretty fantastic.

This is where I pause. Actually, to be quite honest, this is where I find myself facing a huge speed bump and not knowing how to get over it.

I am so at a loss for words that truly have the meaning behind them that I intend. This past weekend saw my 5th VenueConnect conference with IAVM (my 7th conference/meeting with them if you include some sector specific and region meetings… then add Venue Management School on top of that). Not only was I fortunate enough to attend, but I had the honor of playing event manager for the host venue (Oregon Convention Center, in case you haven’t been paying attention). I was 2 parts excited and 14 parts nervous approaching the event. On one hand, I’m confident in my skills as a manager and didn’t expect any issues. On the other, I adore this organization and the people in it and the last thing I wanted to do was be at the helm if something fell through. If you’ve ever planned an event of any size, then you know that anything can fall through no matter how much planning, review, double checking and work went into it. Those of you who have ever worked in an environment like I do where there are what seems like 42 people planning these things, then you know it’s almost inevitable that something will fall through.

Guys… not a single thing fell through. Oh sure… things changed… surprises came up… but everyone adjusted. No complaints. No screaming matches in the back halls or behind office doors (if you knew me back in my Arkansas days then you knew I’d either witnessed these a few times or unfortunately, were dragged into them once in a while – screaming just meant we were passionate about what we were fighting for… right?).

No problems.

Not a single one.

I work with a team of people who made magic this past weekend.

While at dinner last night with an old friend from Arkansas, I was able to brag a bit about my new workplace and coworkers. I wanted to gush about them the entire time. I spent the entire weekend with colleagues from across the country but ended each evening spending time with my coworkers. We ended one night at Spirit of ’77 over beers and honest conversation, we spent one evening eating one of the best meals I’ve had since moving to Portland and ending up at the Moda Center where we had more beers and brutally honest conversation and then ended the conference letting loose and again, enjoying beers and laughter at P’5 while we listened to great music and enjoyed the summer breeze.

I’ve spent the last day reflecting on this.

Just over a year ago I was starting my new job in Portland. I was sure I wanted the job and wanted to move but it took a few months to really let go of any hesitation I had about making the right decision. My work environment was extremely different from my previous job. I went from working with mostly women (and not having the best relationship with some of the men I worked with – unfortunately those men sat in some key roles for my future at the venue) to sitting on an executive team where I was the only female and the youngest member of that small group of people.

Would they respect me? Would they be patient with me as I learned my new job? Would they include me? These questions ran through my head a lot and left me exhausted at the end of the day.

And this is where that speed bump comes into the picture. I don’t quite know how to express the joy that my job and coworkers bring me on a regular basis. I just don’t have the words. I thanked my boss today. Just walked into his office and thanked him. I thanked him for the opportunity to work at the convention center. I thanked him for being patient while I figured things out. I thanked him for dropping everything to listen when I needed to talk about a frustration or success.

And then I went back to my office and cried. I’m so happy. It sounds ridiculously sappy but it’s true.

I feel like one of the luckiest people out there. This past year has brought me so much joy. My new home… my new marriage… and the best job in the world.

Lucky, lucky me.

Disclaimer: there were some magical times spent at my previous job. They allowed me to grow, work the Superbowl, attend Venue Management School and I had some fantastic co-wokers there. However, if you’ve been following my blog through the years, you knew I also faced what felt like impossible tasks during my last couple of years there. Things change, that’s inevitable – my frustrations were simply a result of change that I wasn’t best suited for. Thankfully life allows you to adjust when you need to and Portland was just the adjustment i Needed.

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N’awlins

Whew!

I just flew back to Portland after a whirlwind trip to New Orleans for the annual IAVM conference.  It was my 4th VenueConnect and I feel that I finally have found my groove.  People know me, I know people, and I can make it through an entire conference with only 1 nap.

Just 1 nap!  Incredible.

Normally I’m excited about a conference because of the networking and educational opportunities.  This time, however, the location sat at the top of my list.  I 100% adore New Orleans.  It’s hot, muggy, smells a bit swampy (yes, I claim it’s swampy) but it is hands down the friendliest city I’ve visited.  The people there just love music, gulf seafood and hospitality.  Okay, okay, maybe they like an adult beverage or three.  But seriously, friendly is something they excel at.

It takes a while to truly start to see the heart of a city.  One trip there isn’t going to reveal such a treasure.  Two trips, maybe… maybe on the third time.  Maybe.

This time it took 4 visits for me to finally start to feel the vibe of this historical and culturally rich location nestled in the curve of the Mississippi River.  Well, 5 if you count the time I went there when I was 12 (but I don’t).

The first time was in 2008 – just a few years after Katrina.  We stayed in the French Quarter, went to a couple of concerts and I just about died from what I refer to as humidity suffocation.  I don’t think that’s a real thing but let’s roll with it.  It was a lovely trip but stressful.  I was with a lot of people and with a lot of people come a lot of decisions that aren’t up to me.  It was a good intro to New Orleans though.

The 2nd time was for a day before a cruise with my sister.  We dined, saw a few sites and then left.  Just like that.  Trip over.

The 3rd time was also for a cruise but the sweet boy and I went down a few days early.  Again, it was the typical tourist trip in the French Quarter, but something started to settle in me.  I was extremely disappointed to leave the city.  It called after me as we sailed down the river towards the gulf.  The jazz danced through my ears for days.  Memories of kicking back with a bloody mary and oysters stuck with me months after the trip was over.

I started to really love that city.

This last trip solidified it.  I played tour guide for a few coworkers who had either never been or had only been once.  I told them about the places I’ve visited as if they were old friends.  We ventured out to Frenchman to find some good music like it was something I did every Monday night.  I didn’t need a map to find where I needed to go.  I told the stories that define the history of the region as if I was writing a text book.  I also applied hot sauce to everything I consumed as if I was born on the bayou and raised to hunt muskrat.

Yes, I really love that city.

It’s a city of resilience, of love, of good times, of laughter, of sharing, of music and it truly is a good time.

So, what are you waiting for?  Pack those bags and head south!  You know you want to.

Did you come here looking for more info about the conference?  I hope I didn’t disappoint.  I’m sure I’ll blog about the networking and professional stuff later.  This post had to come first, though.  I can’t shake it.

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