Friday, February 19, 2016

Last hurrah's conference week.

180 delegates.  35 or so volunteers and presenters.

Of course, it therefore stands to reason, this is the week I would be dealt a knocked-out-of-circulation blow from food poisoning.

And just when you may be thinking that my recent "Just in time-ness" may have finally caught up with me.

No way Hosea.

"Just in time" may work for many things but for a conference with 220 individuals who need confirmations, receipts, name badges, personal valet attention.... there is no "just in time".  There is nothing but a well oiled planning, system and it better be firing on all cylinders...way ahead of time.

So despite my 48 hours in the belly of the beast I am poised on the eve of conference - weary but ready.

And this is not just any conference.

This is the end of EventAbility.  My dear partner Joyce B and I will hit this one into the bleachers tomorrow, do the usual mop up in the week ahead and then we will close up shop. (Unless we get a lucrative contract in the Bahamas).

What a run it has been.

We have done this event planning thing for over a decade.  From local to international conferences, dinners and symposiums.  We have worked long nights starting when my little people would go to bed and I would start registering delegates.

Oh the delegate stories we can tell.  And the harrowing stories of presenters not showing or being late.  AV disasters. Catering snafoos.  Allergic reactions.

But my overriding memories will be of sore feet and lots of laughter.

Joyce and I would often get take-out after a long day and split a bottle of wine and do a post-mortem of the event.

We have had some wonderful, wonderful days, met some amazing folks, been interesting places, fulfilled directives from clients we could not have dreamed up.   We have also had some very hard days that wore us down - in the last couple of years more so and thus, in the end, the decision to call it a day came relatively easy.  When the joy does not trump the hard work and long hours it's time.  It's time to register one last delegate, clean up after one last catered lunch, write one last report and maybe, instead of take out, one last wonderful meal on our company dime before we retire.

EventAbility bought us vacations and even a car in the good old days when we did multiple events a year and in the last few years it bought summer camp, dental work and a boost to holiday retail.  I will miss that for sure.

But mostly I will miss working beside Joyce.  Such a friend, mentor, visionary, utterly unflappable under pressure, polite and smiling to the end.  JB - thanks for the ride partner, and for being you and working so hard.

We've talked each other off the ledge more than once and more than once caught each others eye across the full auditorium and rolled our eyes ... I think we'll have stories to tell for quite a few years to come.

Thank you.

Thank you EventAbility - my one and only foray in entrepreneurship - we did it.

And now, after one last run through my Night-Before-Checklist and I am falling in to bed to await the 6am alarm.

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