Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Big Fat Greek Week

Monday morning I woke at 6:00 AM to finish my conference presentation. I was scheduled to present about 40 minutes away at 1:30 PM. I finished the presentation at 12:15, showered and hit the road by 11:45 AM. While I drove I panicked, "There's no way I'm going to make it!" until I pulled out my iPhone to see where the closest parking was and GLORY BE!!! I was actually scheduled to present at 1:40!!!

I arrived with a few moments to spare, raced to the presentation hall, and even had a few minutes to spare. It went great. I then networked with Pierre from France and Daniel from Israel, then raced home to finish silk screening shirts for our community volunteers who would help out at the booth. After ruining three shirts with the five-color screening and masking on a TINY design, I opted for the one-color version of the more simple design. After a quick trip to the store for replacement shirts, I hurried back home to finish the shirts. Sixteen hours of work later, I climbed in bed.

Tuesday I woke at 6:30 AM and attempted to load chairs, a mirror, an easel, computers, T-shirts, and various other items in the truck for the booth, only my key wouldn't open the lock. I was scheduled to host/chair the developer's conference at 9:30 AM 45 minutes away. Once again, after abandoning the chairs and stuffing all else in the car, I raced off with the panicked feeling: I am NEVER going to make it! While driving I fielded questions and made arrangements at the loading dock for someone to pick up trees for the booth.

I arrived at the conference site minutes before the first session, and briefly networked with a few affiliates. I then set up the AV equipment, introduced the first speaker, and off we went. I sat in front of the speaker with three computers. With one I was recording the session and flipping through the slides for the recording, with the other I was preparing a presentation for the dinner that evening. The third wouldn't connect to the Internet, so I used it to shift some needed files around. I also was corresponding with six or seven panicked individuals via text and e-mail, "A, the files on the flash drives for the Ambassador kits were burned on the drives incorrectly?" "Where can I get a copy of that presentation?" "I can't find the badges to get into the conference center early. Who should I ask for that?" "How do you want the booth set up?"

We had a lovely lunch where we presented awards to the affiliates, and I had a great conversation with my friend from Israel. He had some questions about my faith (he is Jewish), and I was happy to oblige. I then took pictures of the awardees as they accepted their various mementos. After the remaining sessions (carbon copies of the earlier sessions), I raced off (literally) to help with some training in the booth area while simultaneously finding answers to a handful of other questions.

I then went back to get my car, drove to the loading dock, and unloaded several items before hurrying off to find a gift for our principle engineer's wife, Jen, for letting him code on weekends and evenings. I purchased a picture and a Whooey Stick. I then finished the presentation for the volunteer/contributor appreciation dinner at 5:30 PM (it was 5:00) and at 5:30 headed over to the dinner.

They were just inviting everyone to get their food, so I set up the slideshow (looping slideshows are a bit more complicated), during which my manager said, "Now everything is done! You can finally relax!" I mused inside, the everlasting gobstopper of a realist. I slipped out to wrap the gift for Jen and then presented it to her. "This is a Whooey stick, to thank you for putting up with all of your husband's Whooey, and this is a picture of the Salt Lake Temple to thank you for sacrificing so that something great could be built."

I then distributed the T-shirts I had made to the members of the community who were helping man the booth, and networked with several of the community members and volunteers. Our president then walked in. I directed him to a table with some of our spectacular volunteers and introduced him, then while he filled his plate I pointed out the individual who had organized the dinner and several other key individuals. He graciously thanked me.

While one of our volunteers was giving a brief speech, someone asked me where the Ambassador kits were located. I raced a block away to get them, and returned in time to give them out to the volunteers. Fortunately, one of our amazing instructional design guys, Jake, willingly set up lighting and a camera to videotape the volunteers who described their reasons for participating. I jumped in with a brief clip as well. Jake went home to pull an all-nighter to have the video ready to loop on a large monitor the next morning.

I then needed to load up the ten boxes of flyers and other items that needed to be given out at the booth, and raced off to a party store, arriving fifteen minutes before they closed to purchase leis for our volunteers to wear. I picked out thirty-five leis, and was out the door just before they closed.

Upon arriving home, I was sweaty and smelly, and more than anything, I wanted a shower. Nevertheless, I looked over some material C was planning to present to his managers and supervisors the next day on how to complain correctly. He used edited clips from Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan, and as an icebreaker, he showed this video of a very nervous fella who'd been asked to wish Roseann Barr a happy birthday.

At 11:17, after finally getting in the shower, I texted my manager because I realized I had left my morning conference pass behind. She responded and we arranged a time to meet so I could bring the chairs and other items. She needed to arrive early as well to check on some luncheon tickets.

The next morning I woke at 5:30 AM and headed out the door around 6:30. I headed out in torrential rains and wind that played air hockey with the orange cones on the road, until driving became a game of dodge and swerve.

Shortly after 7 I arrived at the loading dock, followed by my manager and then by C, who kindly brought the chairs in his car. We loaded up the items on a cart, and after several attempts to make everything fit in our booth, and the amazing efforts of several team members (including Jake, who arrived on cue with the video AND set it up to loop), we were ready to greet the flood of conference attendees who came in at 9:30 AM. We were training them on our products, stamping cards to enter a drawing for an iPad and to get a free t-shirt; it was non-stop action. I set up the slideshow from the previous evening to run on a second flatscreen TV.

Everything worked like magic. All of that preparation, planning, visualizing the flow of traffic, creating an experience... it all came together like clockwork. All of those amazing team members of mine were there even when they weren't scheduled and they were the stars of the show. They made everything flow perfectly. I was so proud of them, and so grateful.

After a full and fulfilling day, I drew the name of the iPad winner, a woman I had met earlier that day who contributes to our community bilingually! I was pleased she won, and that out of over 1500 entries! I finally left for the day some time after 5:00, arriving home exhausted, I cuddled up with C and Kawi on the couch for a comfy and cozy nap.

Just a FEW more, just a FEW more...

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