I’m writing this fresh back from a wonderful 2012 World Workplace in San Antonio, TX. I literally mean fresh back as I arrived back home in Atlanta an hour ago. Annette asked that I write an article for the newsletter and with my memory; I figured I ought to do it right away.
I’ve been to too many WWPs to count so I thought I’d highlight what made this one stand out in my memory and it’s not the educational sessions.
The opening keynote speaker Guy Kawasaki was awesome as he presented a message about how to promote innovation in yourself and others. But, in my opinion, the highlight of the conference was the closing keynote speaker. Delivered by Frank Abagnale, the real life star of Steven Spielberg’s move “Catch Me if You Can” played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Frank described with frankness and honesty mixed with humor, his teenage years of committing ingenious (my words) white collars crimes. Of course, he eventually got caught. His heartfelt remorse for his crimes and his love for his wife and family had more than one of us with a tear in our eye. I can’t wait to read his book.
One of my favorite things about attending WWP is getting to know some of our Atlanta chapter members better through the networking events (OK, parties). This year I had an amazing experience with one of our members who I have been acquainted with for years but didn’t really know very well despite working with her husband for five years. Upon arrival at Hartsfield Tuesday, I saw Barbara De-nijs-bik and Anne Shrock who were also on my plane to San Antonio. We arrived in San Antonio and decided to share a cab to our hotels. I was supposed to stay at the LaQuinta but when Barbara found out that I was on a scholarship from IFMA Atlanta for my trip, she immediately offered to see if she could get me a “Family and Friends” discount at the Hotel Indigo. It would save me and the chapter $100 a night. I had already decided that even with the Atlanta scholarship, this trip was going to cost me $500 but it was worth it. Fortunately, Hotel Indigo had a room for me so I was in.
Barbara didn’t stop there. She had a contingent of co-workers attending WWP along
with Anne Shrock, who is a valued consultant to IHG (and my former co-worker so we were already good friends). I didn’t have a lot of my past co-workers, friends, etc. at this conference but Barbara included me in everything her IHG group did. Along the way, I think I became better personal friends with Barbara and I was introduced to a whole new group of her colleges who I look forward to seeing next year.
This is what I love about IFMA. Not only do I have friends in Atlanta, I have friends around the country and some from around the world who I have met through relationships I’ve developed at WWP.