Another conference has come and gone. After sleeping for 12 hours I can’t help but reflect on the past week of work. Let me walk you through a LivingSocial Conference because it is not what you would guess.
Sunday we arrive to the Gaylord Hotel to prepare for the 700 people coming from all over the United States and Canada. Dressed in a blaser with straightened hair I set up for the Senior Directors meeting. I can’t help but feel like a real adult of 23. Once the meeting is underway I head over to a pre-con meeting with the Gaylord, August Jackson (a production company) and our training team. After a detailed run through of the next 4 days we toast with mimosas to a productive week. Our sales contact at the Gaylord wants to take us for sushi and drinks to celebrate the start of the conference, my boss looks at me and says “Do you have time?” Of course I do! Final stop on Monday is the manager’s dinner I put together which is held at Fiorella’s in the National Harbor. The rented out restaurant worked perfectly for the manager’s to mingle and socialize on their first day arrival.
Tuesday brings all day manager meetings, the rest of the arrivals and the much anticipated VIP boat cruise. With my box of Americana goodie flavors I head over to the boat to set up for the event. We have the whole boat for 2 hours with every type of Presidential themed SWAG you need. The cruise takes us up and down the Potomac River with fantastic shots of Reagan National’s planes landing, the National Harbor all lite and the Monument and Capital in the cityscape. Definitely a VIP experience.
Finally it is Wednesday- the first day of the conference. We huddle into the large ballroom and listen to our SVP of sales kick off the week. The day flies with room turns, set up and preparation for the evening events. Wednesday night we have “Rock the Runway” planned. During this event our Directors and GMs dress up as different LivingSocial themed items. We had the upcoming Holiday Guide, the ever popular Foot Fungus Removal deal and the Glass Half Full Badge. The manager’s enthusiasm was contagious.
Less rested than I was the week before, Thursday began. With more meetings and sessions the day catapulted away. Most of my time was spent in the Exhibit hall preparing everything for the evening. We contracted Mr. Greengenes to play during the the evening event. It is amazing what a little drape and lighting can do to a room. Photo booth running, Mr. Greengenes on stage, bars set and the people begin to arrive. There is nothing like planning an event for months and months then seeing it come alive.
Friday begins with a line up of VIPs to finish out strong. We have interviews with our CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy and Steve Case and a motivational pep talk from Jeffery Gitomer. The conference concludes with a hopeful “go kick some ass” feeling in the air. Shuttle buses flow and the 700 plus people that filled my life for the past week disappear. After returning all of the marketing material to the office I head home to collapse. Event planning is an extremely rewarding job in the fact that you can work hard for months and at the end see the fruits of you labor.