On Monday, I started my new temporary job: as a member of the team managing the BlogHer conference in New York.
Yes, that means I'm going! But it also means that you may not see me there, as I expect to be busy working behind the scenes. And if you do see me, i hope you will forgive me if i seem unfriendly. Chances are I'll be speedwalking to help with some crisis and will be too focused on that to notice you waving hello.
This gig has some similarities with the one I quit in 1999: I was the meeting planner at a trade association, responsible for overseeing the production of three large conferences (1500-5000 attendees) and about a dozen smaller ones (10-250 attendees) each year. I had to negotiate hotel contracts, manage guest room blocks, select food and beverage service (including for luncheons and dinners for 1000 attendees, who purchased tickets, which was a complication because you have to make a guarantee to the hotel or convention center and it is binding - so if you over-estimate how many meals should be served, you are on the hook to pay for them... But if you under-estimate, you have a bunch of pissed off people complaining to you).
Anyway: it was a big, complicated, exciting job. And I handled it pretty well... Until I threw motherhood into the mix. And now, 13 years after I quit, I have a hard time remembering how capable, smart and independent I used to be.
What I do remember is how stressed I was during those years. The adrenaline rush I'd get as we ramped up to the meetings was exhilarating - but the downside was worrying about all the things that could go wrong (and with so many pieces of a large conference, there was always going to be something that was out of my control - like the time the hotel would not allow the Association President to check into the Presidential Suite we had contracted for, because the previous guests would not check out... And when they did, they left it a shambles. That was not a good day.)
BlogHer is blessed to have an amazing conference manager in Lori Luna, and she is the one who gets to enjoy the sleepless nights wondering just what is going to go wrong at each event. She is the general of a capable army of staffers who handle all the little pieces - and I am delighted to have stepped in to be a foot soldier for a few weeks.
There is a ton of work to do, and I am getting the instant gratification of helping with it. It feels really good.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad