The last night of a conference is always bittersweet. Every bone in my body is ready to head back to Arkansas, to the Sweet Boy, to the Schmoo cat and to my own bed, but a part of me wants to stay immersed in this environment. My brain wants the continued wealth of knowledge that comes with being surrounded by so many outlets of information. My heart wants that spark to stay bright. My soul wants to continue to be around people who absolutely love what they do day in and day out and work for what they believe in until they have nothing left at the end of the day.
Have I uncovered my take home assignment? Can I carry this spark... no, this flame back to my venue and spread it amongst my team? How can I share this adoration for my career with peers who seem so heavily immersed in the creative side that there isn't room left for the functional, operational, logistical end of things. I've talked all day with anyone who would listen about how disappointed I am that my venue isn't more involved in this organization. My venue is well on its way down a path towards expansion that will bring more venues online than was even imagined when it first opened its doors. It is so important now, more than ever, to be involved in an organization that puts all types of venues on display to learn from. The conferences are real time text books. They are a chance to bounce ideas of experts in the field and do so face to face. That is something a phone call or email would never be able to duplicate.
An organization like IAVM, the peers that come with it and the learning opportunities presented at it's many different conferences are not best experienced once a year, but rather all year. Would you all be so kind as to let me compare this to The Sims? When playing The Sims, one of your tasks for a happy little Sim person is to make friends and create relationships (as well as eat, sleep, shower, get smart, lift weights and use the restroom). If you do not work on these relationships daily, your little Sim person gets sad. You can't just call your Sim buddy up out of the blue (once a year, to tie it back into my discussion point) and expect them to laugh at your jokes or flirt back, they will yell at you and you'll lose the little Sim relationship. The same goes in real life. If you do not cultivate your relationships in real time, you start to lose your edge and this edge cannot completely be sharpened just once a year.
As I leave this conference tomorrow, I leave more confident than when I arrived. I'm confident in my abilities to lead my team through tough times and situations, confident in my knowledge of how my venue works in comparison to similar venues and confident that I'm on the right path in life. I do hope I am able to find outlets with the organization throughout the year to involve myself in. It would mean so much to me personally and professionally - but I know my continued involvement would also make the world of difference for my coworkers and my workplace.
(this is the fifth in a series of blog posts written while attending IAVM Venue Connect 2011 - just one more to go tomorrow)
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