I'm writing this final conference post from the Phoenix airport. I found a very empty Jet Blue gate (they always seem to be empty), a plug and some free wifi, so what better place to sit and enjoy some down time before heading back home?
This morning was a great end to this conference. To start with, my alarm wasn't set for 5:45AM so waking up at 7AM was almost like sleeping in on Sunday. The last slew of activities were some organized venue tours. I joined about 12 of my fellow Performing Arts venue managers as we toured the Orpheum, Phoenix Symphony Hall and the Herberger Theater. Seeing theaters that I don't work in 7 days a week was a nice change of scenery but getting a few more precious hours being able to chat with fellow managers was invaluable. I met a fellow who seemed to have my exact job so it was a great chance to bounce some ideas off of each other and get some notes about what works for his venue and what has not worked for them. Again, I'm left feeling full of ideas, full of energy (as soon as I get some sleep in my own bed) and full of enthusiasm. What an amazing feeling to leave a conference with.
Oh, another amazing thing to leave the conference with - a $100 gift card thanks to VenuWorks (gotta love wining drawings). I'm thinking that I'll apply it to the purchase of an iPad since leaving the conference with one of the many they were giving away wasn't in the cards for me. VenuWorks also provided me with a peer to look up to. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to meet and hang out with one of their VPs who's career, participation in IAVM, and excitement about what she does has left me just as excited about my future as the conference did. Wow... lots of use of the word, and variations thereof, excited in that last bit. I can't help it! It's just how I feel.
I'm very much looking forward to some time to process the things I've learned and to look into some new areas of interest. Looking forward at my calendar for next doesn't look promising for some reflection time, but I'm sure I'll find it in between meetings and, well, more meetings. I'll be curious to see how I use my refreshed enthusiasm and spark when I return to the office.
And speaking of returning to the office, if my team is reading this, a huge THANK YOU for managing things while I was out. It was the first time I didn't have to put out fires while away on business. I'm so proud of the team I get to work with in the office each and every day.