Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
Now Available on Smashwords for Kindle and other ebook readers!

Friday, March 07, 2008

It was 14 years ago...

That Cedric, Traci and I decided to pile in the Impala and drive down to Savannah, GA with no hotel reservation, no conference registration, only the barest idea of how to put together a resume, and absolutely no clue how to network. We were the only three from our college that had any interest in going to SETC, and we were only going because Blair said it was a good thing to attend and our costumer Jen said she was going.

So off we went to SETC for the first time, and that has made all the difference. Somewhere along getting lost in Savannah a couple of times, sharing a room with Cedric and Traci and sliding my half-assed resume under a dozen doors, I fell in love with this conference. I took a couple workshops, met a few people, and Jen introduced me to Bill Rackley, who gave me one of the most valuable pieces of advice I've ever had. He said "always have breakfast in the hotel, and always meet people at breakfast. They're off guard and you can make some real connections at breakfast." He's right, and I've made a ton of friends over breakfasts and lunches (and even more at the bar) at this conference over the years.

There are tons of great SETC memories for me, some of which really should never see the light of day for the safety of all of us involved. But there was a sing-along in the hotel lobby one year where none of us could remember the words to any song, there was the year I threw a margarita party in my room, then moved it to Walt's room after we were thrown out of mine, then to Amy's room after we were thrown out of Walt's. Imagine 20 drunks parading through the hotel with liquor, cups, three ice buckets and a blender in tow. That was us.

I met Barbizon at this conference my second trip to SETC, and by the time the next one rolle around, I worked here. This is my 15th consecutive trip to this conference, and there are a lot of faces that I see here every year, and no matter where the conference is held, it feels a little like coming home. It's good to be back, hangover and all.

By the way, if in Chattanooga, I recommend staying at the Chattanoogan, and drinking the Black Raspberry Martinis until the room spins.

No comments: