Well, it was actually nearly a week-long trip, but for some reason it felt like a whirlwind. I suppose that's what happens when you spend time with friends, colleagues and thought leaders. A tired brain and a full heart are wonderful ways to spend a week.
So what did I do?
I worked with a team of really smart people to review certification questions for quality and consistency. Lest this seem like an easy process, it is easily the most difficult 8 hours you can spend while also serving as a great way to remember core principles of marketing.
I split one of the best kale salads of my life with a girlfriend. Oh, we also had an amazing dinner, marked mostly by the quality and depth of conversation that happened at the table. I love you Random Cathy!
I explored a bit around our hotel. We were right by the Staples Center...too bad my Dallas Mavericks weren't there for a game. Too bad our electricity also went out one night. Despite that, I enjoyed sharing a room with a colleague from San Antonio. If we weren't both watching the bottom line, I doubt I would have gotten to know Linda so well. I'm grateful.
I admired and celebrated the work of my former firm in partnership with another company and a client. Three years of hard work wrapped up in a national award for our efforts.
I celebrated that award - along with all of the great things happening in SMPS - at our annual awards gala. I loved having a chance to sit and spend time with a dear friend from Nashville, Donna Corlew (great conference planning!!!) and to get to know the others at our table.
I loved spending time with a former should-have-been-colleague. Nicole joined my former company right as I was leaving. We would have been tremendous friend-colleagues had we worked together. We'll just have to settle for tremendous friends. And that's ok.
I was incredibly inspired by our keynote speaker, Tim Sanders. He encouraged us to do what I've long held as a motto - BE NICE - and focus on pouring into others, be they colleagues or clients. Bonus points for Tim: He's a former City of Plano resident. I am quite sure we will be speaking again in the days to come.
And lest I forget - I was part of a panel discussion on the mix of generations in the workforce. We had a great conversation, along with more than 100 of our closest friends. Instead of talking about generational tendencies, we focused on the nuts and bolts of how you relate to your colleagues and adapt your communication strategies.
Bottom line: SMPS once again put on a great conference. Now that I'm on the client side of life and not professional services marketing, I was worried that it might not be as relevant to what I'm doing as it once was. However, I left with some great takeaways and felt it was an excellent use of my time.
As long as SMPS will have me, I'm there!