I see it…from the inside. James and Penny are nothing if not thorough.
In the lead-up, there’s the hand-wringing about venues, and sponsors…exhibitors, and presenters. There’s a website to maintain…the sign-up queue process…endless details of hand-holding and schedules, paperwork and deadlines, questions and questions.
In the mid-game, there are negotiations with the Hotel, more details over Audio/Visual…promotions for attendees…conference calls with staff and volunteers…scheduling and arranging exhibitors, securing presenter commitments…questions and questions.
In the stretch, there’s the relief of being at the threshold of breaking into the “black”: a numbers game. More details about set-up, diplomacy with arranging the schedule…more promotions, appearances, advertising, the conference calls, questions and questions…sometimes some answers.
The pay-off: a night like tonite with the Red Carpet Reception. Penny even said as much in her opening remarks. Her dream was to see a community much like the one present in the room — conversing, sharing, laughing, introducing, and (what else?) talking.
Sure, community is achievable online. Many of us do so everyday. But nothing virtually quite captures the handshake, the hug, the personal smile, and slap on the back (or the posing for pictures) that comes with a one-on-one meet-up.
Today was a whirlwind. A 2pm meeting for staff offered little that we hadn’t already discussed in conference calls.
Around 5pm, a gathering of staff and volunteers for a champagne toast and recognition certificates.
Hors D’oeuvres and cocktails loosened many-a-tongue as the evening wore on. The program was short. My lovely co-host Bobbin Beam and I introduced the co-founders and executive producers: James Alburger and Penny Abshire, and they, in turn, introduced the rest of the staff.
The remainder of the evening (until they kicked us out) was given over to food, drink, and more talk. This is a gregarious and yet humble gathering…all the supportive enabling, and encouraging positivity acted out in one conversation after another.
So, now, to the meat of the matter. All is set in motion. The pattern of predictability (blessedly) will play out to the content of everyone. VOICE2012 — even at Disneyland — is no Mickey Mouse affair…but it is a dream come true.