“How would you like to spend a few days in Palm Springs?,” my husband asked with a smile. “We could play tennis, bike, hike, swim...”
“Let me get a dog sitter and I’ll dig my summer clothes out of the cedar closet,” I replied. The capris and tank tops hadn’t been unearthed for 7 months! I was also suffering from a severe lack of sunshine and vitamin D. I’m sure other Midwestern ABM convention attendees may have had similar thoughts. It had been a long, cold Minnesota winter so I had an immediate appreciation for this new group of colleagues and their thoughtful planning.
As the wife of a business owner, I have had thirty years of experience networking with potential business partners across the country. In the past, I have often felt like an unnecessary ornament or an inconvenient fifth wheel. This trip was different.
Designed to embrace spouses, every effort was made to help us feel welcomed, involved and necessary. Our presence and participation was encouraged. Whether it was a seminar, an organized sporting activity or a cocktail party, nothing was off limits.
This convention review is being written through the eyes of a newcomer and is less of a critique than a thank you.
Our introduction to the group began with a lovely al fresco reception. Butlered hors d’oeuvres and endless cocktails helped ease the newcomer jitters. Despite the strong breezes, we enjoyed mingling with board members, old timers, speakers and other inductees.
The elaborate dinner that followed allowed for more in-depth conversations with our table mates. Cards were exchanged and we lingered until the tables were folded.
The series of events that were carefully planned over the next few days bear highlighting. The second evening included a huge taco feed on the patio of the clubhouse. The atmosphere was festive with the jazzy sounds of an extremely talented musician who soundly created a one man show. Without a doubt, the stargazing was spectacular! The telescopes had an amazing 250x magnification that zeroed in on Saturn and its rings. It was such a breathtaking site; some of us had trouble believing it was real! It was a unique treat to see Saturn, Mars, the Northern Star and other celestial delights while singing the theme song from The Jetsons!
By the next day, we had firmly established new friendships (thank you Sue and Andy and Jim and Julie). We bonded at the pool and felt like old friends at dinner. This final evening was indeed a classy event. The Jumbo Tron screen flashed recent memories alongside the starry night rolling backdrop. Ah, once the music began, it was like prom 1973, “Color my World,” all over again!
Posted by Jodi Laliberte