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Thursday, December 9, 2010


When I joined the Foundation in July I knew of a looming meeting that I was responsible for planning and had been planning since then.  It is the second largest external participant event the Foundation does and this was the fifth year. New to the systems and process, the people and players, the general operations, my naivete was both a blessing and a curse. 

Prior to this meeting there was an additional dozen+ pre-meeting meetings to arrange, a snow storm, Thanksgiving, a 200 page briefing about the meeting, a boss on a three week three country European trip, and the coordination of a particular special guest (which is remarkably difficult).  Oh, and apropos, our meeting happened to fall on World AIDS Day which, although very cool, added to a heightened sense of awareness and recognition.  But perhaps the most anxiety I felt was around not feeling enough anxiety.  Everything was going according to plan and we had planned and planned this meeting that I couldn't possibly image a scenario where we hadn't anticipated.  But, as I have planned many events in my day, I knew there would be something.

Last week the date had arrive for the big meeting. It was showtime. Two hundred and fifty participants, one Grand Hyatt Hotel in Downtown Seattle, three days, over forty scientific presentations, sixteen hour days and one soaking hot tub at night to make it all worth it. The meeting was an absolute success. No hiccups, no issues, a seamless meeting if there ever was one. It really couldn't have gone much better. 

I would crawl into this tub every night and soak and scrub the day away. And every time I stepped in I thought, I could work this hard every day if I came home to this every night.

The food was beyond your average hotel food.  Butternut squash ravioli, twice baked potatoes, roasted asparagus, spinach walnut salad with raspberry vinaigrette and deconstructed northwest salad. And that was just lunch one day. 

When I rolled over Friday morning I dialed room service from my bed. While I treated myself to the below delicious meal. I thought, "I could really get used to this room service business." Also, it was maybe one of the best breakfasts of my life, although I'm not really sure how much of that qualifier is that it was brought to my room piping hot or that it was actually that delicious. I think both.

I stumbled into the office Friday (later) morning completely exhasuted with an all-day retreat to plan happening the following Monday, and lots of this meeting follow-up.  I stood in the cafe in utter befuddlement as I had had catered meals served on platters to me for 4 days and I couldn't make a decision between a salad or a sandwich for lunch.  It was remarkably paralyzing and gave myself the little pep-talk of, "It's lunch, not your future husband, just make an effing decision."  And that was just the minimal struggle of my day post-meeting.

Many lessons learned this year and I feel further edified in my role and the purpose and objectives the team works tirelessly to pursue. I am honored and privileged to work with some of the most dedicated, intellectual, and professional individuals trying to develop a vaccine for one of the world's most devastating diseases. The research and collaboration occurring in the academic field is unprecedented and because of their collaboration, the audience was optimistic, energetic and encouraged on the progress and discoveries being made.

While I advocated for next year's meeting to be in Europe or Hawaii; they've opted for the same place.  Which, as long as that soaking tub is involved, I'll be ok.


Cupcake said...

you go.

also. next year, invite me over and i'll use that tub mid-day, while you're working. just sayin.

Miss C said...

Totes! It was perfect for us tall folks!

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