Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 was not only momentous because OBAMA WAS RE-ELECTED (!!!), but because it was the day that I left St. Louis for my very first business trip. In my new role as Content Marketing Coordinator, I accompanied some coworkers to a conference in Chicago to do a series of video interviews with thought leaders in the field.
I was so excited.
I mean, free vacation, right? Ok, free trip to the airport hotel that actually isn’t free since you have to work beyond normal hours. But still!
I began Tuesday morning bright and early to go cast my vote (…at a frat house, oddly enough) before heading to work with a backpack full of business clothes. After a few hours of writing and organizing, it was time to go to the airport. The flight was mostly uneventful, and only mildly delayed, which is really all that can be asked for.
After a half-hour wait in the chilly drizzle for the airport shuttle, the fun really began. Checking into the hotel and going up to my room, the experience became surreal. I had a suite. My hotel room(s) were close to the size of my apartment.
No time to linger though, so I was quickly back down in the hotel lobby. After sipping sangria water and watching the election results come in for a while, my co-workers, boss, and an important partner of ours walked across the street to the neighboring hotel restaurant.
A three-course dinner ensued, during which (surprise surprise) I barely spoke at all. Lacking both business acumen and children, I did not have much to contribute to the conversation,especially in an odd-numbered group. Instead, I probably ate twice as much calamari and toasted ravioli as everyone else in an effort to look occupied. There was also lots of nodding. Overall, however, it was a very enjoyable experience, and not only since I had a rare chance to savor some Allagash White, which isn’t available anywhere else in the Midwest.
Coming back to the hotel after dinner in time to hear about Obama’s win in real time meant that I could happily snuggle into my obscenely large bed and sleep well before the big conference the next day.
The summit I was in Chicago at the Sheraton in Rosemont, Illinois to attend was one day, and a very full day it was. In between presentations in the meeting room downstairs, I set up a studio on the 8th floor and facilitated and recorded eight video interviews.
At lunch, I sat in the corner and tried to look fascinated by the Facebook updates on my phone since everyone else was either networking or doing important business things on theirs. Come to think of it, I should have tried for the networking option myself, but at the time it seemed entirely too intimidating.
After a long day of interviews, it was time for another round of dinner at the same restaurant across the way. This time four of our partners joined my coworkers and I, so much more of the conversation revolved around business though. I managed to participate in conversations for at least ¾ of the dinner, so I was happy about that. I even managed to give away four of my brand-new business cards (and even got a few in return)!
Thursday was largely uneventful. I tagged along to a breakfast with another of our partners, and then didn’t do much other than take down the studio set-up before heading to the airport in the early afternoon.
Although I spent most of the trip feeling like a kid who had accidentally sat at the grown-ups’ table at Thanksgiving and didn’t realize until it was too late to move, I’m very glad that I was given a chance to go. I certainly learned a lot, and came home with some new ideas to implement.