Monday, October 31, 2016


For the last four years I have been serving as a volunteer on the SMRP Conference Committee. It's been a very fun experience throughout the years as we've put on conferences in Indianapolis, Orlando, Cincinnati and now Jacksonville. This year I was the chair of the conference committee which meant for the last year I've been running all the committee calls and leading our volunteers and staff along the way as we planned and organized everything from start to finish. 

Being Chair has its perks - including being picked up at the airport and getting one of the nicer suites in the hotel. My room was crazy big with a great view and three different beds and showers to choose from - haha - kind of ridiculous. Though the extra living space did allow for hosting a pizza party one night in my room and a cocktail reception another night as a thank you to the staff and volunteers for a job well done. Ever the hostess, even while on the road! :) 

Being Chair also means you are the Emcee for the opening and closing general sessions. I was anxiously awaiting that part of the job - both excited for the opportunity but slightly nervous about being up in front of 1000+ of my peers and colleagues from around the globe. Happily it all went really well and once I was up there all my nerves went away and I found myself to be very comfortable in front of the crowd - suppose that won't come as a surprise to some of you. :) 

Another perk was getting to have breakfast with our Keynote speaker - Jim Morris - his life story was portrayed in the move "The Rookie" starring Dennis Quaid. He and his wife were so kind and fun to chat with. He gave a great keynote and I had grown men coming up to me afterwards saying how much they enjoyed it and that they'd even had to wipe some tears - wow!

Our closing Keynote, Bob DiStefano, was my selection and he's a guy who I've known since I started in this industry 10 years ago. He's been a great mentor and just a cool guy to be around. I'm sad to say he is retiring but I know we'll keep in touch and I've got my fingers crossed that when he finally buys a villa in Tuscany that he'll invite us to come visit - as he's promised. 

It really was a great conference - I missed last year's because of Harper - so it was awesome to see friends and colleagues again - all of whom inquired about how he was doing. It's just a great industry and while it's a big one - it really does tend to feel like a family reunion every October and I was proud to serve as the "Matriarch" this year. ;) 

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