Why I Engage
First things first: All photos you see in this post were taken by the outstanding team you see in the below photo, plus Cameron Clark who was still behind a camera somewhere while we all enjoyed lunch. Big thanks to Carla Ten Eyck, C10 Studios, Love Life Images, Cameron Kelly Studio, John Cain Photography and Jeremie Barlow Photography for rockin’ it out and letting the rest of us enjoy ourselves.
Last week I attended Engage!16 hosted at the historic and impeccable Breakers at West Palm Beach. Surrounded by the absolute best of the best of event professionals, it was naturally a time full of inspiration. But here’s the funny thing, I don’t attend Engage to rub elbows with the headliners. Now don’t get me wrong. I would gladly hang out with the always poignant (and absolutely hilarious) Marcy Blum every day but Marcy obviously has a line of people like me wanting to talk to her because, well… she’s Marcy freakin’ Blum! The same holds true for David or Preston, Mindy or Sylvia. But before all of these event celebrities were who we think of them today, they were just like you and me (and in many ways still are) – People busting their butts to make a life by doing what they love.
So while Engage provides the opportunity to peek into a wealth of experience and insight from our idols like those listed above, if you attend Engage and spend all of your time standing in line waiting to talk to those event celebrities, you’ve missed out on what I consider to be the deeper reason to Engage.
Why I Engage
When you become so focused on the people we all know already you miss out on meeting Hannah Kohler or Linda Mitchell. You may be seated right next to the one and only Paige Chenault and not even know it because you are focused on how you are going to gracefully get up as quickly as possible after Colin Cowie is done speaking to go introduce yourself. After my very first Engage experience 2 years ago, and now even more so after my third, I notice that the true value of a community like Engage is in building your own generation of idols. Skip the lines for the ones that are already on the stage and forge your own rockstar team. Or, as my dear friend Suzanne Reinhard puts it, find your Seal Team 6.
Engage provides the space to collaborate on a whole new level. The entire conference is a stunning example of what collaboration makes possible (see the team photo below and realize that’s not even everyone involved!). Through the spirit of collaboration I was able to watch a business that never even existed before come to life last year. Collaboration allowed me to witness Tifany Wunschl propel Gourmet Invitations to new levels and celebrate beside her as she surpassed goal after goal.
But collaboration only works if we view ourselves all as equals. No more standing in line, waiting to talk someone when you could just turn and talk to the person next to you. Who knows, maybe you’ll realize it’s that planner you follow on Instagram and didn’t even know was coming (like when I got to dance my butt off alongside Andrea Eppolito).
Collaboration means giving credit where credit is due (see beginning shout out to the photogs!) but above all, collaboration means trusting each other. Trusting that we are personally and professionally better helping each other. Trust that we have each other’s backs, because honestly, I think it’s the only way we are all going to survive in this crazy world of events we’ve chosen to make our life’s work.
So I hope that when we are all together again in December at another stunning Engage!16 experience we will each get just as excited to be seated next to someone we’ve never heard of as we get for snagging a dine around with Mindy Weiss. 😉
A huge thank you to Kathryn & Rebecca for having the foresight to create such a collaborative space in the first place. The two of you are responsible for creating such change in so many of our lives and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to meet the outstanding individuals pictured here I am lucky enough to call my friends. None of that would have been possible without the space you ladies create 3 times a year. Until December!
Interested in hearing more about what makes RMP tick?
Learn more at the My Muses section of the blog.
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