Remembering San Antonio

Leadership Conference 2012 ended only two days ago, but it seems like longer. . . I’m grateful for the chance to sit down and remember a few things about this great event tonight!

Starting from the first day, it was wonderful! (We actually arrived earlier to set up and get ready, but we’ll just start with Wednesday, which was the first show day for our demonstrators!). Demonstrators registered and picked up their leadership bags (reversible bags made from “sneak peek” fabric that will be available soon).

The rest of the day was full of meetings (for senior executives and above), Make & Takes, swaps, renewing friendships (and making new ones), and enjoying the great atmosphere!

Just walking into Make & Takes created a great setting for the whole week—there were three different chocolate treats (chocolate “your way!”) waiting for demonstrators on the tables. I told our events group that chocolate any way was my way, and most demonstrators seemed to agree. . . the chocolates were a big hit! Plus the coordinating folio and the Make & Takes were pretty amazing too! I enjoyed personally signing each folio tag, and was thrilled to hear that demonstrators appreciated that simple gesture!

Wednesday evening was our annual Managers’ Reception, and this year was extremely entertaining. We enjoyed a “mix and mingle” prior to attending a riveting performance by Chinese acrobatic performers! The refreshments were Chinese, of course, and the entertainment was absolutely incredible! I found myself holding my breath on more than one occasion, nervous that one of the performers was going to get hurt! Thankfully everyone survived, and it was a delightful evening.

Thursday and Friday were just incredible—the perfect balance of information, education, recognition, stamping, and entertainment. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute!

A few highlights for me were the opportunity that demonstrators had to get to know our Corporate Team members a little better. I know them quite well, of course—I work with them closely—but most of our demonstrators don’t have that chance. The opening session started with a powerful readers’ theatre, presented by our CT members, which I loved!

And, of course, I was a proud mother watching Sara on stage. While she’s been on stage before several times, this was her first time speaking without a stamp in her hand. She was nervous (which I completely understood—I always am too!), but she did a fabulous job!

I also enjoyed—and was a little frustrated by—the Share Fair. Even though I myself stood on stage and told everyone they wouldn’t be able to do and see it all, and not to feel frustrated but to just enjoy what they could and choose what they wanted to see based on doing things “their way,” I had a hard time taking my own advice. I wanted to sit in on everyone’s presentations and hear it all; the ones I did get to enjoy were wonderful little nuggets of insight and wisdom that I thought were perfect!

I enjoyed (and heard from others that they enjoyed) having many demonstrators be part of the agenda—it’s always nice to see our demonstrators share their hard-earned knowledge and experience.

And personally, I loved touching base with so many dear friends that I have met through the years. One demonstrator came up to me and apologized, saying that she liked to let “newer demonstrators, those who haven’t met me before” have that privilege, but she did want to grab a quick hug. I almost scolded her—while I definitely love meeting our new demonstrators, I can’t wait to see those who have been around awhile as well. I can always find time to give everyone a hug!

I love leadership—the feel of the event is different than any of our other events because it is designed for our leaders, demonstrators who want to build their businesses and take them to the next level. I felt like we delivered well on that this year and that our leaders returned home renewed and enthusiastic for what’s in store!

And we weren’t done in San Antonio yet--Saturday we held our largest regional ever!

When I welcomed everyone Saturday morning, I asked how many in attendance were staying over from leadership; I knew that about half of the 1,400-plus crowd was. I knew I’d get a decent response (these are Stampin' Up! demonstrators, after all!), but after three days of leadership, I have to admit I was expecting it to maybe be a little bit of a tired response as well.

I should have known better—those ladies were just as excited on Saturday as they had been on Wednesday! And when you throw in 700 new people . . . well, all I can say is that it was a great regional. We ended up splitting the group up, with half doing Make & Takes and demonstrator booths, while the other half enjoyed Main Stage presentations, then after lunch we switched. Everybody seemed to love it, and while it wasn’t easy for our behind-the-scenes people to make it all happen (logistically it was quite the challenge), I thought it went wonderfully!

I continued my tradition of sharing on stage whatever project I’m currently working on. This is a cello topper that I’m making for our girls for Valentine’s Day. I don’t know what’s going in the cello bags, but at least I know what’s going on top of them! And that’s the hardest part, isn’t it?

I loved my week in San Antonio—I talked to a lot of demonstrators who came in a day or two early or who stayed a day or two late. I think most of us came from colder climates, and the opportunity to spend a few days in a warmer place (most days it was warm enough to eat outside!) was too good to pass up! Plus I love the River Walk and the whole feeling of San Antonio, especially the historic part where we were.

Now we’re home, ready for a new week. And hopefully our demonstrators are as excited about this week as I am—remember, Sale-A-Bration starts on Tuesday!