Written by: Alex Shellhammer
Every Story Has A Moral.
Here is my story:
“Welcome to Denver, Colorado – the Mile High City,” ourcheerful flight attendent said as we broke through the turbulance during landing. Finally, the event our team has been planning for over a year, the 20th anniversary of Cardinal Health’s Retail Business Conference, is here – and so are we. As we drove to our hotel I tried to take in the landscape around me; the sun setting over the mountains, the vast openess, and, eventually, the city of Denver. Making our way up to our hotel room made us giggle with giddyness because we had a “mountain view” room. Sure enough, we opened our shades to an immaculate view of the Rocky Mountains. And the Colorado Convention Center…
Where we knew we would spend our next seven days. We had a core staff meeting every morning at 6:00am to prep us for the day and all that needed to get done. We had a tradeshow floor with 800 exhibitors, a National Sales Meeting with 400 of our independent sales reps, a children’s camp **Camp Cardinal** everyday for 700, and 4,000 of our wonderful independent pharmacists (our customers) and their families. The truth was, our team was as prepared as we could be going into the week but while optimistic, we all understood that we had to be ready for things to go wrong.
…and that they did! At first they were small – making signs to point people in the right direction, herding people through lunch lines, and running name badges across the city only to find that you rode the bus with the man who needed them the whole time. And then they began to expand – internet crashing, exhibitor’s order forms missing, electric scooters breaking down, transporting 3,000 people on 47 buses from 4 different hotels, tracking down lost shipments from Dublin, and customers not being able to check in to their Continuing Education courses (which is essential, by the way). I found myself and the other interns running around the 100,000 square foot convention center like a bunch of crazies trying to come up with quick, efficient solutions. As Mattie (cool Meeting Planner) says, “It’s like putting together a puzzle as fast as you can.” Late nights became the norm as well as blood shot eyes, numbing legs, and mind blanking.
The adrenaline was constant, running through everyone and radiating energy. For me, it was a rush. I enjoyed the opportunities to learn about independent pharmacies, meet the customers, going to the tradeshow, hanging out with our sales reps (at Invesco Field – go Broncos?), and enjoying time with the Meetings, Events, and Tradeshows team. (Rumor has it, they are are the best team at Cardinal – I am not trying to brag…)
So the truth is, while we were working 17 hours a day to make sure our customers had the time of their lives, it was well worth it. I met some great customers throughout the week (Frank and Linda!!) and truly appreciate all of the things that went wrong because without them, we would not have been able to laugh. And by the way, many more things went right.
No event can go seemlessly and you have a lot to learn if you believe this. You can plan as much as you want but know that things can change in an instant and being able to adapt is essential not only in the business world, but in life.
Every Story Has A Moral.
Every Moral Has A Story.