MIDWEEK: Wednesday night I was featured as a panelist at a Buffalo News “In’s and Out’s of Blogging” panel. Um yeah. At first, I was hesitant to agree because I really dislike public speaking, I get too nervous. But then, I thought, what better topic than blogging…for a very basic audience. As Mark said “you love to blog and you love to talk, why would you be nervous?” Ok. PLUS I had said last Fall, I needed to break out of my comfort zone and start doing more of this public speaking stuff. So…I agreed.
Oh my. I had a LONG day at work that day…nothing bad, nothing stressful, just a lot. A lot of things to process, a lot of emails to return, a lot of tickets to figure out etc. Back to back busy with things to do. The last thing I wanted to do was spend 2-3 hours at a panel that was COMPLETELY POINTLESS.
Ok, not completely. I got three things out of it.
1. Public speaking, yeah whatever. I didn’t feel weird or nervous at all.
2. I got to hang out a bit and chat with PaulDub. Who came and supported me…AND gave me a ride home that night for which I was very grateful.
3. I got to meet my Buffalo friend in person! Who technically is a co-worker of mine, although the musicians and the administrative offices don’t really *hang* although neither one of us can do our job without the other.
And that my friends is really all that there’s worth talking about. I feel sad actually, because once I got there, I really WANTED to be a blogger on a panel talking. But instead I sat there and smiled or looked bored or tried not to laugh and well, sat there. I was the last featured speaker of three and the panel discussion and questions went on FOREVER. So I had very little time.
How can I sum up the evening? Well, let’s say people in the audience asked the following types of questions.
“How would I go about finding blogs if I wanted to?”
“Wait, what’s an URL?”
I could go on, but I think I blocked it out of my memory. Not only was this below the basic level questions I imagined, but I fear that the entire audience didn’t share the same lack of utter knowledge of all things computers but the discussion was lead by the few folks who were clueless.
ENDWEEK: I can’t believe I get paid to do my job. Tonight we had a VIP reception after the concert where our top donors had a chance to meet the very special guest artist and his wife. Now I’ve planned events before at my past job but they never quite went like these seem to go…follow me.
Jennifer needs to invite people to an event. Jennifer goes to the database (with the help of coworkers since she is still new) and pulls off all the names of donors who fit the criteria. Oh and adds a list of prospective donors from the endowment campaign, and adds a list of the principal musicians, and adds a list of guests from the concert sponsor and adds another group of guests from the concert SERIES sponsor. Executive staff members distribute the list and widdles the invite list to a respectable amount of guests to allow for a 100 person reception.
Note to self always remember to add at least 20 more guests to the list whom staff members will run into during intermission and ask to join us after the concert. This extends to the people I know as well. Yippee!
I had other things for this event to deal with our sponsors such as ticket requests and this and that which is not usually my job, but have fallen in my lap while the shift in our department has been underway. We will have a new woman in March working specifically with all the details and requests of our sponsors, but for the meantime it’s been me. Which doesn’t SOUND like a lot, but can quickly, rapidly become very time consuming when you have other things to do! Like process tickets/invites to the next event in two weeks for which over 800 invitations were sent out.
Jennifer speaks to the exclusive caterer for our music hall and a menu is faxed over! Same for flowers and screens, exclusive relationship with a florist, no need to search for something more reasonable.
Jennifer sends what feels like 200 emails (maybe 100, the other 100 were for the March event) throughout the week to coordinate that all is in place. Arrives early to event to make sure all is in place and waits for, along with her co-workers, all to be in place. Mind you with the help of the music hall staff and catering staff and bartenders, helping involves putting chocolates on tables and sipping a glass of bubbly waiting for the concert to end.
Jennifer at the end of the concert gets introduced to people hugging my Director at the entrance, says hello to the few people she does know and checks as many people in as possible. And then talks. And talks. And sits around and watches people talk. And smiles. And wonders how the hell did she get so lucky to work for an organization that is positively dripping with positive press and SOARING through this otherwise dismal fundraising season in our community. Right place, right time.
And at the end of the night after thanking everyone for helping and making the evening a success, including catering staff, bartenders, coat check, security, musicians and the executives…I had no less that 10 people tell me “Good job. Great event. Fantastic first time!” Huh? I mean EVERYONE. Our Director, Asst Director, my boss and immediate co-workers. And I truly didn’t even feel like I did anything. After I sat down to write this I remembered exactly how many emails went back and forth though. But still, are ya kidding me? Of course, it’s always nice to be appreciated…but tis my job, nothing special.
I told the our Director in all honesty, the job is easy and does itself. I mean talking about our Orchestra to our largest donors? Preaching to the choir! We’re world-class talent in small town Buffalo. Of course he then jokingly told me that I can feel free to give up my paycheck and donate it back if it’s not work, but I told him I still needed to build up my wardrobe first.
I ran into several people from my past position, including the SVP of the large umbrella organization my wee position was housed under. And she told me I just look so happy and she knew I would love my new job and she’s glad she was right. As she says, if they had to lose me, they at least lost me to someone good…although she insists she’s going to steal me back.
So now I’m home. And tired but happy. I got to bring home the one of the large vases of posies I ordered for both of our entrance/registration tables.
AND a ridiculous amount of desserts that were left over from the reception. The caterer had additional desserts they brought out that were left over from dinner, so we had sooooo maaaaaany left!
Can I tell you that tis the endendend of the week and I’m one happy camper. This stuff is just too easy for me. I just need to get to know our donors better, of course. But considering I’m such a baby in the Development world I actually know quite a few people already.
I do however recognize that eventually, I will end up getting bored with this position and want more of a challenge, but first I need to build up the events that we currently have scheduled from being exclusively donor related and add more community-family-young professional events/partnerships get new people in to see what we’re about. And after THAT? Maybe I’ll need something more.