Last year my wife Lauren and I saw the Foo Fighters play Wrigley Field on Night 2 of their two-night stand in Chicago. Throughout the entire concert, Dave Grohl would randomly growl, "NIGHT TWOOOOOOOO!" That's how I felt on Day 2 of AADOM. It was so tempting to just yell, "DAY TWOOOOOOO!" at everyone who passed our booth. Looking back, it's probably a missed opportunity. Alas. There's always next year!
The day kicked off with several folks, led by our own intrepid Deana Zost, dancing down the showroom floor to a mixture of songs ranging from "Red Solo Cup" to Justin Timberlake's "Cant Stop the Feeling!" Two-for-two in the no-coffee-needed department. Once again, the collective energy was enough to carry the morning. I caught up with the team, huddled before things kicked off, and immediately could see that the conference had left its mark.
"I am so into this!" my fellow marketing companion Jena exclaimed.
"Yeah?" I asked.
"When I retire I'm going to become an OM of a practice."
"I thought you were joking last night when you said that."
"Nope! I love this place. I feel like I'm back home with all the women I grew up around. Everyone is so nice and I love it!"
"You're all-in, huh?"
"Alllll in!" And with that, Jena bounded off to snap some selfies with RevenueWell. In a few hours, I'd see just how serious Jena was.
I made my way back to the booth and was promptly rerouted to the KOL summit. This is pretty cool, I thought. Summits are prestigious. Not just anyone gets an invite to a summit. Let's do this!
Kelly, Jeff, and I navigated the long halls and found our room. Seated up front, at a panelists' table, were a handful of AADOM's top OMs. The three of us found our seats while Alex Nudel pulled his chair right up to the table. Eye-to-eye with the KOLs, he charmed the entire panel and shared some laughs. The man knows how to enter a room.
For the second time in as many days, I found myself in a class led by AADOM's VP Lorie Streeter. She set the parameters for our summit — round robin, one question per company, don't hog the floor, don't be shy. Nudel shot his hand up, asked the first question, and we were off to the races.
For the next hour, I hung on for dear life as the panel delivered incredible insight and wit about their daily lives.
Monday is the busiest day
Anything to help the team... because staff is an infection
So much info; need to go shorthand.
Webinar = awesome; podcast = better
Reduce stress, cut cost
Single page, bullet points
When I finally came up for air, Nudel looked over and offered maybe the first understatement of his entire life, "You wrote a lot of notes."
I caught my breath, thanked Lorie, talked with Kelly, and eventually wound my way up to the booth.
And right there, in that moment, I fully grasped everything that AADOM was about. The true role office managers play. Just how difficult their jobs can be. And why a company like mine exists.
At our booth, Jena was talking a mile a minute with two women, one of whom was a member of the KOL panel. I don't remember specifics, but the conversation was going something like this:
"And for payments, can you ..."
"Oh yeah, we make it easy for you to do that, and we also do this ..."
"Oh my gosh! You'll think I'm joking, but I have an Excel spreadsheet that I go over every day to ensure our collections are okay. And now for reminders, can you ...."
"Definitely! We can help you out with that."
"Okay, wow, I have, like, so many questions that I keep forgetting."
Truth be told, I thought a lot of the internal marketing within my company was bluster. Yeah, it's a cool product, but does it help people that much? Okay, it's a great company and people enjoy RevenueWell, but can they really love us that much? Consider me a convert.
I watched Jena talk with a woman who had literal goosebumps listening to all the ways her day was about to get easier. Somewhere in their conversation it turned from "Let's tell you about RevenueWell" to "No, you're an incredible person, and we're going to figure out a way to make your life easier because you deserve it."
The conversation turned to a personal connection, and it was a runaway freight train. At this point, being little more than a third wheel, I did the one thing that I do best — got drinks for everyone. The happy hour was popping, and I returned with some spirits to a newly kindled friendship.
"Okay, we're definitely having dinner when you come up to Chicago," Jena said through barely contained tears. "We can FaceTime on my way home! Normally I call my daughter, but she'll have to understand."
At what other conference does this happen?! I always enjoy Chicago Midwinter, but have never never ever seen anything quite like that. In this moment, the cynic in me melted away.
Pool time. Nudel and some of our team went out to another nice dinner, but I opted out this time. The lazy river and I had been circling each other for a couple days. It was time for us to get acquainted. Jena, Jeff, and Sony were all down in the lobby waiting out a late-afternoon rainstorm. I've always loved these Florida rainstorms. They clear away the heat and set the table for your next adventure.
Once the lightning had cleared out, Jena and I made our way to the pool. We found Deana and some of her friends. Jena found a lounge chair. I found a float. Everyone had found the tiki bar.
I love this place. I feel like I'm back home
Time to see if beverages are okay in the pool. Yep! After a solo voyage winding throughout the various lagoons, I stopped to talk with a new friend from the booth. Originally from Boston, she now lives in Albuquerque and is nicknamed "Barracuda" by her team members.
"They call me Barracuda because my collection rate is 100%. I never let 'em off the hook!" she proclaimed. Every word out of her mouth had me tripping out. Her practice must be a hoot. For the first time ever, I wasn't afraid of being near a barracuda in open water!
I eventually floated off, linked up with Deana and her crew, met a wonderful motivational speaker based out of Maryland, hooted and hollered with some fellow Southerners, got into a philosophical discussion (the kind you only have when it's really late in the evening) about my motto "life's a giggle," and cut a run at an impromptu dance party that was led by the Voice of AADOM and circled the entire lazy river.
Lights on like last call at a bar. Lifeguards are kicking us out of the pool. We did it. Everyone cheered and laughed. We shut down the lazy river.
Everyone shuffled back to the lobby for the after-after party. As our pool crew was absorbed into the drier lobby bunch, I pulled an Irish goodbye. It was late, tomorrow was checkout, and I still had to pack.
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