Thursday, January 4, 2007

day 1: registration, welcome dinner, pretty sweater

i'm going to preface this whole post with "i'm tired" so be patient.

after i registered and got my agenda, workbooks, special laptop was time to network. ~sigh~. i'll tell you a secret. i'm a little shy. i know, it might not seem that way, but i am.

luckily for me, it's a friendly crew, and soon i had found a few partners in crime - massimo (max), from brooklyn, and mike from nh. one of the organizers got up and spoke about what an amazing group of people we were - representing 46 states plus a few other countries; diverse in age, industry and knowledge; knowledgeable and passionate. i also bumped into a former client of mine, it was nice to see a friendly face in the crowd.

i felt a little uncomfortable and slightly out of my league because everyone i met at that moment in time seemed to be than me. not more green, but possessing more green knowledge. now, i can hold my own, but i definitely felt a little intimidated.

after that we were going to a welcome dinner at union station - a former train station now made into . me and "the boys" took the shuttle over and found that we were in the last group, and so ended up in the back of the room. oops. during the opening remarks we met the staff, our mentors, and the senior mentors. soon al gore himself was going to be there to welcome us and kick the night off.

and sure enough...there he was. mr. al. gore.

he is a great speaker. so much improved from his campaign days, when he would come off as stiff. he was poised, articulate, and funny. at one point during the speech, he was about to start talking about what i assume was when his son was hit by a car. he was saying how 18 years ago, something happened...and then the table where tipper and all the "vips" were sitting, 1/2 collapsed (no on hurt but the drinks), and al easily and even funnily made a joke of the whole thing. he welcomed the mayor of austin, who is one of our "session-mates", and said he's heard that "austin is a beautiful blueberry sittin' in a bowl of tomato soup."

for those who don't know me, i am not what you would call a huge fan of a little company called wal-mart. and that might be an understatement. i had noticed a few folks that were my classmates were from wal-mart. given their recent "green effort" i can't say i was surprised, but i wasn't really excited about running into any wal-mart employees. so of course, i ended up sitting next to one at dinner. oh, the irony of it all! of course i ended up feeling bad because he was a very very nice man. i gritted my teeth and tried to tell myself to have an open mind.

then the buffet opened, and after a bit, max wanted to go try to get a pic with al. i wasn't sure what the hell i was going to say to the man...but i figured when would i have another chance at this? ummm probably never. so we went and got in the queue to talk to al. as luck would have it my former client was in front of us, so we chatted and he needed a photographer so i said i'd take his picture.

now, poor al. he looked like he was getting tired, but was a great sport, and after bryan, he got handed a plate of food. i felt super uncomfortable, but he winked (yes, al gore winked at me) as if to say, "come on, one more". and thus i approached to have my picture with him. our conversation went like this:

me: hello, i'm jennifer
al: hello jennifer. that's a pretty sweater.
me: thank you.
al: does it have any significance?
me: no, it's just pretty.
[pose for shot]

at this point i decided i couldn't leave the conversation to sweater talk and decided to bumble onward, thanking him for everything he's doing and that i really believed that this issue was the one for my generation, and that i really understood what he meant when he said "legacy". like i said...poor al. he said graciously "thank you jennifer" and smiled and that was that.

i should have left it at the sweater. ps the picture is blurry i know. that's what i get for not letting the man eat.

and after that, finished dinner, met lots more amazing people (i fell off the wagon, but it really was necessary to loosen me up for networking!) and had some great conversations about not only what we are presenting, but *how* to present it. and now, i'm excited and really looking forward to tomorrow. we met some folks from the session that ended today who had nothing but great things to say about it all...

tomorrow is science day - al will present and then take us through all the science. saturday will be all presentation & q&a training. word on the "street" is that there could be some celebrity guests - apparently cameron diaz was in the last session.

until tomorrow...more images later too...these are taking to long so i'm just going to leave you with the money shot.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home