The Real Magic of Engage!10Friday, October 08, 2010
In early 2008, I received an invitation from Rebecca Grinnals to speak at a brand new conference she was launching called Engage!, which would grow to be a semi-annual conference (June and October) that focuses on the luxury wedding market. Rebecca was one of the co-founders of Disney's Fairytale Weddings, and is the strategic force behind some of the biggest brands in the industry today. Of anyone in the wedding industry who truly deserves to have an ego, it is Rebecca, but she doesn't.
This week marked the sixth Engage! and I have been fortunate to have been able to attend all six, and to have spoken at four of them. Each one has held its own unique magical quality and each one has been beneficial to me both personally and professionally. I remember walking into the lobby at that first conference and being greeted by warm hugs from Rebecca and her appropriately named "Director of Awesome", Kathryn Arce. The genuine passion, intelligence and humility of these ladies is unparalleled.
This past Sunday, I walked into Engage!10 at The Breakers once again to warm hugs from Rebecca and Kathryn. This Engage! was a bit of a different experience for me. For the two weeks leading up to it, I had been in and out of two different hospitals in two different states and I gave my presentations this week while heavily drugged up on painkillers. If the event had been put on by anyone other than Rebecca and Kathryn, I would have canceled as things are still not back to 100%.
I didn't take a lot of notes during the other sessions this time around. Instead, I sat in a room filled with some of the most remarkable people I know and thought a lot about the fact that there are friends and colleagues who are designed for specific seasons of life and there are friends and colleagues who are meant to be in it for the long haul. I have been blessed to meet some of my favorite, lifelong friends through the various Engage! conferences. We are rarely all in the same place at the same time, and I am incredibly lucky that I got to spend time and share thoughtful conversation with them this week. I am also looking forward to developing similar friendships with some of the new people I met.
Frankly, Rebecca took a giant risk on me for that first conference. She had been following my blogs and company for a while, but had never heard me speak. She saw something in me at that time that I was still in the process of fleshing out myself. I knew that week that they had handed me a gift I will never be able to repay.
Has attending Engage! over the years been beneficial for my business? Yes, in both measurable and immeasurable ways. But the real magic of Engage? The real magic of Engage! is the people in the room.
The photo of Kathryn and Rebecca above is courtesy the official photographer of Engage!10, DVB Photo. Here are two same-day edit videos by Bruce Patterson of Cloud 9 Creative, the official cinematographer for Engage!10 that capture the spirit of Engage! perfectly: