It’s Sunday at 1 a.m. and I’ve just arrived in Miami from Los Angeles. And I’m sick. Not just a cold, we’re talking really sick! I’ve been travelling all day and tomorrow is the first day of the 2016 4A’s Transformation Conference. It’s time to check into the hotel, catch a few hours of sleep and pray that I feel better tomorrow.
Morning comes early at 6 a.m. and being a typical Type A person … I have scheduled a breakfast meeting. Then a lunch meeting (during the conference break) and a dinner meeting. Not a moment of rest baked into the next three days. And I’m still under the weather. This is a critical moment. Drawing upon my past as a collegiate athlete I find inspiration from those pre-game speeches coaches are famous for delivering. All the words of wisdom repeat in my head…
- When the going gets tough, the tough get going
- Fatigue makes cowards of us all
- Push yourself because nobody else is going to do it for you
- A champion is someone who gets up, even when they can’t
… And so on and so on … until I get up and get moving.
I make it through the morning session. Instead of my normal sparkle and shine, I’m just grateful to make it through. I take a call from my mom who offers more motivation, “Just remember, when you’re at half speed, that’s how most people are all the time.” Ha ha …
I keep pushing through.
Later that afternoon I’m walking to the elevator and I see a sign for something called The Girls Lounge. It’s advertising an invitation to come upstairs to the Presidential Suite for free food, refreshments, pampering, networking and more. I pause and re-read the sign because it didn’t have a cost and it didn’t say VIP only. That can’t be right. So I couldn’t help but wonder … “What’s the catch?” I read it again. Looks legit - but I’ve never heard of it. (And I like to think that I’m pretty dialed into the latest and greatest news related to women and feminism.)
I’m still not 100% and I’m starting to fade … maybe this is an illusion?
Being curious by nature, I decide that I’ve got to scope this out. I figure the worst thing they can do is tell me to leave. So I take the elevator ride all the way up to the top floor. Walk the long hallway and find the penthouse doors open. Looks inviting. I continue. There is a welcome sign. I’m greeted and ushered inside. No questions asked!
It’s like I’ve just discovered the holy grail of conference luxuries. I met founder Shelley Zalis and panelist speaker Madonna Badger who started #WomenNotObjects. I was pampered with delicious food, makeover, stylist and a relaxing environment. This made my day!
So glad I didn’t let being half-speed get the best of me. Everything happens for a reason.
This experience was so memorable that upon return from the conference I really wanted to share it back at Amusement Park with everyone. But how could I bring the magic of The Girls Lounge to AP?
Then it occurred to me … we can create The Lounge at AP!
Step One: Location
I invited all men and women to join together once a month in the fancy conference room. This is the closest thing to a presidential suite we have to offer. At the first occasion, people were walking in and saying, “I’ve never been in this room before” and “I didn’t even know this room was here!” Success!
Step Two: Cuisine
We set-up mimosas, champagne, tapas of artisan local delicacies from the foodie restaurants in Downtown Santa Ana. Delicious!
Step Three: Content
We talked about The Girls Lounge. Looked at the website. Started following the latest and greatest on social media. Inspiration!
The participants at Amusement Park look forward to meeting monthly. Everyone is engaged and comes out motivated. Last month I had to move the date because of a client meeting conflict and people were genuinely disappointed. I reassured everyone that it was just a reschedule, not a cancel. At this last meeting, we mirrored The Girls Lounge with a curriculum to help participants create personal mantras, as you can see on the AP social media pages.
At Amusement Park we operate from a values-based culture. Embracing equal opportunity for all through character, belief, imagination, fearlessness, diversity and joy!
Earlier this month I reached out to Shelley to let her know about what we’ve started at Amusement Park. Maybe there is a way for The Girls Lounge to expand into local agency chapters all across the nation!