Inside the Avature US Conference
The first thing I remember about joining the Avature Marketing team, after many trainings and a bunch of new concepts carefully presented to me, is assisting the Events team with a few small tasks related to this upcoming “Avature Conference” they were working on. Very easy but time-consuming tasks that meant a huge help to my co-workers, who were running all over the office in anticipation for the most important season of the year. I remember when they left for San Francisco, and I remember when I watched the first Opening Remark through the Live Stream, projected on the wall of the auditorium in our Palermo office. I remember everything as if it was yesterday.
2 years, 14,880 emails, 97 sponsored events and 4 Avature Conferences later, I was flying to the 2019 US Avature Conference and I couldn’t sleep. I spent the whole flight from Buenos Aires to LA making a recap of everything I’d been through and everything I’d learned. I wanted to build up confidence because, to be honest, I was quite nervous. We were sold out, we were celebrating the 10th anniversary, we were facing twice the audience than in 2018 and we had been expecting this moment for months. The final countdown was right then, the bell rang, and it was show time.
It’s all about conference
Kicking off the conference week is always interesting for the Events team. We get to meet face to face with the people we’ve been talking with every day for the last 10 months, people super used to receiving those hosting an event at their venue. They probably don’t even know the difference between our conference and the California Pharmacists Association event the week before. So there we were, trying to cover every minute of the upcoming days to make sure they know that maybe for them this is another corporate event running around the rooms, but for us, seating right there in the room, it’s the most important week of the year.
We spent most of our time jumping into meetings, receiving tons of packages throughout: decoration for the evening events, the giveaways we would be handing out to attendees. We needed to make sure everything arrived properly.
After day one, we started getting used to the look people gave us, walking around with five or six people from the hotel staff, that said: “you all look so young to be in charge of this event.”
Luckily, after day two, we already felt right at home. We went from one corner to the other carrying boxes, candles, plants, computers, posters, name badges… I checked my step counter after the Conference week: 84KM or 2,474,472 steps total, two times the NYC marathon.
Making a connection
After the Conference was over I came to understand my behavior on that plane, flying to LA. Why the recap? Why the feeling that I had to muster all the confidence in the world to be able to survive the upcoming days? Because I wanted to make sure that I was going to enjoy every minute. That I was going to live each conference day feeling proud of my team and myself. I wanted to make sure that no fear or anxiety would ruin what I was about to experience.
I believe searching for the perfect job must be very frustrating, and of course, it’s not about being passionate 24-7, but we spent an average of 8.9 hours a day working (during a calm week). That’s too long to feel awkward. It’s kind of our duty to find enjoyment in our work and be aware of how much we like what we do. Personally, I don’t want to allow myself to become complacent in discomfort.
During that time, working my hardest, I had a moment in which I truly felt like I made it. I found myself somewhere in LA, talking with Account Executive Wendy Hatch, and there we were: two women, different cultures, different nationalities, different realities; we don’t get to work with each other, we don’t share an office, we don’t know much of each other’s lives, and we just run into each other once or twice a year. But in the middle of our conversation, she told me the most relatable, empowering, and beautiful thing: “For the first time in the history of my career, I get to genuinely be myself.”
And in that moment, in the middle of the conference, as she spoke what I felt, I realized how connected our experiences actually were. No matter our backgrounds or where we came from, we were lucky to do something we enjoy with such an amazing group of genuinely kind people.