Industry events

18 Dec

In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a slew of dinners and lunches and meet and greets to celebrate the end of the year with our vendor partners.  Recently I was invited to an event by an insurance company.  The invitation said that there would be a cocktail hour followed by dinner which was supposed to begin at 5pm.  I went with another colleague and we got there about 5:45 which we figured made sense.

Well, in Chicago that probably would have been the correct time to show up, but when we arrived, the reception area was deserted.  On a table by the door there was a prominently displayed book where other guests had signed and a copy of a table seating chart with our names.  We looked at each other, signed the book and then headed into the room, rather uncertainly through the large double doors.

There was someone in the middle of doing a powerpoint presentation with six tables of people all attentively following along.  It was definitely not a cocktail reception.  My colleague and I were supposed to be sitting at different tables and my table was the one directly in front of the powerpoint, right in front of the speaker.  As if by magic, someone whom I had never met came up to me and said, “You’re Greta, your seat is up there.” as he motioned to me.

I shrugged at my colleague and headed towards the front.

After we listened to another 45 minutes of speeches, they served a 7 course Chinese dinner.  Throughout dinner people went and toasted other tables, exchanged business cards and did lots of networking.  As one of only three foreigners and the only woman, I was a popular attraction and went through over 25 business cards (which was all I had on me).

I met some interesting people and got home on the early side (around 9).  It was an interesting industry event.  As they say, “When in Rome…”

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