It was about 11am on a sunny Thursday morning in early March. I sat alone outside in a café in Sydney’s CBD after my 2nd job interview that week. I had some time before attending a lunch time networking event so I took a few minutes to indulge in the conference brochure that had arrived just a few days before.
Like with a new book, I cracked the cover with anticipation. The smell of fresh ink wafted in the air as I turned page after page finding session after session and great speaker after great speaker. I highlighted the sessions I wanted to attend as I sipped my flat white and reminisced about past conferences – Vancouver, New York, Atlanta, Washington. I remembered the quality and sheer quantity of relevant sessions and the incredible fountain of ideas that flowed from the diverse group of delegates. I smiled recalling the dine arounds, networking opportunities and even the early morning runs. I remembered the wonderful people I had met from around the globe, some of whom I’m now lucky enough to call friends.
I’d often held this conference up as the “conference of conferences”. The planning and promotion of it, the program, the delegates, the location, the extras – all were delivered with professionalism and attention to detail that has always been synonymous with the IABC experience.
As much as I wanted to go, I didn’t think I’d be able to swing it this year mostly due to my recent move from Toronto, Canada to Sydney, Australia. So, there I sat drinking coffee in a new city, a year into my new life in a foreign country, jobless and living about as far away from San Francisco as you can get. I was disappointed because there was something about the conference program that poke to me. It was bursting with social media content and I was eager to absorb it as this had been my focus for some time now.
Still deflated, I remember sharing the details of my day with my partner, saying “if I could just find a way to help pay for this conference…”. Three short days later, I learned of the scholarship support offered by the NSW Chapter, located here in Sydney, and I knew this was the universe sending me a message. What are your conference dreams? How are you making them a reality?