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Monday, October 06, 2008

All-Staff Conference

Well, the main focus of the past two weeks or so for me has been the all-staff conference we had last week. Before Wednesday last week, many nights were spent staying up waayyyyyy late trying to complete a project I wandered into very willingly...nametags for everyone. Our organization is made up of fourteen offices with a staff base of about a hundred and fifty staff, and a board of eleven members. I started out making the nametags unique, working myself through alphabetically by last name.

I could have separated everyone into departments or job classifications and made a set of matching tags for each group, but nooooooo...something inside me just kept doing something new as I made my way through the list. And of course, the geek in me was having a blast, even with the late hours I put in at my own expense. I managed to get everything complete and printed and cut and inserted into those little plastic sleeves before I had to travel to do the trial run for my presentation on Tuesday. There were very few duplicates aside from the matching nametags I made for the board.

So on Tuesday I made the trip to the main office and did a run-through with the head of the IT department that I was presenting with. By the time I left we had an outline of what we would be presenting to the group.

On Wednesday, I traveled with two other coworkers to the conference. The construction on the TransCanada highway is currently ATROCIOUS. I guess you could say we have two seasons in this part of the country. Winter and construction.

When we arrived at the hotel where the conference took place, our hotel room wasn't ready yet so I carted my laptop, a projector, a suitcase bag, a carry-on bag and a cooler bag into the hotel and to the conference room where I would be helping with the presentation. We did a bit of a practice run before lunch started. After lunch was the presentation. I followed along with the presentation, helping give demonstrations to the group on Outlook and Office. Then it was my turn to do my PowerPoint presentation of Office and Outlook tips and tricks. Oddly I wasn't nervous at all. I got through my portion and continued helping demonstrate for the rest of the presentation time. That rocked. It was so positive for me. A great learning and sharing experience.

After the session ended for the day, we had a union meeting then a bunch of us planned to go out for supper. We convened in one hotel room for a few drinks then walked to the bar/grill. We had some yummy munchies; my choice was the chicken quesadilla, and a few drinks of coconut rum with pineapple juice. We played a few games of pool, and oddly returned to the hotel pretty early at ten-thirty. There were plenty of open doors in the hotel hall and many people visited. It was great to meet people from our other offices. We had a great time.

After a short nap (yawwwwwwwwwwwn), it was time to get up for another day of presentations. But not done by me this time. I sat in on two different sessions throughout the day. The food was great; I haven't eaten that healthy that often in ages. Thursday night was our staff appreciation dinner. The food was fantastic and I received my ten-year service award pin. After dinner we were entertained by comedian Tom Liske. By the time the awards night was finished there weren't very many who wanted to go out again from our original group...just others who missed out on the fun and wanted to go with us! :)

A bunch of us gathered again and played some silly games and chatted until late. There were still a few renegades left who wanted to go out but my roommate and I crashed 'early' at about one-thirty, leaving the others to go seeking Chinese food.

Friday morning was a fantastic session on our respectful workplace policy. There was a great facilitator that put us in groups (with assigned seating to mix up the groups a bit). We did some individual and group exercises and it was a very interesting presentation. There was a final lunch then they wrapped up the conference. We traveled back and when I checked in at the office there were forty-seven voicemails for me to wade through and a pile of faxes, since we were closed for three full days. All in all it was a fantastic conference and I hope it's an annual event!

Much of the weekend was spent catching up on sleep every chance I could get. Plus I'm suspecting ol' Mother Nature will be stopping by to bring me her lovely gift this week, so I was pretty tired. Tonight after work Kelly and I took the boys to the blood donor clinic. This time it was my turn to donate and Kelly's turn to sit out...dang those low iron counts! Last time I was the reject, and the time before it was her too. It will be interesting to see if we both get to donate next time!

Tonight after supper I made some thank you cards for the conference. Carter crashed pretty early, and Cooper was going strong still just a little while ago.


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