Fast-forward to 4:45pm. Took the Three Dot Dash photographs, checked into my room, got into my suit and made my way to the lobby. My roommate still didn’t arrive yet so I kept an extra key in reserve in case he showed up.
We had to meet up in one of the conference rooms before we left because Kim, our house (hotel) mama, needed to speak to us about what was expected of us during the week. When you first meet Kim, logic tells you to not want to mess with her and, to be fair, that was the approach I initially followed. However, I knew she had a soft spot somewhere. I tried to expose that during the conference room meeting. She basically explained what was expected of us, what time we had to be down, what to bring with us blah blah blah blah blah. She started assigning us numbers and she started off with Morgan by saying “You’ll always be number 1″. Given my nature of being sarcastic, she then got to me and I simply replied “I’ll always be number 2″ with the room erupting in laughter. That, ladies and gentleman, is how I got my label of “smart ass” from the very first day. Such an honor!
An hour or so later and I find myself at the opening reception. Couldn’t have picked a better time to be jet-lagged and business card-less, eh Faisal? Guess I have no choice but to hope and pray that the people I talk to remember me. I gave networking a shot with mixed results. It was clear that I needed help with presenting my project more clearly and in a shorter space of time. Lack of business cards certainly didn’t help my cause but oh well, you live and learn.
One thing I didn’t understand was how come there weren’t any chopsticks at the reception? I don’t know about everybody else but it felt quite weird eating sushi with my bare hands!
Now, the moment everybody in the room was waiting for: the actual opening ceremony. Nancy’s opening address and Nile appearing via Skype was really cool and kind of set the tone for the rest of the evening. I particularly enjoyed Ben Quinto’s speech as I felt like his story about being intimidated and ultimately overcoming it was something I could relate to. His inspirational story definitely built up my confidence and made me feel like I can overcome any obstacle that stood before me.
Brigitte Berman and I have known each other for quite a while given our similar history with bullying but during her speech, hearing more of her story had me in a state of shock as I never imagined somebody like her going through that kind of bullying. It made me realize that no matter who you are or where you’ve come from, you really do not know what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and Brigitte’s story reaffirmed that statement. same can be said for Logan West as well, because prior to opening night, I questioned her involvement with Three Dot Dash in the first place. However, after the grand announcement that she and Brigitte will be doing anti-bullying tours, it certainly was a masterstroke on the part of both Three Dot Dash and Brigitte herself. It will be interesting to see how things go and I cannot wait to see the results.
Finally, when I heard my introduction being given, I couldn’t help but smile in a goofy manner. For the first time, somebody (thanks, Bosilika) was actually sharing my story and my project to a room filled with high profile guests! It truly was an honor to have a member of the GTL alumni talk about you on the podium and I felt extremely proud to have been given such an introduction, along with the other 29 GTLs. Only one word can describe that feeling: spectacular.