It is hugely expensive to attend a conference, even a small conference. There is the cost of registration added to the air fare and hotel, as well as a hair do and even perhaps some smart new clothes. Then, there is the odd drink or two and maybe a lunch or dinner off site too. All these big bucks are spent with the vague hope something good will come of it.
Networking is the word that hovers on every lip. It is a good word, a good concept but one that may be interpreted in different ways.
Some people plan meetings for every second of every day. With furrowed brow, smart phones and a plethora of digital devices they race about “conducting business.”
I wish I were so organized. I have attended the IACP — International Association of Culinary Professionals — for 30 odd years, and I’ve never had a plan. I just wandered about talking to whoever happened to be nearby. I did carry a stack of business cards, just in case. I found this absolute lack of any sensible organization has worked wonderfully well.
Instead of making “connections,” I have made many lifelong friends. We’ve helped each other with our individual hopes and dreams and yes, business ventures too.
So my fond hope is that everyone attending the IACP conference in Austin which begins today, will follow their own path and explore every fork in the road. There will be many delightful surprises along the way. And with a little bit of luck, be richly rewarded in ways you never anticipated.