Last month, I was thrilled to be making my first trip to the International Builders’ Show. (Also a bit nervous, terrified and anxious.) While there, I was also going to be part of my first-ever Education Session at IBS. (Hence: nervous, terrified and anxious.)
Usually part of the “hold down the fort” crew back in the office, it was great to have boots on the ground and be part of the event I’ve helped the team prepare for each year in the months leading up to the show. It was a jam-packed few days, filled with great education sessions, opportunities to connect with clients and friends old and new, and I knocked out my first, but hopefully not last, IBS Education Session.
My biggest takeaway: The Builders’ Show is big. I mean, HUGE. I was told to wear comfortable shoes and I’m glad I did. I spent most of my time around the education sessions in the South Hall but I did venture into the show floor to visit IBS Live and I was astonished at the size of it. Regrettably, I didn’t have time to see many of the exhibitors and explore the latest in home design. Next time, I’m going to make sure I carve out a few hours for this.
With the encouragement of our Director of Strategic Services, Megan English, I joined her and one of our favorite clients Beth Russell of Stylecraft on a speaking proposal about a builder’s website supporting buyers through the customer journey. To my astonishment and general horror, it was accepted! This would be my first time public speaking, except for a presentation in a college Spanish class about my favorite show The Office that included hot takes such as “Michael Scott es el jefe.” I was nervous, but knew it was a great opportunity for both professional and personal growth.
After several calls with Megan and Beth to prepare and collaborate, a few sleepless nights, and an evening at the Builders’ Show spent in my hotel room practicing in front of the mirror in lieu of a nice sushi dinner, I did it! It was more thrilling than terrifying, we had some engaging questions asked at the end of the presentation, and a few great conversations afterwards. It was a great first presentation, and hopefully not my last.
My Awesome Coworkers
I can’t say enough good things about my team members at ONeil Interactive. They are smart, charismatic and true industry leaders. Call me biased, but their education sessions were among the first I added to my IBS Schedule. It was great to watch them engage their audiences 100% and I’m in awe at how natural and comfortable they are on stage. Something I aspire to, for sure.
I also loved that anytime I met someone new and introduced myself with “I’m Jenna, I work at ONeil Interactive,” there was an immediate recognition and appreciation. Being around so many industry pros and leaders during IBS week helped me see and appreciate how well-regarded the OI team is in this industry.
I knew they were awesome, but hearing it first hand from so many others just increased my appreciation to be part of this team.
While I didn’t get a ton of time to explore Las Vegas, I’m glad I had a few opportunities to take in the scenery and partake in a few Vegas experiences.
ONeil Interactive kicked off the show with a night with clients and friends at Top Golf, complimentary with a great view of the Strip. I always find it so fun to interact and talk to the people I email on a regular basis and put a face to the name. The one thing I forgot to do at Top Golf: hit a golf ball. Maybe next year.
Our hotel was right next to The Cosmopolitan so I got dinner there one night and went to happy hour another. If you get a chance to visit, stop by The Chandelier bar and hang out for a few minutes in a literal giant chandelier. If you’re feeling brave, you have to try the “Flower Drink” (also known as the Verbena). The drink comes with a flower in it (a Szechuan Button) and before you have your drink, you’re told to bite off the flower and chew it all around your mouth. Instantly, you get numb and tingly, and your senses will be heightened so that when you do have your drink, you’re able to savor every flavor. Highly recommend.
Overall, I had a great time at the show. It was exhausting, fun, and educating. I’m looking forward to many more!