Having attended the RSA Conference for the past 20 years, it’s safe to say very few things surprise me anymore. From sumo wrestlers to robots, race cars to food trucks I’ve seen it all in efforts to gain attention. We have seen it all – or so we thought!
This year, I headed up a team of 6 to facilitate and support over 135 briefings and interviews that we spent the last three months arranging. This team witnessed two extraordinary factors that were new this year. One, the fact that the weather was absolutely perfect all week – sunshine, warm temps and not a bit of wind or rain, and two, the level of logistical sanitation challenges and uncertainty introduced by COVID-19. Despite what seemed like a little less foot traffic and a few big exhibits standing vacant, RSA 2020 went on just like any other.
Through the eyes of our three RSA rookies, the perspective was refreshingly inspiring. Despite the long hours on their feet, running between our meeting suite, Marriot Marquis and the various Moscone buildings, and the drain of being ‘on’ for long periods of time, they each approached the experience with tenacity, wonder, and excitement. From their awe at the scale of the double expo floors to their recognition and gratification for how three months of meticulous planning and preparation paid off in spades, they reminded me of how exciting conferences of this size can be.
I entered into this year’s conference as a veteran-attendee, seemingly ‘jaded’ by the grind, but after seeing the experience through the eyes of my team’s first-timers, I have a renewed appreciation for the magnitude of the event, the breadth of talent it draws together and the value it generates for my clients.