Conference of Leaders

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, we were out until 3am at Dallas and Chad's wedding and my alarm went off at 5am. Well, that's because I had to get my butt up and drive all the way to the airport to head to Share Our Strength's annual Conference of Leaders. Our flight landed in DC at 10am and the first session started at 11am (it was somewhere between my uncomfortable, drool-filled nap on the plane and the cab ride that I was regretting the whole 'staying up until 3am because I'm young and fun' idea.) Once I got rolling (sans coffee) I got a second wind... then a third and a fourth. Next thing I know we're all at the bar with our chefs and it's 1am. How did I get here?

One of our awesome Taste of the Nation partners in Florida, Panache, won the Local Business Partner Award!

We brought along some of our top partners, chefs and volunteers from Atlanta and Florida to join in on the fun! Here's our Atlanta crew toasting the trip.

It's always fun to hang out with our chefs and meet new ones from across the country, too.

Some of our amazing Florida No Kid Hungry chefs ready to hear from famed restaurateur, Danny Meyer.

We kicked off Monday morning with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak. Amazing.

To be honest, I had heard some horror stories about Conference - that it was super exhausting and the Awards Dinner was 4-5 hours long. Well, after living through my first one I have to say that all the rumors were beyond false. I seriously loved every second of it and didn't want it to end! (I also heard from my colleagues that this year was the best, yet. Probably something to do with the Awards Dinner only lasting 2.5 hours and it only being two days, rather than four.) I can't even begin to describe how refreshing it is to be surrounded by 600 people who are also passionate about ending childhood hunger for two straight days (three including our All Staff Conference). This is the one time a year we bring together our colleagues, partners, volunteers, chefs and overall No Kid Hungry champions and just re-energize for the cause. Now our team is bursting with ideas and newly motivated to get back to our desks and work even harder.

What can I say? I drank the kool aid.

Love my culinary events team!

P.S. Perfect timing. Today is my one year anniversary with Share Our Strength!! I am beyond grateful for this amazing opportunity to work in such a fun environment while also working towards ending childhood hunger in America. I cannot complain.

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