A message from Leslie Walker of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, host sponsor of TBEX North America 2017
Curiosity has gotten the better of me on this random Wednesday night, and I find myself sitting silently in a room with two men I’ve never met. When suddenly I shatter the still, look to one and say, “If you could pick one word that describes Huntsville and the people of Huntsville, what would it be?”
His reply: “Vibrant!”
You see, these men and I are unspoken partners, sitting in one of those boardrooms – you know the ones, perched on a busy downtown street corner, windows all around, your basic human-fishbowl. We’re all here for a crazy-collaborative, a little out of my old-school comfort zone, Huntsville staple known as “Coworking Night.” It’s a free event hosted every Wednesday night at 200 Westside Square in the offices of AL.com. From what the night’s schedule tells me, it appears to be night #79. I guess this makes me what you would call a “late adapter.” The sign also tells me that tonight’s festivities include subjects like, “New Film Workshop: Help Define Your Focus”, “Intro to Responsive Web Design: Part 1” and “After Hours: Game Developers Kick-Off.” As for my taciturn friends and I, we’re seated in the “Write Your Masterpiece” room. Perhaps my group selection is a bit of a lofty pursuit but, why not?
As a person who’s not always at rest in the silence (YES, I am saying I’m a bit of a talker. Like…a lot), I start to drift off in my mind and think about my new quiet comrade’s words. I mean, I can absolutely see what he’s saying. Gazing out onto the darkened streets, I can just barely make out the snow-white steeple of the Huntsville First United Methodist Church, built in 1867, peeking up over the rooftops of downtown restaurants, shops and offices. Folks are bustling around enjoying the latest installment of a quirky downtown event called “Pop Up Parks.” The stop closest to me and my boardroom window? What once was a plain old parking space is now occupied by a Mars scape and two personal rovers. Because, why wouldn’t it be?
I think to myself, “Is this as weird (in a good way) as it feels?”
OOPS! Time to get to my next session!
This one is called, “On Target Marketing: Social Media Case Studies.” It’s being presented by folks I know this time. They’re covering lessons learned from social media pages run in the past, best practices for promoting your brand via social media, asking the group about interesting concepts that they’ve seen… The class is beginning to wind down and I feel like tonight has really opened my eyes to some great new opportunities. It’s been thought-provoking and I like that. Then something crazy happened…
The presenters look to me at the back of the classroom and turned the subject on its head.
Do you want to know what we talked about for the final 10-15 minutes of this session? We talked about…YOU! That’s right, we talked about you, TBEX. They wanted to know all about you, when you’re coming, what you’re going to do here, if we had remembered to send you to this place or that place and most of all these complete strangers wanted to know what they could do personally to make you feel welcome in our community.
Now you know why I love this town and why I hope that you will too.
So make a note – if you ever happen to find yourself in downtown Huntsville on a random Wednesday night, be sure to stop in at “Coworking Night.” I’m certain my new friends would be delighted to make your acquaintance.