Although it’s hard to believe, the sequin filled whirlwind of Altitude Summit is over! The trip was a day longer than expected, since Delta generously bumped me up to an earlier flight to avoid the impending snow storm. My friend Maggie and I boarded a plane together on Tuesday and spent that luxurious limbo day napping, getting pampered at the spa, and eating delicious food. The extra day also gave me the opportunity to head out to dinner with another friend, Erin, who whisked me to a fabulous sushi restaurant called Takashi. Who knew that sushi in the middle of the country could be so fresh?
Then it was Wednesday, and the hotel really began filling up. For someone who typically spends her days in yoga pants, and for whom blow drying is an effort, the sudden influx of impeccably dressed women in high heels and perfect coifs was hugely impressive. I was lucky enough to room with Mere, who is of the loveliest people you could hope to meet, and we breathed a sigh of relief as we headed to the spa to hand our locks over to the professionals. We emerged an hour later with Alt-appropriate ‘dos.
After that, it was like getting on a steep, twisting slide filled with chatter and balloons. People kept asking what my goals were at this year’s conference, and my answer was always the same: to see my friends. While last year was all about soaking in the knowledge, this year was more about strengthening connections and collaborating. And I’m happy to report that both were fulfilled.
There will be plenty of roundups for you to read this week, but I just wanted to leave you with my one big takeaway: never forget who you are and where you started.
The people I most admired at this year’s conference were a mixture of new acquaintances and established friendships. All of them are humble people who recognize that their success is the result of many stars aligning — hard work, passion, and talent, yes, but also luck, and sometimes even a whole bunch of failure. And that it could all go as easily as it came. There’s no sense of entitlement, just genuine hope and the understanding that you need to roll with the punches if you ever hope to survive.
As the year goes on, I’ll look back at these people as models for the kind of person I’d like to become.
All photos except the first were taken by the tremendously talented Justin Hackworth.