1. Thoughts from the Zeitgeist

Once Upon a Time

Unpacking a remarkable experience.

Last week I had the joy of spending time with Freeman people at our annual leadership conference. We call it Camp Buck, after the man who founded the business back in 1927. We went to an unexpected destination — Boise, Idaho — and found its rich culture, diverse venues, and welcoming people conducive to everything we hoped to achieve. (The toasty weather was unexpected, but we rolled with it.)

Our focus this year was to celebrate our shared role as storytellers. That’s essentially what we do in the events industry — we help our clients tell their stories and reach their audiences by creating moments that are relevant and memorable.

If you follow my blog or LinkedIn posts, you know that I am passionate about storytelling. And what struck me was how much I could learn in just a few days by simply listening to the stories people tell — not only the official presenters, but friends and colleagues who have their own rich experiences to share.

I will write more about this as I unpack it all — there were so many mind-blowing moments —but my overall feeling is one of gratitude that I get to earn my living by hanging out with people so committed to making moments that matter. They shared stories from the stage. They hung out in Boise restaurants and laughed over amazing food. They formed a garage band (The Exhibitionists) that played for hours and left us wanting more.

The technology we are using to help us help our clients tell their stories is exciting, challenging, and ever changing. But the connections we make when we come together in person — whether we are reflecting on an adventure that happened once upon a time — or imagining what’s possible in a galaxy far, far away — bring us together in a way that is uniquely human. Whether we tell stories around a campfire, project them via AI-generated deep fakes, or belt them out in an ‘80s rock anthem, It’s the stories that make the difference. It’s the stories we remember. Especially when, in the exchange of telling and listening, we become part of the story ourselves. That’s the real deal.

Follow me on LinkedIn.