It was December 2014, we were in 2015 Annual Planning when the discussion of “a conference” was brought up. Like many times before, we had discussed or tossed around the idea of “doing” a conference. We discussed the pros and cons of a conference, what type of conference, what was our winning move going to be. Then, the question came: “Who is going to work on this?” Who has time away from their day job?
I volunteered for the venue research. I’ve been to conferences before, but never worked one or started one from the ground up. I was excited for the new adventure. I was going to help make the first conference at Rhythm Systems a success. So, I started the groundwork. I called hotels, conference centers, and country clubs in the Charlotte area. “You are starting late,” I was told. “We are already booked.” “We don’t have that kind of space available.” Were we really late?
Luckily, with the help of the executive team who had experience with this venue, the search led to the Hilton Center City in Charlotte. They were available, and they had the space that fit our needs. The sales team at the Hilton Center City were so pleasant to work with, easy to reach, easy to ask questions, available to met whenever we wanted a site visit - you name it, the staff at Hilton Center City Charlotte was top notch. The details of the conference could not get started without a venue. Once the venue and date were booked, we were on the line to produce the best conference we could.
We then introduced the Hilton to the Rhythm Systems team at one of our monthly team meetings. We took a tour, showing the general session area and breakout rooms. The entire time I was hoping everyone would love it and feel at home for our first ever Breakthrough Conference. Then, we had a lovely dinner at the Coastal Kitchen, the restaurant inside the Hilton. Again, the wait staff and food was top notch. I was beginning to see a pattern with the Hilton and thoroughly believed this conference was going to be a success.
Luckily for me, by this time, we had hired Alison Brown who would project manage the conference details. With her skill and expertise and the rest of the Rhythm Systems team, this was going to be a conference to remember.
Fast forward to the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. Day 1 of the 2015 Breakthrough Conference was complete. I was driving my long 45-minute trek home. I believe a smile was on my face the entire time. It WAS such a successful day! Guests were happy, learning and networking, rooms were gorgeous, food was fantastic, and everything ran on time. I could not have asked for a better place to have our first ever Breakthrough Conference than the Hilton Center City Charlotte.
And, I can't wait to return to this venue for 2016!