It’s Gonna Be a Good Life

2011 is coming to an end, so I thought I would blog about the year that has come to pass.

For the first time in a number of years I can look back at the past year of my life and smile and I can think about the future and be hopeful for what is ahead.

I cannot think of anything notable that happened in the first six months of 2011, but the second half of the year has proven to drastically alter the life I was leading.

On July 6th, I wrote two blog posts, one of which was 27. I was on the precipice of turning another year older. I was reflecting on the state of my life in comparison to the life I’d imagined I’d be leading in my mid to late 20s. I was nearly 27 and my life was not really my own and was nothing as I had imagined. I was determined to make a change, though fearful that I would make this pledge and still not be able to hold true to it and make changes in my life to find some form of happiness.

My first step towards getting what I wanted was to get out there and make an effort. For several years past, due to circumstances I’d resigned to a life of solitude. I rarely left my house (sad I know), never met new people, rarely talked to friends who were living their lives across the province, country and globe. In short I didn’t get out much and I’d made myself a bit of a social outcast and I did not like that version of myself a whole lot.

For at least a year I’d been saying I’d start going to #gdldn and I’d always managed to come up with excuses of why not to, mostly I didn’t have a car or money to get there, which while true, I probably could have found a way around. So on June 6th, the date of my 27 blog I attended my first geek dinner and stretch my comfort zone and attempted to re-engage with the world around me and (relatively) local community. I decided to put real people to the tweeps I’d been following for months and in some cases years.

I have to say I’m really glad that I ventured out to #gdldn that first time, so glad that I have gone back every month since. I have met great people and started to (I would argue) form decent acquaintances and maybe even friendships. A lot of the people I have met inspire me, intimidate me and challenge me to really strive to be the person I want to be. At the same time while these people inspire, intimidate and challenge me, they also make me realize that we all face our own challenges and that no one’s life is perfect and it is okay to not have everything figured out all of the time. So to all of the #gdldn crowd, thank you for making me feel like a part of something good.

That may not be the turning point of the year, but I think it definitely played a part. The other turning point of the year also happened in July. I had been furiously applying for jobs, determined to find something before or shortly after my 27th birthday. There were probably about 6 jobs that I thought might be a good fit. After two strong (in my mind) interviews, I was offered the position of Social Media Specialist at the London Convention Centre and before the end of July I was in signing my contract ready to start my new job.

Starting August 15th, I was (and am) the Social Media Specialist at the London Convention Centre. I always said I wanted to find a job that felt right that I could say I love. I’d walked away from a couple of job opportunities because it just hadn’t felt right to me. I wanted a job that I loved, surrounded by good people, because for me that is when I do my best work and am challenged to be my best. After 4 months, I think it is safe to say I have found a job that I love, surrounded by a great team. I remember in previous jobs I’d hit that afternoon wall at about 2pm and be stuck watching the minutes slowly tick by, and that rarely ever happens in this job. I enjoy what I am doing and always have work to be done. I feel like the people I work with value my thoughts and the work that I do and they actually look to me for ideas and answers, which is a great feeling. I look forward to getting up every morning and going to work and that is really all I ever wanted in those three miserable years of job hunting. I wanted a job that I looked forward to going to every day and a job that interested and challenged me. A number of people at work have commented on the fact that I am always smiling or that I always seem to be smiling and I have to say it is easy to smile when you are truly happy in your life and doing something that you love.

I love what am doing at work, but I also love the people who I work with and I say that sincerely. I have made great friendships with a number of people and I would trade my staff for anything. It is easy to do good work when you are having fun and I think we are often having a lot of fun with each other and when we’re not, I think we’re quite good at supporting each other through hard days, or difficult times, which is really nice. I cannot thank my two girls enough for keeping me from being a sobbing mess in the days after I found out someone I’d known years ago had passed away far too young.

I have met a lot of great people this year. My geek crowd, I cannot even begin to name all of you who make me smile each an every month and all the tweets in between. My coworkers, who I would argue in a number of cases are more than just coworkers.

None of these new people though replace the old friends who hold permanent places in my heart, like my best friend. As I write this I’m thinking, was it only this summer he got engaged? I think so! Man seems so long ago. This was great news and I was so happy for him and for his fiancée. Typically I dread weddings (sorry Matt), but the way life has been going, I’m actually kind of looking forward to a wedding (not my own … and oh ya I’m assuming I’m invited!).

The more I write this, the more I realize that it is not going to flow or necessarily make any sense. So I’m getting involved more, attending #gdldn, joined Emerging Leaders (finally only been cyberstalking for three years) and I have found an amazing job with fantastic people!

So what could be better?

Oh ya! Music! First off, I love the John Labatt Centre and Chris Campbell you rock!

Looking back at this year in music I have had the opportunity to attend 7 concerts.

First concert was Soundgarden. JLC gave away a bunch of tickets on Social Media Day and it was fantastic. Took my oldest friend along with me for the ride.

Shortly after that I won tickets for Owl City, but unfortunately could not make it to Toronto Mid-week to attend.

After that I wont tickets to see U2 Live at Rogers Centre on MY BIRTHDAY! Seeing U2 Live was a bucket list item for both me and my sister, so of course I now have the title of best sister ever because I took my big sister with me to see U2 live on my 27th birthday! Can I just say wow?! It was phenomenal. I took a bunch of videos, I believe I posted them on my (under utilized) Google+ account. It was a PHENOMENAL concert.

After that I was selected as a #JLCreviewer for Josh Groban. Unfortunately I came down with a horrible flu bug or something of a similar nature and was unable to attend. Hoping I get another opportunity to be a #JLCreviewer. I was campaigning to be a reviewer for Simple Plan on Feb 20th, but keep reading and you’ll see why I may not need to be rewarded that opportunity and those tickets.

Right after that I found out I’d won front row tickets for the Moody Blues at the JLC. Not necessarily my cup of tea, but as my Dad was/is a huge fan and it was right before his birthday, they made a fantastic present. The concert was in September and while my Mom wasn’t thrilled being front Row my Dad had an Amazing night! So thank you Live Nation Ontario who made that happen!

After winning those tickets and before that concert, the JLC made another dream come true and myself with two friends and my sister with two of her friends … two single gals and four Mom’s went to see NKOTBSB and O.M.G. that was a show to never forget, I mean, I know it is apples and oranges, but the entertainment value of that show rivalled the U2 show that  was just out of this world. I would hazard to say that Donny Wahlberg’s body help to elevate that show to that level. It was music of my childhood and youth and I shared it with my sister and one of my oldest friends and four others. I don’t think I’ve ever screamed so much, though I’m pretty sure that will change in the coming months.

And now here is the BIGGEST Music news for 2011.

That’s right, I entered a contest to see Marianas Trench live on a lark. Figured what did I have to lose and heck if I won that would be pretty freakin amazing. I didn’t think I stood the snowballest of chances. In fact, I’d forgotten that I’d entered the contest and that there was even a contest. Forgotten until my phone started vibrating the night of Dec 21st and it was a message from a rep at 604 records saying I’d won two tickets to see Marianas Trench stage side and hang out with the guys! O.M.G.! Ya right! I’ve watched the above video about 100 times just to make sure that I didn’t dream it. Now I haven’t talked to the rep yet, but I’m pretty sure I will be at the Simple Plan concert on Feb 20th, which is featuring Marianas Trench and I will be stage side for the show hanging out with the guys of Marianas Trench, which will be unreal and I sincerely hope I can keep my crush on Mike Ayley under control. As I was saying before I may not need the #JLCreviewer opportunity for this concert, but please keep my name in the running until I hear for sure that that is the show I will be attending. Oh and I will still be reviewing that concert if I am there, likely from stage side and hopefully they will let me take pictures!

So lets see, social life, heading in the right direction, job, is excellent, my 2011 concert going experiences have rocked and I have Hedley and Matt Nathanson (ok Kelly Clarkson, but he is opening for her) already set in 2012. And maybe (que long ramble of a run on blog sentence), possibly, there may be a guy in my future, maybe, who knows, there is a possibility of one, we will see, that is all I will say.

2011 has gone my way and 27 has certainly started to transform my life into everything I expected it to be by my late 20s. I still have 7 months left of 27 and I am determined to make the most of them. 27 is going to be my year, the started to everything I ever wanted!

So here’s to all that 2011 gave me and here is to everything 2012 has in store, I cannot wait to see it all unfold!

My First Week

I survived my first week of my new job!

Ok I more than survived, I think it went well and I really love what I am doing so far.

The first day was your standard “Tours and HR” day. So it was relatively uneventful. I had a meeting first thing in the morning with my boss Darrin and he went over the marketing plan for the LCC with me and what my role was and who was in what department.  After that tagged along on a facility tour with some guests. After that I had a brief sit down at my desk and then went to a first day lunch with my boss to better get to know each other. When I returned I spent most of the afternoon doing all the HR stuff and another facility tour from a different perspective. I had a bit of time to play with the social media, but not much before the day was over.

The rest of my week was filled with meetings with each of the departments heads. First was Darrin on my first day, then Lori (GM) on my second day, followed by  Chris (Event Planning) on the third day, Kent (Sales) and David aka Chef on my fourth day and on Friday I met with one of the other David’s (Event Services).

The rest of the week was filled with social media and other project. My first week was a bit different then what was planned because due to unforeseen circumstances my boss wasn’t there from Wednesday to Friday. Luckily though everyone is incredibly nice, helpful and open to things that I have to offer.

I basically had one stupid question a day this week. I don’t remember all of them, but I remember some.

Day one was how to get out of the office at the end of the day, I found myself locked in and I didn’t want to play with any of the locks in case that messed with building security.

Day two was how to dial outside of the office, I was fairly sure it was 9 like it was everywhere else, but I thought I would ask.

Day four was where to find the chef and how to get the printer to print in colour.

I can’t remember what day three and five were.

 

While my job is “Social Media Specialist” I am definitely more than that. I am more a Marketing/Communications/Social Media Specialist, but that is far too long to fit on a business card.

Day two I got asked to create jpeg’s of a file to send out to someone, which I was more than capable of doing. Day four I made some temporary business cards for myself and Lina, our newest Sales Manager who started a week before I did. We were going to Business After Five and Lina has some meetings next week, so we needed some cards. Having made my own business cards before, and having the template in the branding package that was pinned to my bulletin boards, it only took about an hour to put together cards for myself and Lina.

I made a couple good catches this week on things that had been previously missed. I also made some suggestions on a couple of things. I changed our Twitter handle from LondConvCentre to LdnCC, which is shorter and hopefully easier for people to remember. I also changed the name on the account, so that we are now showing up in search results when people type london convention centre.

I met with Erin, our account manager from Echidna on Tuesday and got a quick run through on the website. I made my first updates that afternoon and I managed to do it without breaking the website! I was pretty excited.

Tuesday I got most of our social media back up and running, posting to both Facebook and Twitter, I need to find some good content for LinkedIn this coming week.

Thursday I finished my first blog and posted it to the website. I was pretty excited. I really wanted to see how many people have read the blog, but unfortunately I’m having trouble finding the analytics for it.

Friday was an awesome day, I got approval for my iPad for work, so after work, I went and picked it up and I have spent today setting it up and doing some work from it. I am learning my way around it, but I think I need some tutorials on a couple of apps I was told to download, like evernote. I hear it is great, I’m just not sure how it works.

I am really diving into the social media, we have a huge conference this week, AMO Annual Conference, so I am really trying to follow along on what is being said at AMO, about the LCC and engaging the people who are attending.

Everyone I am working with is super nice, very welcoming and very open to what have to offer. Some people are a bit more hesitant to embrace social media, but some others seem quite excited to explore the potential of it.

I am really enjoying this job. In previous jobs I’ve hit that wall in the afternoon. At this job though I am always working on something and enjoying what I am working on. I feel challenged and like I am contributing to the work that is being done, which is a great feeling, especially for the first week. The staff has been incredibly welcoming to me and I cannot convey how great that has been. I feel like I can go to anyone in our office. I also feel like I am being treated like an equal and not like the kid, or the newbie.

I have responsibilities and I am free to take them on without having someone over my shoulder all of the time. Of course the things I do, still go through someone else, but for the most part, I can do my job and be trusted to do it well, and it’s only the first week. I feel very empowered in this position, which is nice. I am not waiting for someone to give me something to do. I have things to do and I am able to go ahead and do them.

So far it is a great fit and I am excited to go into work every day and do my job. Hopefully things keep going this way.

If you have the chance come interact with me on our Facebook Page, on Twitter, on LinkedIn or on the Blog. I need people to help me get conversations going. If I can have people I know help me get conversations going, others will join in because they see it happening and see that it is welcomed.

So in summary, after the first week, I am loving my job and the people who I am working with. I cannot wait to do all of the things I get to do.

Where’s Waldo – or rather Where’s Sarah #mynewjob

With 18 hours until I start my new job (the nerves are kicking in), I think it is now time for me to share with you where you’ll be able to find me starting Monday morning.

A number of you already know because either  a) you are a good detective or b) you have run into me at an event and I have shared the news with you.

Tomorrow I will start my new role as Social Media Specialist with the London Convention Centre.

I look forward to taking on this new role and cannot wait to get to know everyone a the London Convention Centre.

My primary responsibilities will be to manage website content (I’ll do my best not to break the website Echidna!), including the LCC blog, and to manage all social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter).

I will fulfill other duties outside of these, but these will be my main responsibilities and the things you see me doing.

 

Here are all of the links:

London Convention Centre Website

London Convention Centre Blog

London Convention Centre Fan Page (Facebook)

London Convention Centre Group (Linked In)

London Convention Centre Twitter Account (@LondConvCentre)

 

I expect the number of fans, group members and followers to shoot up in the next week because all of you are going to follow me at work right? 

 

Feel free to send me a message to say hi, or to ask questions or make comments.

If you have any suggestions for content that you would like to see discussed on the LCC blog or on any of the social media platforms, feel free to send me a message via the @LondConvCentre twitter account or through my personal @Sadie_Liz account and I will see what I can do to address the topics that you suggest when possible.

Also if you have any favourite resources for any of the following feel free to send them my way, I would love to see them.

– Social Media or Social Media Metrics

– Emerging Technologies

– Conferences/Trade Shows

– Event Planning

– Presenting

– Business Meetings

– Wedding Planning

– Anything else you enjoy

 

Working at the LCC will mean that I am spending my days in London; this will allow me to attend more events and participate in more things happening in the London community. I have already started attending Geek Dinner (#gdldn) and I have joined Emerging Leaders. I look forward to getting involved in more things, including working with the Chamber again, and getting involved with the IABC and other community groups.

Hopefully being in London on a daily basis will allow me to continue to get to know the people I have met over the last couple of months (and maybe years for some) and meet even more great people in the London community.

I look forward to being a part of the London professional community!

Don’t be shy, if you see me in person or online, say hi!

 

 

I really hate being unemployed

I really hate being unemployed …

 

 

 

 

 

 

… so it’s probably a good thing that as of August 15th I will be employed!

 

I won’t share all of the details yet, as I am not sure if  I am able to. I will though say that I have been interviewing for a job in here in London ON. After two rounds of interviews over the last two weeks, I received a call this morning offering me the position. By 1:00 p.m. this afternoon I was at my new place of employment reviewing and eventually signing my contract and receiving some information on my new role.

My start date is August 15th, so on the 15th there will be a blog post (or maybe two, one here and one from my new job) letting you all know where I am and what I am doing.

I will say that this is a full-time, permanent position (providing I make it through probation, but I don’t see that being a problem), that is in my field and here in the London area.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me on my quest to find employment, it has meant a lot. The 3 year process to finding a permanent position was tough and having people to help my keep my spirits up was invaluable to me. A lot of people told me many times along the way that I should give up on London and move to a bigger city. I am glad that I did not though, because this area is my home and it is where I want to be. I look forward to being part of the London working community with all of the brilliant minds who are also working, or searching for work.

Thank you all for your support to this point, I look forward to being more involved in the London community as I take on my new role.