Recently I had the opportunity to be the Master of Ceremonies for the SMPS New York Liberty Ball hosted at the NYC Fire Department Museum. When I was asked, I didn’t know what to think. Even though I am in front of rooms of people almost every day at work, I have never had to perform as an MC. The prospects both terrified and excited me (I’ve never been sought out for my entertainment skills.). However, as a result of my experience playing MC for a night, I was reminded how essential it is we celebrate.
No amount of planning can prepare you for the experience
As the days clicked by and the planning calls increased I started to understand the thoughtful planning that so many put into this event. No stone was left unturned. No detail unresolved. And as expectations for the event mounted, so did my nervousness about delivering as MC. However, when I started to write my opening statements, the meaning of this night came clear, and my nervousness abated.
What makes a true professional?
A true professional does the job no matter what the conditions are. They can be counted on no matter what to show up and deliver. In the best cases, not only are excuses not allowed but doing the job with excellence is the only acceptable outcome. Tonight, we get to celebrate those who personify this idea: The Bold, The Brilliant, The Brave.
How inspiring is it to be at the NYC Fire Museum where the stories of the committed efforts of those who have cared for the well-being of this community are kept and told? And how germane, that tonight, in this place of heroes, we get to celebrate marketing excellence in the AEC industry. An industry which, in large part, is responsible for the creation of this great city in which so many thrive.
If you don’t recognize what has been accomplished, was it accomplished?
I arrived early to see caterers running around setting things up, the AV team working out bugs, and the SMPS volunteers fretting over the chairs and tables. I began to get a feel for how much this event means to the several hundred people who were about to arrive. We were here to recognize the accomplishments of a group of dedicated professionals. And when I say dedicated, I mean that most of their year is spent head down getting work done over long hours where the stakes are high. After all, this group represents some of the most renowned Architecture, Engineering and Construction companies in the world. And this event is a rare opportunity to recognize their efforts and celebrate what they individually and collectively made possible.
It’s not about the celebration, but what the celebration invites.
In our day-to-day working lives, I don’t think we fully appreciate the importance of celebrating. Even for our team of eight, it is difficult to carve out time to just be with each other, reflect on what’s happened, and celebrate what we’ve accomplished. But what results when we do goes way beyond the event itself.
What I saw unfolding at the Liberty Ball was a beautiful tribe being built. I saw people that, through this organization, have achieved incredible professional success. I saw friendships being cultivated and introductions being made. And, I saw lots of hugs, smiles, tears, and applause. Most of all, I saw confidence. Confidence that can come only from knowing there is a thriving community of support that will be there for you. And through that community, the fire to take on what seems to be impossible can not only ignite but also grow into a blaze of actions that collectively can change the world.
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