Yesterday I learned of the passing of I. M. Pei, a world renowned architect. His more notable works include the Louvre pyramid in Paris, and the John F. Kennedy Library in Massachusetts. The sad news announcement brought back memories of my encounter of working with him, not directly, but indirectly. 21 years ago, I had the pleasure of organizing and working on a conference that featured him as the keynote speaker. I can still recall the excitement among my colleagues at the asset management company where I worked in New York City. Little did I know then that my itinerary planning skills were being honed to cater to the rich and famous, and which I would also use to render service to others many years later.
In the financial boutique, the finance planners were some of the brightest and best in their field. The small group was wealthy, educated and tight-knit. They were hand-picked by the company’s owner and were backed by a prominent Asian tire company. In retrospect, the planning of the conference taught me the nuts and bolts of itinerary planning. No stone was left upturned and no expense spared to ensure the conference was spectacular, auspicious and impressive.
The event was held in Paris and a few of the top brass flew to the event on board the supersonic jet – Concorde. Booking those tickets were also an exciting to-do. Obviously, this notable transportation had to be booked months in advance and cost thousands of dollars. Before the conference, some colleagues flew to Indonesia for custom made dress fittings for the event. The gift tokens, including the specially crafted wooden pens in bamboo cases, rice paper note-pads, name tags, and other fine touches helped to make the event extra special. Many hours of paying attention to every detail, meeting with managers, consulting with business partners, briefing and debriefing the CEO on the organizational progress was stressful at times.
However, working with the office of I. M. Pei was professional and cordial. No major or unrealistic demands were made on his behalf. Even though I did not attend the event, from all accounts, the function went off without a hitch. I take this opportunity to offer condolences to the Pei family.
Community Peeps, organizing and planning travel itineraries is for everyone, whether it is a large, small, executive or individual account,. Still, this particular event was one I could hardly forget. Remembering how my itinerary planning skills were developed over the years and by what means is humbling. Paying attention to every detail then helped to perfect my craft, but now, serves to ensure plans meet my customer’s satisfaction today. Do you have a special skill you use to benefit others even though at the time you only considered it a part of your 9 – 5 job? Share your experience in the comment box below.
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