Friday, September 25, 2009

Rippling Angelica My "Bouncer" To Work

A few weeks ago I was presenting to the Austin Contact Center Alliance's Symposium 2009. My co-presenter David Godwin of Sneaky Games and I were presenting on how to engage one's workforce through the use of gaming and social networking technology. Before our session a lovely woman by the name of Angelica came into the room where we were setting up to inform us that she would be our room monitor for the morning.

I speak at a lot of events and often at a conference or workshop the organization will provide a room monitor to help answer attendees' questions, direct them to the bathroom, encourage them to fill out their evaluation forms at the end of the session and often introduce the speaker. These people are typically volunteers who have agreed to spend their day helping the conference in this capacity.

Consequently as a speaker I often get into my room way early (it's a habit) and have had the opportunity to witness first-hand how other speakers interact and communicate with their room monitors. To say the least I've witnessed some pretty pathetic treatment of these people. I've seen really egotistical speakers demand cokes or water from their monitor or have some other loftier expectations like carrying their stuff in and out of their sessions. I've seen other speakers outright ignore those room monitors altogether. Some of these speakers are people whom I've admired and followed which proves disappointing to see who they really are offstage.

I have always made it a point to go out of my way to be nice to anyone affiliated with the conference. I find myself rather embarrassed when other speakers don't do the same. It gives our entire profession a bad name.

Well at the Symposium Angelic came in to tell us our session would be starting a few minutes late. She had a great personality though she admitted she was a bit nervous about having to get up and introduce us. I immediately started having some fun with her asking if it would be okay to refer to her instead of our room monitor as our "bouncer" or the "room enforcer." She seemed to really get a kick out of that!

My joking with her seemed to put her at instant ease. After we were setup and basically just waiting for our session to start I went over to her and sat down and started talking to her. I started asking her about herself and what brought her to volunteer at the conference. She proceeded to tell me that she lives in another town just south of Austin but has been trying to secure a new job in Austin and so she's been coming up every single day for months. She mentioned a career counselor had recommended volunteering at this specific conference and that it might give her some excellent exposure into companies that might be hiring.

We probably spent about five minutes chatting altogether but I could instantly tell I liked her. She had a great presence and had a strong determination that a job was out there, she just needed to find it. I mentioned that I knew a lot of people and that she could send me her resume and I would see what I can do. That very night she did just that.

One of the ladies who originally invited me to speak at the Symposium is heavily involved with the City of Austin. I simply asked her if she would be willing to take a look at Angelica's resume and perhaps see if she saw a match for any of the openings they had. I was also hedging my bets a bit as I knew this woman knows a lot of other people who might be interested in meeting an enthusiastic and determined young woman like Angelica.

A week ago I received the following email:

"This is Angelica. I just wanted to thank you for making contact with Jewell. I start work September 28, 2009! You started it all for me. Thank you so much. God bless."

It would have been easy to ignore my "room monitor," lots of speakers do. I could have easily treated her like a volunteer and chose not to waste my time or breath talking with her. I could have been so self-centered that I could have just focused on what I was going to say during my presentation and nothing else. But that isn't me...nor do I suspect it is you.

Ripplers don't just passively sit by and let things happen, they take action. Though admittedly I did nothing more than send a few emails passing on Angelica's resume it was enough to get the Ripples started. And I know without a doubt I did something significant for a young woman that clearly need just a little help at the right time. I was happy to do it.

The end result may have been a job for young Angelica but the real result was in how it made me feel to play a small part in helping her find it.

Ripple On!!!

No comments: