Wednesday, November 19, 2008


This week I had an opportunity to attend the Midwest Multifamily Education Conference and Exposition. Wow, that's a mouthful. The conference is an annual event put on by the Indiana Apartment Association bringing together vendors and industry professionals to learn and share information regarding the multifamily industry.

This is the 5th year I have been able to attend, and each year I have always looked to walk away with just one idea or concept. As the title of this post suggests, my one thing from this year's convention is "Passion." As I sat through presentations from industry experts like Lisa Trosien and Lori Snider, I began to see what they had in common. They did not share the same information, they did not sound the same, and their slide shows were not cookie cutter, but they were extremely passionate about their topic. They were not hired with the intention to be motivational speakers, but that's the big piece I took away from them. They share their ideas and knowledge with conviction. Regardless of the tidbits of knowledge I extracted from their presentations, I'm so glad I was able to attend their presentations just to see the passion they put into their work.

While it should be expected for professional speakers to demonstrated great passion, they were not the only people to do so. The trade show floor was the ulitmate example to compare the passionate vs. not-so-much-so-passionate. I love walking up and down the aisles of a trade show. As a marketing director and creative type I feel obligated to critique each booth. For some reason this year as I wandered around I found myself not even giving the time of day to companies with booths that did not show me some PASSION. It's almost as if I didn't even care about a company this year unless they we're standing out from the crowd. Unfortunately there were only a handful of booths that really stood out to me. How sad is that? How many years have companies been doing trade shows? If you're not going to stand out from the crowd why bother? For those companies that did stand out I could tell they were passionate about their business. I wonder what motivates those other companies to even show up?

So, if you're still reading at this point (all 3 of you that read this regularly), the one final story on passion comes from someone that wasn't even part of the convention. He did, however, make himself a memorable part of the action. The shoe-shine guy at the Marriott (while questionably looney-tunes), had more passion for shining shoes than anyone I've ever seen. For two days straight I heard more stories about this (now semi-famous) shoe-shine guy following people into the hotel bar, following them into the convention, offering to go get someone's shoes from their room for them, and constantly harassing people that would walk by multiple times that had yet to get their shoes shined. While I'm not sure if Mr. Shoe-Shine was the best example of what a Marriott was going for with customer service, I have to give credit to the guy for his passion and dedication to shining shoes. In the end, people told the stories and seemed a bit annoyed, but they still had their shoes shined and now I'm blogging about it.

In summary, show some passion in 2009 folks. Lead some others to find their passion. Get excited about what you do, and share that excitement. There is so much negative news going on right now it can be easy to get caught up in all that. Don't do it. Be a part of a positive revolution. OK, enough now, go be passionate about something!!! Enjoy your day!
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