It was our second year attending the World Employment Conference, put on by the Association of Canadian Search Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS) in conjunction with the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (CIETT).

Somewhere the conference gods were smiling down on us; we had amazing weather and a beautiful location! Our venue sat right in the middle of Lake Ontario and downtown Toronto. The views from the conference center made sitting at our booth for any amount of time quite easy. To those of you who work hard to plan the conference venue and make sure the accommodations are just right, thank you!

For anyone who has exhibited in a trade show or conference, you know that often times it can feel like the same routine, with different scenery. It really doesn’t feel like that long ago that Jason and I were setting up the same booth at the TempNet conference in Palm Desert.

Most conferences have the exhibitors come in the morning of to set up, but due to tight time constraints our set up was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. For those of you who don’t travel much for work, it may seem glamorous and exciting to be able to travel to so many different locations. The reality is, when you travel for these types of conferences, you mostly see the airport, the venue and your hotel room.  As luck would have it, on the day we arrived, the BlueJays were hosting the San Francisco Giants only blocks away. Better yet, cheap seats were still available! So Jason and I wasted no time in getting our booth up and prepped for the next day. With the booth ready to go we took a stroll to the ballpark, complete with hotdogs and Cokes.

Most conferences offer a breakfast for exhibitors. Simply stated, all the exhibitors were at their booths and breakfast was served in a location close by. We were fortunate to have several of our Canadian clients and a few of our American clients at the conference. It makes the early morning rise much better when you get to spend time with people you enjoy.

Our booth is big and bright (thanks to Brenda!) and cannot be easily missed. Curious attendees don’t have to wonder what we do; they can easily see it! Traffic flowed well for most of the morning and kept Jason and I busy answering questions and chatting with people we’d met at last year’s conference.

Lunchtime quickly rolled around. We enjoyed a beautiful day on the patio overlooking the lake and joked about some confusion between CA (Canada) and CA (California) (Jason attended both the ACSESS conference and the CSP conference last week). At the time, it was warmer in Toronto than it was in Los Angeles. But that wouldn’t be the only bit of confusion that we had between CA and CA during the conference…

I told Jason that I needed some good material for my blog post, and that thus far is was pretty ordinary.  One must be careful what they wish for! That evening, I took Jason to his hotel to catch an early morning flight to Los Angeles for the CSP conference and drove back through rush hour traffic, uneventfully. I had a late night dinner scheduled at the restaurant at the top of the hotel. It was similar to the Space Needle or other towers that had a rotating dining room to show off the view. I was a little surprised when I stepped out of the elevator to find that is was stationary. Since our dinner was scheduled a little later in the evening, the restaurant wasn’t very busy, allowing me to select where I wanted to sit. Out the window, just across the bay, sat the Billy Bishop Toronto Airport. All the small regional jets land on this island landing strip. With the sun setting and the water sparkling, it was nice to just watch the planes land and take off for a few minutes.

My dinner companions were delightful, the food was wonderful and the scenery was beautiful. As I reached for something on the table I felt my phone drop. This happens to me a lot, hence the soft cover I now have on it to keep it from breaking. Thinking nothing of it, I bent over to realize my phone was not there. It’s not as if it could bounce that far, right? Laughing it off, I got up and started looking for my phone. That’s when I realized that when the restaurant does move, it needs a track to do so. That track was right beside my set, and it wasn’t a shallow reach.

Slightly embarrassed, I called the waiter over and asked if they had a flashlight, as I needed to confirm where my phone was. I certainly knew where it wasn’t. Looking down about a foot, there sat my phone… just out of reach. This must happen pretty frequently, because soon after, another waiter appeared with a long set of tongs to expertly retrieve my phone. Needless to say it went in my pocket for the rest of the night. And… I had my story.

Lucky for me, the rest of the trip was uneventful. Jason made it safely to Los Angeles while I broke down the booth and headed to the airport. It’s always a pleasure to see our friends from past conferences and meet new ones. We look forward to a continuing our relationship with ACSESS and its members.

by Angela Pitts, Director of Technology at Avionte Staffing Software

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