I may only be 3 weeks out of my MBA program but I still felt obliged to attend the NAWMBA (National Association of Women MBA) annual conference in Anaheim this past weekend. It began on Thursday, but my classmate, Karissa, and I left early on Friday morning. We planned on spending the night in the home of the conference, the Disneyland Hotel, not too shabby. We arrived, had a quick breakfast, and headed to our first lecture of the day. We chose to hear Maggy Siegel who is the current President and COO of Dylan’s Candy Bar. She gave us all an inspirational speech and at the end she was kind enough to allow us to try their newest product called Dirt Balls. That is as UG as it sounds, malt balls dipped in white chocolate and then covered in cookie crumbs.
I talked to her afterward and recommend that they open up their LA store in Pasadena, she agreed but said it wasn’t right for the first LA location. I understand, however, I want these yummy dirt balls in close proximity. They were delish and I am anxious to try more of this yummy brand that Dylan Lauren, daughter of Ralph Lauren, built. The next talk we heard was given by Robin Jay, author of The Art of the Business Lunch. She gave us great tips around creating wow experiences, importance of choosing the right restaurant, dining pitfalls, and mentorship. I learned two great tips from her. First, you know what bread plate and water glass is yours by remembering BMW (Bread, Meal, Water). She also said that no office would be angry if you showed up with warm bagels, cream cheese, and lox. I couldn’t agree more; it was great Jewish mother advice and business advice from a women who has had more than 3,000 business lunches. After a day of various lectures and panels we received tickets in to the park and were invited for a private reception in a hidden area of Frontier Land. The event was put on by the sponsors, Walmart and Rice University, and featured snacks, beverages, and a very special guest.
Our special guest was Minnie Mouse, who came on her own. No Mickey in hand. It was impressive and perfect for a group of kick butt women who ready to hold the next level of C Level jobs around the world. The only man in attendance was the delicious Mickey pretzels, which were devoured by the women. Having the only male presence in an edible form was perfection. It was interesting because have never really considered myself a girls girl. Josie and a handful of maybe 2 or 3 more girls make up my girly friendship circle. It was very interesting to see so many women, most of which are probably more comfortable with men, interacting with one another. Skirt suits and pant suits were everywhere, everything started on time, and all was meticulously run.
While waiting in line for the Matterhorn I sent a tweet asking the best place to eat in the park or Downtown Disney. Someone mentioned Catal in the downtown area. Karissa and I both had mid October birthdays and thought Catal was this was the best place to have a late birthday celebratation. It was a lovely night. We ordered glasses of Riesling, Japanese hamachi (which had tapioca pearls and celery!), shrimp and lobster raviolis with corn, truffle oil, and lobster jus, and paella. Everything was delicious and in a place where everything is ridiculous overpriced, I paid $4.25 for an iced tea at La Brea Bread Company, you may as well have a nice meal.
After dinner we saw the Michael Jackson, “This is It” movie and woke up the next morning for a full day of lectures and panels. The Disneyland Hotel took care of us with a delicious breakfast while listening to the keynote speakers. It may have been Halloween but we still were in suits and just as professional as ever. It was a great, relaxing, and delicious weekend at the Happiest Place on Earth.
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