OK, so we need to set the scene for this one. Paul declares that under no circumstances is he going to the international client reception. We try (and fail) to find the "special client leaders" reception. We stood in the foyer at the alloted time but the payphone didn't ring with the next clue for the actual location...so we set off to get something to eat and walking past the international reception, Paul says, "OK, let's go in there for a bit but we are out by 7" (which was about 10 minutes), finally dragged him away about 8-ish. Anyone else know that was going to happen?
Soooo, international (certainly more people than the horror Helen and I experienced in Baltimore) lots of Bb people, some new UK faces and some old UK faces - you know who I mean. Good to get the chance to catch up with Demetra (who says hi everyone), Aaron Goldstein (still laughing and looking confused) and Paul Grist (one of my fave Bb people ever who I haven't seen since his Edinburgh humilification, it was great to catch up). Carl O'Keefe, Joe Mitchell and Paul Helm set up some kind of scousers-by-the-bar special interest group and various US-Bb people kept asking me really difficult questions. The nice lady from Reading tried to get me to explain our entire portal strategy in 5 minutes, Juan Luca (Head of International) tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a payrise for me with Paul. Aaron and Carl had clearly got the "try to weave the word 'outcomes' into every client conversation" corporate memo, Demetra had not (thank goodness). UofLeeds people made quite an impression on Paul and Mary for very different reasons. I got an invite to Amsterdam to run some staff development sessions for the sales team, to tell them "fully and frankly" what it is like from the client end...hmmmm...I think I could do that.
But the big news of the event was that there was pineapple on the buffet so Paul was happy and Mary and I were spared the anticipated pineapunt (trekking from restaurant to restaurant trying to find one that sells pineapple). Dinner later was interesting (Paul's turn to choose) not too bad but we did all wimped out of trying the "cheeseburger pizza". So you see, Boston, not just portmanteau words but also portmanteau food :0)