Event Planning Quote Board

As I've mentioned before, the job I've had since leaving the Bush Administration revolves around "projects" that change frequently.  So in the course of about 5 years, I've done everything from helping Federal staff write strategic plans, to running a Speakers Bureau for government offices, to conducting analysis on how effective emergency management processses are, to a whole host of other things. And one of my favorite things I've ended up doing a few times is managing large events.

Events in the government serve several strategic purposes. They can be a way to inform people, network with people, gain good will, gather information, etc.  I did some events when I was a Political Appointee as well, when I Advanced President and Mrs. Bush (like my story here).  And besides the funny things that occurred then, I have tons of other stories about the things you encounter when dealing with elected officials, the press, the public, etc.

I'm currently in the final stretch of planning my largest event yet. It's a "summit" that brings together the "leaders" and "top brains" in a certain area of interest. Often with these things, I need to deal with other subcontractors besides my own team of staff from my company. And often those Other contractors .... let's just say "under perform."  Or, to quote one of my staff members who was recently describing this co-contractor working situation, "Dana was basically given a steaming pile of crap and had to turn it into something good."

THAT is going on the next revision of my resume.

Anyway, I give all that background so that you sort of have an idea of what's been keeping me at work until 10pm lately. And also so that I can now start:

The Event Planning Quote Board!

Because there are so many times I want to share with the world the hilarious (at least to me, you may be like "wha?...") discussions that inevitably take place when people are sleep-deprived, stressed, and working in this particular city. I'll try to continue to add to this occasionally, but here's some somewhat paraphrased gems I've collected through the years thus far:

-"If Pat Robertson calls for me, just let me know!"

-"I've now in the course of my career had reason to say: 'I'm calling on behalf of the President of the United States,' 'Yes we can let Bill Gates know that,' and now.....'yes ma'm, we've secured a room in which you can periodically pump your breastmilk......'"

-"The Secretary of Energy is trying to shut down my computer right now!"

-"No, his title should actually read '*John Doe, Program Manager for *X, Department of *X, Office of *X, within the office of *X....he has like the Russian Nesting Doll of titles"

Typical conversation between me and my staff:
-Me: "Where's *Andre? Did he make coffee?"
-Staff: 'No, he has his MRI today."
-Me: "How selfish...."
-Staff: "Right?"

-Shortly after that, I get an email from *Andre. My response: "Please tell me you are emailing from inside the MRI machine. Because I'm pretty sure I could get you a company award for that....."
-*Andre: "Sorry boss, I'm back at my desk now. But that would've been epic. Can I still get an award though? Or 3 gold stars?"
-Me: "No."
-Him: "Oh ok, just don't mind me if you pass by and I'm weeping in my cubical...."
-Other co-worker: "That's Dana's management style, she rules with an iron fist."
-Me: "I find people respond to harshness. Either that or it just breaks them down enough to where they stop fighting. Either way, it works for me."
Them: Silence....
-Convo between me and a coworker, trying to attend a "strongly encouraged" evening work event

5:00pm, him: "Are we going to this thing?"
Me: "Yes, I plan to for sure."
5:30, him: "I think I can leave by 6 - can you?"
Me: "Yes, I'll try to work towards that."

6:00, him, walking past me, yells out: "6:15-?"

6:30, me running past him: "7:00! definitely 7!"

7:00, him coming over to my desk: "I really think I can leave by 7:15"

7:30, me: "This is not happening....."

10:00pm that night, me, to whoever else is still around: "You know, every morning, I come in and preemptively put down 9 hours as my estimated work time in the log-in system. Then every evening I go to change that to whatever I actually ended up working, and I laugh and laugh at how naive Morning Dana was....."
-From coworker, non-chalant as if it changes nothing in my planning: "Oh, did someone tell you that Will Smith might be interested in coming to the event now?..."


*As always, names and titles changed to protect my career. I mean the innocent.