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My first venture out to New York City as one of the newest additions to the Groups Today family was a lovely, eventful and sweaty time. After enduring an excruciatingly hot summer in Manhattan a few years ago, I jokingly (but seriously) said that I would never go back to New York City during the month of July ever again. I guess the joke is on me! All kidding aside, New York has always held a very special place in my heart, so I was beyond thrilled to learn that the territory I was taking over for Tim Compton included The Big Apple.

Our trip was brief, but efficient! Over the course of only about 52 hours, we were able to get the full NYC experience—plenty of greasy pizza slices included. Through a slew of meetings, coffee dates, lunches and happy hours, Tim was able to introduce me to about a dozen of his closest clients in the city. As Tim's last business venture with Groups Today, the whole underlying intent of the trip was for Tim to "pass the torch" onto me. In any other industry, this situation might have made for a few nerve-wracking and awkward introductions, but I feel like I returned home from our trip a dozen friends richer.

If I could choose one word to describe Tim's partners in NYC (or, as he fondly referred to them, his "NYC Family"), I would have to use the word passionate. Maybe it's a New York City thing, or maybe it's a group travel industry thing—but I have never met so many individuals who are so remarkably passionate about what they do. That level of passion in a work setting is seemingly hard to come by, but it's incredibly infectious when you see it.

Listening to Joe Tropia enthusiastically tell the history of the Blue Man Group and their exciting plans for their 25th anniversary made me excited to be affiliated with such an innovative and iconic show. Standing in the New Amsterdam Theatre while Nicholas Faranda of Disney Theatrical shared his wealth of knowledge on the architecture of the theatre made me feel humbled to stand in such a historically rich space. Hearing Justin Steensma from The Met Opera describe his delightfully evident affinity for the opera inspired me to reawaken my own appreciation for classical music (and to finally watch the movie Moonstruck).

I could go on and on, but then I'd never get to my point. My point is this: Thank you for loving your roles, as it makes it that much easier to love mine. Shout out to Tim Compton for showing me the ropes and for establishing wonderful relationships with wonderful people.

Cheers!

Lauren Abdelkader, media consultant for Groups Today

 

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