ATA Conference – The Human Aspect

Those annoying pink ribbons…they have their purpose, but I despise them.  I feel like I’m advertising my newbie status for all my colleagues to see.  Lest I feel lonely, scores of colleagues surround me also sporting pink ribbons.

Due to my Sandler training, I attend functions with goals.  On Wednesday, October 24, the Welcome Reception was celebrated outside the Hilton San Diego Bayfront on the back lawn.  The food was tasty, and I was grateful for the heat tower.  Afterward, I attended the Division Open House.  My goal was to make two connections.  I exceeded that by two – Brigette from Germany, Maryam, Esther, and Victor.

Meeting people in person gives credibility to the names one is accustomed to reading in the ATA Chronicle.  I believe it important to know the individuals who serve the organization to which I belong.  Candidates were grilled Thursday morning before the voting.  Although it can be somewhat dry, it is a necessary evil to ensure competent direction.

Thursday, October 25, we lunched with our favorite famous entrepreneurial linguists and twins, Judy and Dagy Jenner.  I am a client and colleague of Judy, but it was the first time I met Dagy.  My greatest shock is how eerily identical they are in person.  I am not only proud to be her colleague, but also to share the same affinity for the ultimate top-notch Opi Nail Lacquer, Bogotá Blackberry.

Since the conference was my first, I attended the Spanish Language Division dinner that evening.  Each member had an opportunity to introduce herself and her specialty.  This dinner afforded me the chance to identify key colleagues with whom I wanted to connect.  Mission accomplished:  Maricela, Janice, Miriam, and Francesca.  The courses at Buca di Beppo’s were delectable as well.

Friday, October 26, I met some new colleagues at breakfast.  I made it my business to reach out to attendees, first-timers or not, without regard to language pair.  At lunch, my husband and I ate with Janice, our new acquaintance from the previous evening.  She brought another colleague, Virginia, so another successful connection was made.  In the evening, I attended the Medical and Interpreters Division dinner, another opportunity to form quality and strategic alliances.

Saturday, October 27, was wrap-up day.  The Closing Reception provided one last opportunity to network and strengthen newly formed contacts.  By this time, we shed our pink ribbon status.  Finally, the time arrived for my favorite human aspect – Conference Dance Party.  I turned off my networking mode to have fun.  However, even there, between the dancing, three more contacts were under my belt.  It was refreshing to observe translators and interpreters cutting up the rug in true, joyous fashion, a stark contrast to the lawyers’ dance.  My husband and I got our salsa on.  I danced until my feet hurt.

Late Sunday morning, Jeff and I walked to Embarcadero Park.  We happened upon Maricela Villalobos, a certified court interpreter who had been running.  We conversed about the conference, the ATA, and the outlook for interpreters in South Carolina.

Interpreters and translators – people skills are indispensible.  I found the ATA conference to be a valuable tool in networking.  If you missed it, San Antonio wants you November 6-10, 2013.  Get your boots on tight!

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