CFUnited 2010, what can I say? My experience was awesome! My heart is filled with smiles, good times, great people, and wonderful memories. It was a bumpy road to get there but it was a labor of love. I am not a developer but "I heart CF" and I am in love with the CF community! This is an amazingly intelligent, generous, hard-working, hellafun, and genuinely NICE group of people. CFUnited leaves me this year gushing with gratitude. I will list a few of my appreciations to some key folks and if I stupidly leave anything out, please know I am still recovering from this whole thing.
Attendees: First of all your bona fide reputation proceeds you. Lansdowne staff has communicated that they think you are one of the nicest groups the have worked with and that they have truly enjoyed working with you in just about every way. I agree with them 10 fold. Every person I interacted with felt like an old dear friend, even if it was the first time we met. Every person who came by the registration desk and smiled, said "Hey, " and gave feedback was, to me, the beating heart of this event. We did this for you and you paid us back what we lacked in financial compensation in pleasantries, understanding, appreciation, and kind words. I deeply hope that you got your monies worth and then some from this year's event because our highest hope was to please you.
Advisory Board: We relied so heavily on your expertise and come to find out there was even more support available that we did know to tap in to. A ton of thanks for your work, diplomacy, and dedication. You are what has shaped and sharpened the content of this event and much of its fabulous reputation as an event of rich experience and learning is due to your input and guidance. This year, and I imagine in years past, you also felt and fielded some of the afore mentioned bumps in the road. You reacted with patience, support and assistance. You are such amazing leaders, advisors, and advocates of the community.
Speakers: You are the rock stars, you are the main event. So many quality people, who not only show up and do their thing with total finesse, generating energy and awe. People who also promote and facilitate creating a quality attendee experience before, during, and after the event. When you get them in front of their audience they never disappoint one fan and they are willing to sign every autograph, so to speak. As a teacher myself, I have immense respect for their willingness to give of themselves to light the way for others. You did so many things to make it special and to honor CFUnited as part of your presentation. I was really touched by that and I adore you for doing so. I also am really appreciative of those who stepped up to fill unexpected gaps in the schedule and those who offered to. We were not able to take on a lot of other speakers who I am sure would have done the same. All in all, speakers are the veins of that carry that carry the love out and then bring it back in.
Sponsors: These folks I worked closely with to make it a worthwhile endeavor and meet their sponsorship goals. I thank you so much for investing in this event and enriching the attendee experience. To me, sponsorship says, "This is the place to be and these are the people to meet." The expo floor is where sponsors and attendees network and make connections that grow business on both sides. I enjoyed working with every sponsor and I hope they can say the same of me. I think the sponsors really bring so much to the event beyond the swag they pass out. I deeply appreciate the interest and support. You are all welcome to borrow my car.
Tara: Believe it or not she is a full-time college student. From all her help and hard work last year, to co-running this event by my side this year, you should all be as impressed as I am with this chic. What it takes to do what she did is having a highly focused, organized, serious, dedicated, and mature work ethic. And those terms only begin to humbly describe her. Then you add her alluring charisma, her tenacity, her personality and outlook, her spunk, and her energy. What you have is, by and large, the finest person I have ever worked with on anything ever! And did I mention, she is still in college? Or did I mention she has 3 other jobs (server in an upscale restaurant, B'Nai Mitzvah Party Motivator on weekends, and Brand Ambassador in tri-state area cities) but that's not all. Did I mention she is an accomplished musician who takes weekly lessons and practices regularly? Did I mention she also baby-sits for her brothers and for other youngsters, all without missing a beat on what was needed from her for this particular endeavor? I have told many people that she is a soldier and I would be on the front lines with her any day. The future for Tara is limitless and the appreciation I have for her is bigger than the sky. We will all say "We knew her when... " - just watch.
Elliott: I call him The Boy Wonder but really that's just cause of his baby face. Really if we are going to assign him to a super hero, he is Batman. This man created, nay, invented, nay, pioneered the Stellr Intranet/CFUnited site and system, the Bat-cave, if you will. Here we have another young up and comer, a professional/student who walks tall with the seasoned gurus, and makes the untouchable look pocket sized. Like Batman, Elliott is your Everyman and your Crusader, your highly regarded authority genius and your down in the trenches people person. Not bestowed with any supernatural power, just that damn good when it comes to intelligence and chivalry. Not to mention one of the most popular speakers via votes and session attendance, boo yah! Though he is significantly younger than me, I have always looked up to him. He is an amazing mentor and a dear friend who works hard to keep the city safe.
Caroline and Lansdowne: Conference Planner extraordinaire, Caroline is so fit for her job and represents the Lansdowne standard beyond perfection. She did everything for this event with such eloquence and care, she took the utmost amount of importance in every detail. I worked with her so closely and am blessed to have had such a good planner and such a good friend through this whole year. And Lansdowne staff Bree, Mark, Denise, Mike, Sheila, Bob, James, Julie, Stephan, Lisa, etc. and the numerous techs and tenders who did us so wonderfully, you are so superb. I am so impressed and I am so grateful. To do these folks justice I feel like I have to invent new words because I can find none to truly express the magnitude of my appreciation. You held our hands and you had our backs, and SO much more. All the while, you did it with style!
Michael and TeraTech: Michael founded this event and has gone out of his comfort zone on several occasions, especially this past year to preserve and maintain the culture of CFUnited. The TeraTech company has rolled up their sleeves and put in a ton of behind the scenes effort over the years, often with little recognition. The other OGs (Original Gangstas) of this phenomenon are Kim, Alison, Ajay, David, and Nii. Beyond that there is a myriad of employees and interns that had their hands in the success of this event over the years and in 2010. They deserve a medal of honor for their willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty when needed; for you and for us, for each other, for CFUnited, TeraTech, and the CF community.
The Volunteers and the CF Mic Up Contributors: The volunteers Anant, Lola, Vicky, and Oguz kicked ass! They were dependable, flexible, and generous. They all really shined under pressure and I am so pleased by each of them. Furthermore, the CF Mic Up was entirely planned and executed by Vicky, Charlie, Sid, Josh, Jeff, Chaz and other great folks (not us) who wanted to lend their time, talent, and equipment to making this a fun and memorable experience. They lugged their equipment on planes and toiled over plans to provide a really great experience and make the absolute most of CFUnited. I am totally tickled pink that they did! Karaoke to "Love Shack" was just what the doctor ordered for me personally that night. I am glad to have the opportunity for that and I know so many others were too. Hats off to the party people! Silver sequined hats at that.
Nafisa and Liz: It just wouldn't be right not to mention these ladies. They have been growing this event for many years and left behind enormous shoes to fill. Liz helped to grow the event from CFUN to CFUnited and was behind many of the creative ideas and branding improvements over the years. Nafisa was key in creating a game plan to keep the conference afloat in tough times. I am so glad they were part of the 2010 experience and I am honored they came to support in one way and another. Both have moved to other endeavors but remain dedicated to CFUnited. Nafisa must be recognized for her effort early in planning and her loyalty to the event thereafter and I appreciate the support she has offered along the way in true big sister style. Both ladies offered sentiments of congratulations and pride that meant so much to me.
It doesn't seem like 12 years since the first CFUN, but time can fly fast when you are having so much fun! I feel sad that this is the last year for CFUnited in it's current form and given the repeated requests from everyone for a "CF-Re-United" or perhaps "CF Reanimated" next year and interest from several people in helping create it I am hopeful that this wonder gang will be back another time. Perhaps the format will be different, perhaps a different location, but what will be the same is the love of ColdFusion and sharing information and ideas with others! Again, I sincerely hope I have not overlooked any person in this post, as I am still recovering from the whirlwind that was CFUnited 2010.