If I could find a way to summarise last week's conference with a short pair of sentences they might be...Thank heavens for the Canadians and The Chinese are coming.
Oh, and now that WWW has stepped down as our global practice head it looks like 'Katy' from Helsinki is the new Queen of the irreducibly complex process diagram.
Everyone worked hard to contribute, but a special mention has to go to Julie and her team for organising the first of several practice gatherings over the years that really felt as if it should lead to the formation of new dendrites between our isolated local consultants.
It was good to see old, relocated acquaintances from the London office again like Nicola and Nina. It was also good for me to jabber away in Spanish with Christian from the Latin American regional marketing team and Iñigo from Madrid. (Why do Guatemalans and Mexicans hate each other so much, Christian asked me!)
And thanks to HS for taking us on a wallet-sapping mall cruise and then helping us celebrate our purchases and the end of the conference by ordering that unforgetable Stag's Leap Napa Valley Cabernet and the Four Graces Oregon Pinot Noir.
There were times in Phoenix when my sardonic European soul was weighing rather heavily on me, especially when I was sitting amongst a group of (very) young American Mavens on their send-off dinner. I found the freshness of one or two individuals in particular rather humbling.
Having said that, sorry to any of the locals that we might have offended over the course of the trip, but both Gaylene and I are used to bitching away openly in another language with our spouses and it's a mighty dificult habit to break.