How To Survive the Nightly Conference Party

partyonLast week Gini Dietrich asked me to write a guest blog post about handling internal communications in a man’s world. It will be published on Spin Sucks in November. I’ll keep you posted!

Writing that post brought back a lot memories and experiences from my 20+ years in marketing communications. I thought I’d start sharing them in the hopes that they help others as they chart their careers.

I want to be clear, my post that will be published on Spin Sucks is about being a communicator in a man’s world. This does not mean that I am bashing men in the business world. I am sharing experiences about how to be successful in those and other situations. That is the point of this post and others to come.

In addition, please keep in mind that my career started in 1994, a far cry from today – 2014.

Let’s get to it.

Like many people, I showed up to my first marketing job bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I worked in student loans. My job was to travel around the state of Florida to colleges and universities, building relationships with the financial aid departments so that they would list my bank as the preferred lender. I traveled throughout my home state, developed collateral, attended conferences…you name it, I did it – as part of a team. It was fabulous!!!

The VP of marketing was himself a young whipper-snapper who could do no wrong. Yet, he did have experience, knew the market and had good ideas, which meant there was a lot to learn from him. The manager was a strong woman who was a few years older than me, and she was in love with the VP. (Another story for another day.)

Back to the purpose of this post.

Be True To Yourself

At one of the first conferences I attended in this role, I learned that part of “entertaining clients” meant staying up half the night partying. Being in my twenties, this wasn’t an issue.

BUT! I didn’t want my career to begin as a a “party girl”. Here is what I chose to do:

  1. Enjoy the client dinner, getting to know my customers better
  2. Go to the dance club with everyone
  3. Leave the club  between 10:30 and midnight with those clients who didn’t like to stay out late. (This made those customers happy while my colleagues stayed out late with the others.)
  4. Get a good night’s sleep
  5. Repeat.

Lesson Learned

You don’t have to do everything the way someone else does it. Find your own way and be true to yourself.

Published by


Susan Cellura is a marketing communications professional with over 20 years of experience. She is a dynamic communications professional and enthusiastic team-builder, with a progressive history of success in designing and implementing communications programs for global organizations. A strategic thinker with the ability to understand the needs of multiple audiences and deliver solutions, Susan is a results-oriented problem-solver with exceptional interpersonal and negotiation abilities. Having worked in a variety of global industries, she has grown business communications in her current position via a strong mixture of strategic resources, including social media.

6 thoughts on “How To Survive the Nightly Conference Party”

  1. Like you, I found the same kind of expectations early in my career. I didn’t drink back then and it was frowned upon. So I would arrive early to the restaurant and ask the bartender to help me out. He’d give me a rocks glass with water (only half full) and put a lime in it. They always thought I was drinking vodka…straight.

    1. Gini, You are so hard core! LOL! It’s so important to keep your head straight at these conferences. Long days and long nights…people don’t remember what they do but everyone talks about it for days!!!

  2. I remember when I was right out of college, I went to a trade show with my boss and her boss. They stayed in the bar (and one of the hooked up with the client) all night. It didn’t occur to me to a) stay up with them or b) that those things actually happened. I think I was also a little jealous because I had a HUGE crush on the client, but thought it was unprofessional to let that show.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s