A Little Courage Formed a Conference

It Even Took Courage to Wear My Hat

Circle Editor, Maureen Nolan
Editor, Maureen Nolan at conference*

My hat’s off now, on the shelf ready for next year’s conference. The reporter badge is a little worse for wear, but I achieved my purpose making a spectacle of myself: ACO members saw me coming and going and welcomed my probing and personal questions. What has been meaningful for you today? What brought you here? How would you feel about writing for the Circle? Once again, I was reminded by their warmth and intentional conversation that coaches are my tribe and so I was emboldened to give more to people who want what I have to offer.

Two Conferences and Viv Steps Down

Viv and Robb between workshop sessions*

Viv Monahan, conference co-director gave her all to the ACO, including the conference name, Coaches Called to Courage. I’m reminded of Viv’s challenges that I heard about throughout the year’s work including personal illness at deadline times, negotiations that were challenging and organizing people who organized more people, etc., etc. Viv also put her personal coaching program and philosophy on the line by recommending her mentor Gregg Krech to be the ACO Keynote speaker. An all-round excellent choice and calming presence throughout the conference, he stayed to get to know us. Viv steps down from being the conference co-director two years in a row. Thank you, Viv.

Quick Thinking in a (Minor) Crisis

Susan Macintosh and Barbara Luther*

Susan Macintosh,  conference co-director works quietly behind the scenes, chatting up members, advertisers and presenters in a subtle supportive fashion, but at the conference she was a streak of lightning, moving quickly into action whenever needed. Her quick thinking and conversational skills propelled Kay Axtell‘s husband into action when Suzanne Evans’ plane was grounded, keeping her at home for a much anticipated three-hour workshop. Thank you, Susan.

Kay Axtel and Steve Axtel*

Steve Axtel jumped in, accepting a request to present a workshop on the value of hypnosis, and ended up demonstrating on one participant whose allergies were resolved in the session. Thank you, Steve.

Conference Personal Highlights

I find that conferencing is stimulating and exhausting. I’d like to read a definitive explanation of how to properly ‘conference.’ I’d say it took me about one two weeks to recover. I still don’t have all my notes in order.

These are some of  my conference personal highlights:

  • Here’s my confession about landing at the airport – I didn’t remember where the conference was being held and my laptop couldn’t get any wifi and it wasn’t preset to open at the right page with the hotel information at hand. What was I to do? I started looking for familiar faces and there was Nancy Bean. Thank you, Nancy, for leading me to the conference hotel.
  • I forgot that there was a pre-conference on Friday morning and casually walked in becoming startled at Jay Carter‘s presentation. What was going on? I was so embarrassed at my gaff.
  • I dined with many people, but sometimes I ate alone to process information. Next year, let’s have a masseuse and a quiet room for processing.
  • I presented my first ACO workshop on Intuition – that was my courageous step into visibility into our community. (I think of editing as a quiet, behind the scenes task.) Thank you for receiving me so well at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning.
  • Through a healing conversation over one lunch, I determined that with my family history of addiction, I would promote my work in the field of recovery coaching. Another courageous step.

    Ava Green, Producer of ADD and Loving It?*
  • I introduced myself to the producer of ADD and Loving It?! – Did you? Ava Green is so nice, and the presentation made me cry for all the undiagnosed with ADHD as well as for my own ADHD story. As editor I feel I have license to meet everyone because everyone has a story to share.
  • I spent time with new ADDCA graduates – yeah, ADDCA! I’m from class 9.
  • Once again, there was a family crisis while I was gone. I  have a daughter with dysthymic depression who was changing meds and in a bad spot. She did what she needed to do and I took care of myself far away from home with loving ADHD coaches supporting me.
  • I spent a day in the board meeting. This group inspires me with their volunteerism, high standards and expectations of themselves. It’s an honor to work with them.
  • I ate a real Chicago pizza.
  • Once I got with the program, I attended workshops on the hour, and yes, sometimes I was late.
  • Oh, and on the flight home, after sitting quietly next to a thirty-something for two hours, I came to discover I knew his family, he grew up in my neighborhood, he had ADHD and then I pondered on the coincidence of it all.
*Photography Sarah Wright