I almost successfully crashed the World Business Forum in New York

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Crash_1 After my whirlwind event on Tuesday night at the launch of Greenstone Media (more stories to follow, once I get my hands on a couple of pictures for the post …  just to give a flavor, have you ever been to an event with Gloria Steinem, the lead singer of Twisted Sister and Deborah Norville all in attendance?!? ), I spent the night in New York and had a whole day to walk around Manhattan enjoying myself before boarding a plane back home.

I took off from my hotel and wandered down a few streets, finally ending up in front of Radio City Music Hall.  Thinking they would have some popular musical act playing, I walked closer to look at the billboards out front.  To my amazement, it was the World Business Forum.  Always nosy and curious, I thought I would try to sweet-talk my way in and see who was speaking.

The burly security guards at the outside door asked me what I was doing, and I coyly said I wanted to go register.  After searching my purse, they let me through, then I asked the registration people if they had a written program.  Much to my delight, they sent me inside the lobby.

Now I was feeling downright conspiratorial.  I walked up to the information booth and grabbed a program.  I opened it up and found out the following people were speaking that day:

Jim Collins
Malcolm Gladwell
President Clinton

I adore Jim Collins, having heard him speak before, would love to hear Malcolm Gladwell for the first time, and President Clinton … who wouldn’t want to hear him speak in person?

As I watched the exceptionally-dressed, arrogantly confident and Blackberry and cellphone-carrying international participants, I had a fantasy of crashing a session.

At the time for the question and answer, I would boldly stand up and say:

With all due respect (name), do you actually believe that any of the participants here are going to implement the great ideas they learn on people, innovation, creativity and philanthropy?  Aren’t they more likely to go on being MORE of an asshole now that they have rubbed shoulders with other top executives at a swishy event in New York?

Alas, my fantasy was rudely interrupted when I glanced down and realized that I was wearing jeans, a distinctly non-power suit attire that would foil my plan to wiggle my way into a session without paying. (morally wiggle, not inappropriately wiggle, just to clarify!  🙂

So, dream dashed, I walked out of the event and went on to other New York adventures.

It was a sweet fantasy while it lasted.

8 Responses to “I almost successfully crashed the World Business Forum in New York”

  1. Nikita says:

    Pam, that would have been GREAT! I bet you would have knocked them dead. 😀

  2. Nedford says:

    Although I’m not an executive or key decision maker in my company, I had the good fortune of attending two days of the World Business Forum with my company. If I only knew, I would have been on the look out for a lady in jeans.

    Gladwell is a great presenter and did a terrific job engaging the audience. Jim Collins is definitely passionate about people development and also did a fine job. Clinton was very subdued and didn’t come with any strong takes in his presentation (maybe because Hillary is running for a particular office in 2008????) Colin Powell also did a fine job presenting. Jack Welch had some good points, but seems like a krazy kook to me,…he was very entertaining.


    Hi Nedford!

    Thanks so much for the report back! I am jealous. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall. Next time we can conspire early and I will be decked out in appropriate corporate conference attire.


  3. PunditMom says:

    I love the lost luggage idea! I would have loved to hear Malcolm Gladwell — maybe he would have tipped us off to his newest trend idea he’s writing about!

    Good luck next time!

  4. Jim Collins’ book Good to Great caused me to make the decision to start my own company. I’m a big fan.

    Congratulations on a fun trip.

  5. Jim says:

    You could have said your business duds were in your lost luggage … any business traveller would have believed you and the sympathy card would have likely gained you access.

  6. ann michael says:

    Personally – I love your “bold statement”. The audience would probably be well served by some Bob Sutton (a.k.a. Stanford Prof and author: The No Asshole Rule) in the line up.

    I’ve been dying to go to the World Innovation Forum (same deal – just add Clayton Christensen – Harvard and Tom Kelley – GM of IDEO to the menu). Maybe in 2007!

  7. Oh come one! You could have just said, “California” and the doors would have opened for you, jeans and all….

    Welcome back! Can’t wait for story!


  8. I have often wondered what our society would wear had jeans not been invented. Perhaps more suitably dressed for such spur-of-the-moment opportunities? Too bad, Pam. It would have been interesting to hear how you have gotten.

    Maybe there is an important lesson here somewhere – to always be prepared for unexpected opportunities. I’m always amazed by how many people don’t carry business cards with them at all times.

    And that reminds me, I need to print more postcards with my book blurb before leaving for the cruise on Monday. Never know who I’ll meet! And, I’m definitely not packing jeans. 😉