Posts Tagged ‘Lauren Wong’


EEC, Ignite Durham and Others Provide the Spark in 2011

I recently attended the 2011 Email Evolution Conference (#EEC11) in Miami, FL. It was an informative conference, not unlike many of the others I’ve attended over the years. However, this one was very different in one major way. As I sat waiting at my Gate in the Miami International Airport, I was joined by a young but incredibly bright industry colleague by the name of Kelly Lorenz. At this point, it should be noted that we both work for organizations that by most accounts would be considered industry competitors.

However, our friendship had always been more of a virtual friendship (via Twitter) and most importantly, has always been neutral in regards to our two “great houses,” lol.

As chance would have it, we spent the better part of an hour just relaxing and chatting about the conference and everything else that dared pop into our heads. When they began to seat the aircraft, we were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves sitting next to each other on the plane. This of course, led to an additional two hours of solid conversation which was incredibly entertaining — though maybe not to the passengers around us trying to get a few hours of sleep. :)

Kelly is an amazing conversationalist, and her bubbly personality perfectly compliments her natural brilliance. We talked about industry trends, emerging technologies, favorite past-times, and even brainstormed about how different our industry would be if we were in control. ;)

Besides the great information at the conference, it was the experience of meeting an industry colleagues and being able to openly explore ideas and concepts, without having to associate them with any one particular brand or company — this alone was relaxing, and very much needed.

For the latter part of 2010, I had embarked on a voluntary extended hiatus from traditional blogging, and mainly streamed updates via Twitter and Facebook.

The other significant change in 2010, was that my hiatus also included participation in various social media related meetups and conferences. Much of my focus was devoted to more traditional marketing engagements in lieu of only social media related events.

In another life, I ran an events promotions company which specialized in the nightlife and music entertainment industry. The nightlife industry would routinely see a cycling effect in their clientele. Every six months, you would see a different group of regulars filter into the venues, as existing patrons move on to greener pastures.

However, six months or so later, you would find those original patrons start to filter back into venues, while the current patrons filtered out. I’ve witnessed this for several years, and most nightclub and lounge owners can confirm this interesting phenomenon.

Much like in the nightlife industry, I have witnessed this phenomenon within the Social Media & Marketing industry as well. I have watched as my fellow professional colleagues enter and exit from the spotlight as regularly as the regulars at the nightclubs and lounges in downtown Raleigh, NC. Obviously, I too am guilty of taking such a hiatus.

Yesterday evening, in keeping with the status quo of last year, I had seriously considered skipping out on attending Ignite Durham. However, Kelly was quite adamant about my attending the event, and of course I had to oblige (she offered to buy the first drink). I’m truly glad I did, but not just because of the drink. :) Running into old friends like @GregoryNg, @GinnySkal, @JKennedy93 and many others, reminded me one again of how much I truly enjoy getting out and networking on my own time.

For far too long, I had pulled back from extra-curricular events, and had devoted my time solely to attending company sponsored events. Between EEC, Ignite Durham and @KNLorenz‘s friendship, the spark has once again been lit. Much like I was in in 2007-2009, it is my hope that I’ll be able to find the time to once again attend as many local events as my schedule permits, and to contribute back into my community — the same community that has enhanced my life so much over the years.

A very special thanks goes to Kelly Lorenz, Lauren Wong and Virginia Johnson for helping me get my head back into the game this year. Thanks guys! :-)

PS: Of course, you can still follow my personal tweets via @NauticalUrge ;-)


Lauren and I at ConvergeSouth 2008…

Lauren & James @ConvergeSouth 2008
Lauren & James Wong at ConvergeSouth 2008 in Greensboro, NC

Lauren's Bridal Portraits – Revisited…

Lauren WongLauren was quite unhappy with her Bridal Portraits that were done by another photographer, so I shot some new bridal portraits a few months after our wedding. I used a solid black cloth backdrop and two soft boxes for lighting.

Location: Cary, NC
Lauren Wong
Camera Platform: Sony Alpha A-700