Stay Classy, NAA

When I woke up yesterday morning, my head full of "Anchorman" quotes and my purse full of complimentary dinner mints, I was excited to get our first full conference day underway.

As an Education Conference & Exposition vet (it's my fourth year, so I know people), I've heard a lot of great speakers, attended many informative education sessions and eaten my body weight in potstickers at various networking receptions. And I can say that yesterday was one the best conference days to date.

Thought Leader and former combat pilot Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour was, well, pretty fly, and energized attendees first thing in the morning. I left with an inspired heart and a head now full of "Top Gun" quotes.

After flying myself on over to a coffee station, I saddled up for a second Thought Leader presentation by Chuck Martin. Flip phone in hand, I listened to his message of "A World Gone Mobile." I almost left the convention center to buy a smartphone. Almost.

Instead, I dipped into every nook and cranny near the General Session in the hope of spotting Moderator Bill Rancic, preferably with son Duke in a Baby Bjorn. No such luck, but I was able to admire him from afar during a captivating discussion with Sir Richard Branson. We made eye contact at one point, and I'm fairly confident I'll be invited to Necker Island for a long weekend.

Next, it was time for the NAA Exposition Grand Opening, followed by the Maintenance Mania National Championship. There's a flickering light bulb that has made my apartment one glow stick short of a rave scene for the past four months, so I have a lot of respect for people who are skilled in such maintenance tasks. Congratulations to 2013 Maintenance Mania Champion Justin Heenan, who is welcome to change that lightbulb anytime.

The night ended with NAA's Opening Party in the Gaslamp Quarter, where more potstickers were had. There were several food stations, and I ate my way down those two blocks with the precision of an assembly line worker.

Today, I woke up energized (OK, tired) and ready for another fun day. And then I started crying.

Thanks a lot, Erik Wahl.

As part of his presentation, the graffiti artist, author, entrepreneur and yesterday’s Keynote Speaker showed a video of military veterans returning home to surprise their families. Two seconds into the clip, I had two choices: I could begin sobbing uncontrollably, or I could shut off all human emotions. I chose the latter, and as Erik Wahl encouraged attendees to UNthink, I began to UNfeel. Everyone else was sniffling.

After attending a few education sessions and reconnecting with my soul, I checked out Janine Driver’s Thought Leader presentation on reading body language to detect when someone is lying. I left the session very upset, with the realization that my grandmother was less than truthful when she told me I was the next Barbara Walters. You’re a liar, Nana—you and your shifty eyes.

Next year we’ll be in the Mile High city of Denver. I’m unsure how my body will respond to the altitude, so this may be the last intelligible conference blog of mine until 2015. In other words, this column is as valuable as one of Erik Wahl's paintings.

It's all about supply and demand, folks.