Viva Las Vegas!—And Celine Dion

Fresh (but not fresh-faced) off the amazing 2011 NAA Education Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas, I thought I would share some of the things I learned:

1. You can only read so many People magazines while waiting at the airport.

My original flight was scheduled to leave just before noon last Wednesday but, lucky me, it was overbooked. Despite expressing to the airline staff that I had to get to Vegas that night in time for a staff dinner—I don’t turn down enchiladas—my concern did not seem to be of top priority.

Instead, I sat at the airport for 10 hours, finally arriving at Las Vegas at 1 a.m., looking nothing short of a hot mess.

2. Condi and I could hang.

I never knew much about Condoleezza Rice but I got the impression she was somewhat formal and serious. But after watching her deliver a killer—and very funny—speech at the Opening General Session, I’m fairly certain we could be BFFs.

She’s far smarter than I and we probably wouldn’t have much to talk about in the way of politics, but I wouldn’t mind watching a football game with her. Call me, Condi.

3. Dry air + lack of sleep + contact lenses = demon eyes.

For those of you who saw me at the conference, I apologize. Vegas literally sucked all of the moisture out of my body and I was left with a pair of eyes that belonged to someone from the cast of Twilight.

4. The majority of NAA’s members are truly passionate about the apartment industry.

The level of energy during the Conference Kick-off was amazing, especially because it was 8 in the morning. Maybe people were excited about networking, maybe they were excited about the education sessions, maybe they were excited to be away from their husbands and children—I’m not here to judge. All I know is that the spirit of our members really lifted me up each day.

5. Treat people fairly, not equally.

Thought Leader Ann Rhoades made this statement during one of the education sessions and I continue to think about it a week later. You shouldn’t treat a lazy, unproductive employee the same way you treat one of your ‘A’ players. It only makes sense.

6.  My heart will continue to go on for Celine Dion.

I went to her show on Saturday night and was blown away. That little spitfire can belt out “Because You Loved Me” like no other.

7. There is a moment during every motivational speech when I feel like I could suddenly burst into tears.

Listening to Thought Leader Kevin Carroll deliver an incredibly moving, poignant and thoughtful speech about how one red rubber ball—and the ability to play—saved his life, I felt very emotional. I probably would have cried, but I don’t think my tear ducts were functioning in that dry climate.

8. Post-conference, I’m too exhausted to write a real blog.

For more coverage of the 2011 NAA Conference & Exposition, check out the July issue of units, which mails July 8.

What were your favorite moments from the conference? Send them to me at lauren@naahq.org.