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  • Writer's pictureJill Farren

The Bloopers Girl Guide Salute

A week before my first Executive Conference in California, my suitcase has been packed and repacked. A driver was sent to my house to pick me up. My boss, nothing short of a GQ model told his team under no circumstances were we to wear hats or jeans!! I loved this! A few days prior to the trip our marketing department had sent us a laundry list of “to do’s”

1. Update address, emergency contacts.

– Task accomplished

2. 3 questions you would like to ask on the business model and marketing for the future of the company. – Task accomplished. I really wanted to do my homework and asked the smartest businessmen I know; my Dad and Brother to help me come up with thoughtful, intelligent questions to send in. I’m in it to impress. They came up with some good ones. I don’t really get it but it looks impressive.

3. Send a baby picture of yourself. -Task – I can’t find a baby picture of myself, all I have is a close up picture of me at 9 years old in my brownie uniform with 2 fingers up pointing to my temple demonstrating the girl guide salute. I look 100 lbs overweight largely due to the steroids I took for chronic asthma. Who cares, nobody will see it anyway with 5,000 people there.


At the airport with my colleagues, I was part of a very fancy group of professionals. “This is unbelievable”. The flight was smooth, uneventful. Upon our arrival we were transported to the Luxurious Hotel Grande on the hilltop of Malibu beach. Hotspot for Hollywood screen stars. We were to sign in at a sprawling table in the coach room, giving our names and coming out with a goody bag and a lanyard with our name and a guest number to wear throughout our conference. Colleen and I were next in line and I got special instructions and a green sticker on my lanyard that was different than anyone else that I had seen sign in and my hostess explained that I was one of 20 people selected out of 5,000 employees to videotape their questions we had sent in a week prior. I was one of the 20! she explained further, my taping was at 1:00 pm and I was to show up to the green room, one the hotel’s second floor room 221. Jack the camera guy would take it from there. Colleen was my partner in crime and went with me for support, nervous but excited we made our way in. I couldn’t believe my luck, I was actually 1 of 20 people chosen to ask my questions on camera and to be played later at our conference gala. What a slick operation! I knocked on the door, shyly opened it and Jack the camera guy handed me a microphone and said he was ready for me. I felt like I stepped into someone else’s life, someone was powdering my face and fixing my hair, I’m thinking in my head, oh ya I have made it!!! Then Jack says I will introduce myself with my name, title and location and then ask my questions I had sent in. “Um Jack, I don’t remember my question”,

“no worries Jill, we have it on a cue card, Laura will hold it up for you… It’s the longest question we have” and he laughed!!! When I say action GO!”


A deer in the headlights.

I couldn’t remember my question or even what it meant, it wasn’t my question, it was my Dads. I couldn’t see the cue card. I couldn’t say it properly. I stammered, stuttered, started again, again. I began to have fun with it, I loved the microphone and saying my name and new impressive title but completely messed up the question. In the end it didn’t work so I apologized and Jack told me not to worry he had 19 others he would use.

How exciting at 7:30 pm and on our way to the gala from our hotel, we were all presented with cashmere pashminas and transported with the red carpet rolled out at the entrance as we walked the line a band was playing, champagne was offered and Colleen was by my side again. Together with our counterparts we are mesmerized by the theme of this enormous ballroom, this was nothing short of spectacular and sheer elegance, from the chandeliers to the colors of silver and gold. Then my attention was pulled and I felt like I just walked into a brick wall when I was stunned to realize WHY they had asked the employees to send in a baby picture of ourselves. 3 of the 4 walls of the ballroom were life sized pictures of me – the girl guide and triple sized, plastered on every wall, duplicated 100 times for impact. Colleen leans over to me “who the hell would send that?” Then it hits her, she gets it. Her shoulders start to shake, she puts her fingers to her forehead for the girl guide salute and we are laughing so hard we are crying. The picture changes to a beautiful baby, then another, then another.

Dinner was of many courses starting with a salad made of weeds, soup, then a prime rib, dessert and chocolate covered coffee beans. We were ushered outside for an after dinner drink while they set up for the next event of the evening- ooh what next?

The music began to play, doors opened, trays of damp cool cloths were handed to us for a freshen up on the way back in. This time the room was set up like a concert with row seating and 3 large chairs on stage graced with distinguished, suited gentlemen. One by one each stood up, introduced themselves, their title, how long they have been with the company and what significant changes they had made to benefit the profit of the company, they were there to engage their audience, encourage our buy in to sell their products and to feel like we are part of something huge, each being every bit as important as they are and boy oh boy I’m feeling it wearing my cream suit! This was our panel. The curtains electronically are pulled up to the unveiling of the “questions” on video for the panel. The video show started with excerpts of our arrivals with handshakes and smiles, excitement and luggage, moved gracefully to the green room a wave from Jack and then without further adieu the contender with her question, after each question the appropriate panel expert would stand and give the answer. The answers were thoughtful, smart and well thought out. Many of us were taking notes.

At the end of the questions, the video and music got louder, screen got bigger, then bloopers started and it was labeled as such!! It said BLOOPERS and I love bloopers, how awesome to end with some funny stuff. Wow I’m seeing I’m the star of the show! The video of me trying to get my question right, retaking, retaking then, me joking around saying my name and title like I was the owner of the company, then with some fancy camera work, they have me in slow motion, then backwards, then me in speed time, the crowd was in stitches, Colleen was doubled over and couldn’t catch her breath. This was outrageously funny. I must admit I have always enjoyed an audience but the sophisticated me needs work! First let me find Jack the camera guy- that ****** will pay!

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