The Amazing, Spectacular, Colossal Gala Dinner!
Office Dynamics just has this unique and special way of doing things; if you haven’t yet been to one of their conferences, you just cannot imagine the style and panache their Gala event manages to pack into a single evening. “Truly incredible” is the superlative description that comes easily to mind.
“The Shining Star Awards” Gala was an absolutely unforgettable evening affair held Thursday, September 29th. Most amazing: the entire Gala is included in the conference registration — no add on fees or additional expense required!
Attendees began to arrive around 6:30 pm, and as they came around the corner of the walkway, they saw BRIGHT LIGHTS and a fabulous roped off 30’ red carpet … just for them, because administrative professionals are Shining Stars every day.
Each attendee flashed a gorgeous, big smile and strutted his or her stuff on the red carpet, while paparazzi snapped dozens of photographs, telling them, “Look this way!” “Hey, beautiful!” “Smile for me, baby!”
I had the happy privilege of interviewing many attendees on the red carpet, and it was so much fun. There was a lot of energy and fusion that night, and the attendees were happily overwhelmed by all that had been prepared just for them.
Following the red carpet, professional portraiture and a hosted bar got the evening off to a grand start. The open bar on the Outside Terrace was overflowing with attendees dressed in sparkling party and cocktail attire. They all looked beautiful with many upswept hairdo’s, glittering jewelry, smokin’ hot high heels, slit dresses, deep backless gowns and beautiful dark eyelashes. There was a lot of red lipstick!
Suddenly, in the midst of such glamorous finery and great networking, lilting music began to play, it was from “Up” the Pixar move, and the vintage “Up with Ending Credits”, gave the signal that a spectacular moment was about to unfold for the attendees, as three characters from Cirque de Soleil slowly paraded into view! One was elfin-eared, wearing a gold beak and many necklaces, including a pocket watch on a chain. Another was all in red satin, and she walked on stilts with feathers and glittering decorations. The third was a man dressed in black and white checkers, shaped like a tear drop, with a bulbous stomach. They began to wave and escort the attendees into the Pavilion Ballroom for the Gala!
The attendees and the characters slowly paraded into the beautiful room. The characters performed at the center stage, and everyone laughed and clapped as the Cirque de Soleil characters communicated their whimsy, delight, and almost childhood innocence of imagination and breathtaking beauty in the moment as the music played on, and they danced and interacted (albeit silently!) with the crowd. To say they were the absolute hit of the evening was true, yet so much more was still ahead!
We all took our places at the sea of beautiful round tables, draped in thick creamy cloths and low bowls of many types of red flowers: gerbera daisy, roses, and others. Tall iced goblets of amber glass, classic white china, golden napkins and gilded programs outlining the evening’s entertainment completed the elegant place settings. We were enthralled and our attention was captured!
Our first course: a beautiful round layered crispy phyllo tart filled with baby greens, sugared pecans, baby tomatoes that were so sweet, and house-made citrus vinaigrette, so light, tangy and refreshing! A basket of crisp artisan bread, like Kalamata olive, tangy wheatberry and crusty sourdough, made the rounds around each table. Sheer heaven on a plate!
Next came the main course, and oh, it did not disappoint! A beautifully prepared and elegantly plated filet mignon, accompanied by tender asparagus, creamy mashed potatoes. I have to say, the food was quite excellent and served so beautifully. My table mate, Beverlina, requested meatless and she received a truly stunning tower of quinoa, spinach, fresh cheese and various vegetables that looked beautiful. She ate it all and said it was yummy.
Our final course was coffee and chocolate and hazelnut tiramisu. It was beautiful, too, and the normally typical crust happily absent in favor of a crispy, thick hazelnut crust, topped with thick dark chocolate laced with coffee flavor and light, fluffy mascarpone topping, topped with a sugared cookie “spoon” served on a frosted glass plate with hardened dark chocolate pin-striping. The coffee was also Italian roast, and paired so well with the dessert.
Everyone whose worked for more than a couple years has had at least one “cold rubber chicken” banquet. (Yuck.) But not here and not from Office Dynamics! The food, service and environment were outstanding. Every detail was well thought out, and whether you needed a vegetarian meal, a glass of cabernet or an extra Kalamata roll, it happened quickly and efficiently, and pleasantly!
While all this wonderful food was coming to us in waves of flavor and temptation, meanwhile, up on stage, the MC provided ample comedy, songs, dance and entertainment. He was very funny, and really brought a Strip ambiance and energy to the event. Sometimes he changed costume on stage, and it was amazing to see him go from one character to the next.
We also enjoyed a fabulous high-energy professional dance troupe from the Strip, followed by the MC’s impersonations of Sammy Davis Junior and Michael Jackson, which brought down the house.
At one point, when “Michael” took the stage, one of the attendees called out, “We miss you, Michael!” and he pointed at her table and said, “I miss you, too.” “Michael” had the voice, look, dance and style down pat. He moonwalked, popped, sang, talked and cooed just like Michael Jackson did. It was amazing!
In and around the entertainment program, the six awards for Shining Star performance, voted on by peer attendees, were announced. (See the blog on these awards here at this website!) Winners received a star trophy, certificate, a red long stemmed rose, photo with Joan Burge, and bragging rights!
When the evening finally ended, we had enjoyed such a party, meal, event, extravaganza of professional entertainment, that everyone couldn’t stop talking about the great event and how much more it exceeded their wildest expectations.
I was fortunate enough to attend the 2010 Conference for Administrative Excellence, and at that time, I thought the conference and Gala were so outstanding, I described them as the best I’d ever seen at any administrative event I’d ever attended.
Well, having seen 2011’s Gala and Conference, I can say this year shattered my wildest expectations and exceeded in stellar proportions! The entertainment focus was magical, breath-taking and whimsical, all at once. It was sophisticated yet not intimidating. It was friendly yet nightclubby. It was pulsating yet it was intimate.
Office Dynamics definitively and definitely succeeded in “getting its groove on!”