Last week, we came back from Build IT LIVE. Sorry to all my avid followers, I needed a rest week. Hosting a four-day conference for 500+ people is a lot, and I was mentally exhausted—as was the entire team. With a week gone, I have been able to rest up, and will be sharing a lot of learnings over the next few weeks. This week I’d like to share with you the experience that Shaan, my 13-year-old son, had at Build IT and what we both learned from it. You see, this was Shaan’s second Build IT. Last year, he attended Build IT for the first time and got to see what mom and dad really do when they go out of town. Remember when I told you earlier about what a behemoth task it is to put on this event? It is an enormous sacrifice, and usually, children are the ones that lose out on your time. The month and a half leading up to the event is extremely busy. There are a lot of long nights, and hours sitting at the desk. Shaan usually comes into my office when he gets home, and he’ll give kisses, go do his homework, until we sit to have dinner. Dinner is when we talk about his day and we’ll plan something for the evenings together. That’s our time. During the month before Build IT however, mom is usually always at her desk. I think it’s helpful for him to know what all this work is for. In fact, this summer he willingly offered his help to intern with the team and support the show.  

He was a true member of the team walking into Build IT this year, and he knew what to expect.  

He had assigned duties, he learned to work the show just like every other team member. He was responsible for the IT By Design snack station, and with that came a lot of responsibility. He had to make sure he was at the station early, snacks were refilled, and he was rationing appropriately so that all the snacks didn’t disappear on the first day. He was refilling water at the water station and would go around the seating areas offering people water. He walked the pavilion and would check in with sponsors to see if they needed any help, and even got some sponsors checked in at registration. He was attentive and a wonderful host. If someone needed help, Shaan was there. I remember people stopping me; sponsors, speakers, partners, and hotel staff. They all told me how wonderful and helpful Shaan had been to them. It made his mom extremely proud, but more importantly, he left a lasting impression.  

This wasn’t just lip service, the amount of traction Shaan gained on social media with people actually highlighting his ability to make them feel welcome was amazing. Now, yes, I am an extremely proud mother and did want to share all his good work. He built his own brand. He made the effort to walk around the conference, introduce himself, and be helpful and useful wherever he could. He tried to solve problems and would let me know about the “special” users that were not very accommodating.  

There was so much value in him being able to see what we do. He is a sponge; he watches and learns. You know that age-old adage “do what I say not what I do”? Well, I think we should change that for our kids – DO WHAT I SAY AND SEE WHAT I DO. As a parent, you work hard to set the right expectations for your children. There is so much value in them being able to come and see how you work. Now I know, there is the obligatory “take your child to work day” that all of us parents try to take part in. And we know during our busy workdays it’s harder and harder, especially with work from home. But being able to see Shaan truly learn from both of us, and others in the channel,has helped define his personality.  

He learned work ethics, early mornings and late hours, all day on his feet. He would ask his dad to give him a massage on his legs at night in the room, he had put in so many steps😊. Learning hospitality and a service mindset in how we treat our guests. Being able to socialize and have conversations about products and offerings, yes, he did bring in a few deals. He listened to the business challenges people were discussing, assessed people issues, and operated like a little CEO at the event. He was in his element. Seeing what mom and dad do, was an experience he’d have never had if he did not come to the event.  

So, to all the parents, I strongly recommend that you allow your kids to See What You Do. There is no age limit on learning, and being able to show our kids not only a different level of work ethic (I’m not hating on millennials here, but really …) and, allow them to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding for the work that we do. It makes for a better parent-child relationship and provides another reason for us to engage with our children and develop a skill that will truly help them as they grow. Below are just a few of the comments that people posted about Shaan. Now, this is me being a Very Proud Mama 😊 

LinkedIn Snapshot

Shaan at Build IT LIVE 2023