Toward the end of the first week of seminars with the Washington Center, I began the practical application section of the seminar. I was assigned to work for the Host Committee in the media department with Courtney Counts and Laura DeCastro. Fellow Washington Center participant James Lee was also appointed to this office. We spent a large amount of time together, gained personal information about each other, as well as learned to rely on each other in a crisis.
I started out shifting thousands of volunteers into new positions and responding to emails. I also assisted volunteers, media and staff from other offices associated with the convention that had questions. We worked during the day in the office, and then would handle logistics for one of the many evening media or delegate events. As the week went on, hotel hospitality logistics and transportation became a massive undertaking. We also became the last resort for resolution of other departmental issues. I learned that an event with so many offices often involved in the same task led to complicated decision making and resolution of situations. As one crisis subsided, another arose and the decision to move the location of the President’s speech because of weather caused even more problems.
Our office moved at a furious pace and when people would enter and face the boardroom style tables with all of us troubleshooting, we often heard the atmosphere was intimidating. It was described as walking into an interview, a political boiler room, and even The Wizards’ Council from Harry Potter. For those working in the room, time moved fast and we were happy to be there, though there were never enough hours in the day to solve all of the issues and make everyone happy. We worked long hours, but I thrive on timeline projects and working under pressure.
Working for the Host Committee was a rewarding experience on many levels. At one point I was even called a political science geek, which secretly made me smile.
Next up ~ Democratic National Convention events.