Recently, I spent five days in San Diego at the ATD International Conference & Exposition. The conference was geared towards corporate trainers, which is interesting because I am not that. I manage a customer service department of fourteen lovely individuals. However, ATD stands for Association of Talent Development and talent development is what I am most interested in career wise at the moment. So while the convention didn’t necessarily fit into any standard training categories for me, I’m very lucky to have a job that will send me away to learn and explore. I learned so much from the general sessions and once I sort through the notes in my notebook and my brain, I’m excited to see what changes I can implement.

Even more exciting, Barack Obama was the keynote speaker on day one of the conference! Upon learning this, I decided it was high time I read one of his books and choose Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. I had planned on finishing it before his talk and that didn’t happen so it ended up being my beach read, instead of Tangerine by Christine Mangan, which I had brought along as the quintessential beach book. I found Dreams from My Father so shocking! Learning about young Obama, I was surprised by many things. I really only had an image of him as President so it was hard to stray from that. Turns out he was a regular kid all along, went to parties, drank and smoked cigarettes. Even slept in an alley one night! The book was beautifully written and to read of the journey he went on to find out who he was, where he came from and the struggles he had getting there, was quite fascinating.

At the conference he said a handful of quotable things, one of my favorites was something along the lines of, “Don’t focus on the job title or what you want to BE. Focus instead on what you want to do and the things you want to accomplish.” This is so fitting for so many of us. We get wrapped up in titles and promotions and trade off our happiness on this quest. If we focused instead on what we wanted to do, and put all our effort into doing it, we would find ourselves so much happier. Another topic he breached was the mistakes made by men and he paraphrased JFK’s quote, “Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man.” Obama followed this up by saying the first step to this is to listen to women. It was very refreshing, given our current political state, to be in the presence of a great man who respects women. #thefutureisfemale

I was rather disappointed in my quintessential beach book! It was toted as a suspense novel and I found no suspense it in whatsoever and a lack of character development made the relationships unbelievable. I did enjoy that the setting was Morocco, having been there a year and a half ago. The story was set in Tangier and this made me long to return to Morocco, adding it to the top of my vacation list. I had purchased three books when choosing my beach book: Tangerine, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolizter and The Merry Spinster:Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg. I don’t have a beach vacation in my future again until possibly December and I can’t see waiting on these two titles until then so they may be re-purposed in hiking break books.

San Diego Restaurant Recommendations:

Follow up reading (mostly business books!):