Ever since starting my job at Kalypso in January I have been hearing about their annual firm-wide event called Karma. So for the last eight months I have been listening to stories from past Karma events, like how a couple of years ago they rented out the entire Broncos stadium for a night. Or last year, when Joan Jett gave a private performance for the firm's 10-year anniversary. And while the stories sound amazing, it wasn't until I experienced Karma for myself this past week in Chicago when I realized just how truly special it is.
For me, one of the best parts of Karma was that any new employees from the past year arrive in town a few days early and go through Krash, which is an introduction to the firm's culture and innovation strategy. This year we had the largest Krash class in history, with almost 50 people. That's a huge number for a firm of just over 200 people all together!
Here's a basic agenda of how I spent my time in Chicago:
Now that you can see how I spent my time, I'm going to walk through the highlights of my trip. After only a couple of hours of sleep, I woke up on Tuesday morning at 2am and caught the 5:35am flight to Midway with two of my co-workers. We were instructed to take the 'L' train into the city to the InterContinental Hotel, where we were staying for the week. The train ride wasn't that bad, but the hard part came when we had to drag our 50-pound suitcases through a turnstile and down a flight of stairs. Lesson learned...take a cab!
Ultimately we survived that adventure and arrived at the InterContinental in one piece. We had lunch and then met with our fellow Krash attendees for our first day of presentations. After a late dinner in the ballroom we got a quick drink in the hotel bar and then went to bed.
After some much-needed sleep we spent all day Wednesday in the ballroom learning about the firm's culture and strategies for consulting. My roommate and I took a quick trip to Nordstrom before dinner for some shoe shopping. Then we walked to dinner at Gino's East, which is the famous pizza place where you are encouraged to write on the walls. After dinner a small group of us decided to go up to the Signature Lounge, which is the bar on the 96th floor of the Hancock Building. We had an amazing view while we enjoyed our $15 cocktails. Thank goodness everything was reimbursable!
We spent all day Thursday in our conference room, listening to more presentations and doing group work. That night we went out to RockIt on Hubbard Street, which was a quick 10-minute walk from the hotel.
On Friday morning we had our "graduation" and then had the rest of the day off before the rest of the firm showed up for our welcome reception that night. I had heard about an architecture river tour and recruited some of my classmates to come with me. We had a group of 8 who all had a great time looking at the buildings along the river and learning about Chicago's history.
That night we had our welcome reception at the hotel pool. It was weird to see so many faces I didn't recognize. After spending the last few days with the 50 new people it was a surprise to not know everyone all of a sudden. Thankfully, everyone at Kalypso is very welcoming and friendly, so there were lots of people to meet and catch up with. After being extremely busy for so many days in a row my roommate Denise and I decided to make it an early night. And by early, I mean we were in bed by 9:30!
On Saturday we had a long day in the Grand Ballroom, learning the story of Kalypso and watching the 54 promotion presentations for everyone who was promoted. That night we went to a party at the beach, which would have been amazing except that it was the coldest night of the whole trip and very windy as well. We made the best of it, taking advantage of the drinks from the open bar to keep warm. I was a trooper, taking the last bus out of there. I credit growing up in Michigan to being able to manage wearing flip flops in 50 degree weather!
After the beach we made our way to RockIt again, which was quickly becoming our favorite bar. We even had a senior manager from Kalypso show up and buy us all bottle service. We danced and drank whiskey until 2am, which wasn't such a good idea considering that we had meetings starting at 8am the next morning! Apparently we weren't the only ones to have a good time the night before, because in his opening remarks our host said the smell of alcohol was palpable in the room. I guess you could say we were embracing the firm's motto of "work hard, play hard".
On Sunday night we had our big event to end Karma. We all dressed up in 20's attire and walked to the Chicago Theater. The marquee was customized for us and it was such a cool moment to walk up on stage and enjoy our fabulous awards dinner. After eating they had dueling pianos set up in the grand atrium and we had a dance party ending with "We Are The Champions". What a great way to bond with your co-workers!
All together, I had an amazing time in Chicago. I met some amazing people and am already counting down the weeks until next year's Karma!
Last night I went to Taylor Swift's 1989 concert and it was amazing! I bought my ticket last November and wrote this post about it, so follow the link if you're interested in reading the full story of how I decided on which ticket to buy.
In order to get a really good seat I decided to go for the VIP 2 package, which included early entry, a pre-party, and a seat within the first 25 rows. I got lucky and ended up with a seat 12 rows back from the stage and 8 seats away from the catwalk.
Here's a look at the seating chart so you can see section AAA, which is where my seat was:
I knew my seat was going to be good, but I was amazed when I got to it and realized just how close to the stage I would be. You'll see in the pictures I post below just how close I was to Taylor and how good of a view I had of the whole show.
To give you perspective, here are a couple of pictures from the top of the 100 section looking down on where my seat was. My seat was close to where the person in the red shirt is standing.
Before I get into the pictures of the actual show, I'd like to go back to the beginning of the day and walk you through everything leading up to Taylor's performance.
First, I decided that it would be easier to take the train to the Pepsi Center instead of trying to drive there and then fight traffic after the show. My confirmation email had said that the VIP group would be allowed to enter at 4:45pm, so I got to the train station at about 3pm and arrived at the auditorium at 3:30.
There wasn't much of crowd, so I found a mother and daughter who were also wearing the VIP lanyards and asked them if they were waiting for the pre-party. They were really nice and we stood and talked until the doors opened. When they let us in at 4:45 I was the fifth person through the door. Out of 15,000 people, I think that's pretty darn good!!!
Once we were checked in and had our tickets we were taken into the VIP party. They had all kinds of tables set up with a big buffet and a drink station. They also had a backdrop set up where you could get your picture taken. Here are some pictures from the party.
A group of us that had just met at the doors all sat together, so even though I went to the concert alone I was still able to make some friends and have some people to hang out with, which was really nice!
We ate our food and then went downstairs to look at merchandise before the doors opened at 6pm for general admission. We timed it perfectly, with just enough time to buy our souvenirs and then we were able to go check out our seats at 6pm.
Like I said before, I was absolutely amazed by how good my seat was. It still didn't feel real at that point, but I had an idea that I would have an amazing view of the show.
After checking out our seats we went back up to the VIP party to wait for a raffle at 7:15pm. None of us won anything, so we headed back to our seats for the show to start at 7:30pm.
The opening act was Vance Joy, who did a good job. And then we waited maybe 20-30 minutes before Taylor came onstage. In the meanwhile, I saw her mom Andrea (aka Mama Swift) walk through the crowd.
And then it was time for Taylor to come onstage!!!
Here's the set list:
And here are some of the 200+ pictures I took of the show...
So that was my first Taylor Swift concert experience, definitely one of my top five nights ever! It was an amazing show and I'm so happy I decided to splurge for the VIP package. I would definitely do it again and now I'm just counting down the days until her next tour!
My name is Beth and I live in Denver. I am a single lady in my 30's and wanted to start sharing my awesome and amazing life through a blog.