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Behind the Scenes: Herding Cats

I’m sitting here just finishing up with the last of my expense reports and pondering on something to write about.

Staff flights.

That’s what’s on my mind—and what has occupied the last four hours of my day. You all know what it takes to arrange your own flight for leadership or convention. And many of you have arranged flights for family vacations. But have you ever considered what it takes to get some 80–100 people to one place at one time? Daunting, I tell you!

As many of you know when you are making your flight arrangements, you want to find the best fare on the best airline (is there one nowadays?) that works the best for you. You also want to make flight arrangements as soon as possible. (Don’t deny it—you know it’s on your mind before you’ve even registered!)  And when you’re done, there is an “Ah . . . don’t have to worry about THAT anymore!”

Well, I’m like that, too.

The only difference is that I have to accommodate 80 different people’s preferences (if possible). We all know when the event starts, but some need to fly in early, and others would like to fly in at the last minute. Some prefer an early morning flight and others the afternoon or evening.  

Collecting preferences and TSA information can be like pulling teeth. Understandably everyone is busy getting ready for the event, but the thought that comes to mind is “cats”—as in—I’m herding cats, here!

All of the personal preferences info comes in handy, though, when flying this many people in the middle of the winter. The more varied the flights, the greater chance of getting all of the staff there for the event despite the weather. Some of you experienced this at leadership. So far we’ve been very fortunate—our staff has always made it to events without incident. Well, except for Robynn during her first year. She got stuck in Detroit. Overnight. By herself.

Detroit! Overnight! Didn’t faze her though; happily for us she didn’t quit on the spot!

Once flight schedules are arranged the fun doesn’t stop there. Part of my responsibility is making sure everyone is present and accounted for so I assign travel captains for each of the flights. Their job is to make sure everyone who is supposed to be on their outbound flight is at the airport waiting. That is Head Count #1.

The travel captain then checks that everyone is off the plane (Head Count # 2) and has collected their luggage (Head Count #3). Once everyone boards our ground transportation bus, the travel captain does a final head count (Head Count # 4). And you thought we only kept track of you! J

THEN I have the “Ah! I don’t have to worry about that part anymore,” which is quickly followed by “Let the set-up begin!”

 I’ll worry about getting them home later. . . !

Cindy C.
Events Coordinator


  • Kathi Davis

    Feb 14

    Yes there was our sad Syracuse UN-regional :-), when I commented earlier I definitely should have said you still get an A+, it is like herde