When I first got to St. Louis two weeks ago, my father told me that it was the “first day of the rest of (my) life” which I found upon further conversation with another esteemed trainee that this is popular dad advice (along with, “you’ll never be this young again” and “just ask your mother”). This announcement obviously then begged the question, is tomorrow the second day of the rest of my life? The answer, in a word, yes. So with this framing I can confidently announce that the 8th through the 12th days of the rest of my life were unlike any others.
Last week was an absolute whirlwind of presentations, translations, networking, not-working, culture clashes, heat flashes, discovery, zythology, good old fashioned debauchery, work, play, and everything in between. Now I have the job of translating all the incredible things that happened this week into a blog post. It might take a few, but here we go.
After a fantastic weekend, including a night being shown around town by a few of the younger senior leaders at AB InBev (including another former Quaker with a penchant for big ideas), I was ready to go for this week. At least I thought I was. I don’t think anyone can be fully prepared for 140 ABI global trainees from around the world converging at one hotel in St. Louis for a week of induction to this company. Early 20 somethings from all our zones of operation, Asia Pacific (APAC), Latin America North (LAN), Latin America South (LAS), Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Western Europe (WE), and North America (NA) arrived at our hotel over the weekend for a week of presentations from executives throughout the company including the CEO (Carlos) Brito.
Also on tap for the week was a fundraising event and concession stand sales competition at Busch Stadium (hilarity ensues), a culminating group project and presentation from our culturally diverse teams (hilarity pauses, then ensues), and a little bit of free time for some more informal networking (cue more hilarity).
But don’t get me wrong, even with all the intense, awkward, sometimes absurd, and yes, hilarious situations, I can honestly say this week has been one of the most influential ones in my life. I learned more than I could ever even begin to describe in words. Sure we had presentations on the brewing process, and our budgeting policies, but the lessons I learned about relating to people, especially from diverse cultures and backgrounds, are the ones that will stick with me throughout life.
So what I’ll try to do here is relay a few anecdotes to provide you with a more organic form of my experiences this past week, and let you decide what to take away. It would be impossible to roll these out in one continuous post, so beer me a little time and I’ll be updating them in the next few days.
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