Our Engage!22 New Orleans Travel Diary

Engage! Summits are something we always look forward to, but this year’s gathering was made all the more special because of its location: New Orleans. Once we settled in at the Four Seasons, we immediately got to work, leading a session on “Cultivating and Spending Your Personal Brand Capital.” But of course we made time for some fun, too, exploring (and eating through!) one of our favorite cities. After spending a few days in the Big Easy, we’re convinced that we could easily live there—but until then, here’s our recap of the summit, and our travel guide for our next visit.

Photographer: Lance Nicoll

Photographer: Finch Photo

Photographer: Lance Nicoll

Favorite moment from our session

Julie: Wendy Kay brought the house down with her straight-shooting style. But really watching everyone connect the dots as we spoke was really rewarding. I could stand back and see it happen.

Courtney: Everyone legit rolling on the floor laughing at Wendy’s bigger than life, tell-it-like-it-is  personality. Her one-liners are such zingers, and she included the infamous: “I am nourished by your hatred.” 

Photographer: Jennefer Wilson

Photographer: Jennefer Wilson

The message I hope people remember from our talk

Julie: Be intentional! Don’t be a copy of what you see in the industry. Forge your own path with careful thought and planning.

Courtney: That you can have this, too. It isn’t aspirational, it’s attainable with careful strategic and intentional messaging, paired with a healthy dose of consistency. 

Photographer: Jennefer Wilson

Most memorable speaker at Engage!22

Julie: Alex Carter really bridged some gaps for me in her session about negotiation language. It was fascinating to hear her make connections that I’m sure I’ve heard before, but I was finally understanding.

Courtney: Fallon Carter made a lasting impression on me. I could legit feel her from the stage. 

Photographer: Theo Milo

Photographer: Charla Storey

Photographer: Charla Storey; Theo Milo

The industry friend we were most excited to see again

Julie: This one is too hard! We hugged so many necks that were long overdue. I don’t think I could pick just one. Seeing our E3 members thrive and enjoy their first Engage! (for many of them) was so rewarding.

Courtney: So many friends! It’s too hard to pick just one. But if I had to, I’d say any of our talented E3 members. I also made a new friend in Juli from Garter Girl and look forward to our paths converging again. 

Photographer: Allen Tsai; Ashley Ludaescher

Photographer: Ashley Ludaescher; Charla Storey

Photographer: Charla Storey

Photographer: Charla Storey

Photographer: Phillip Van Nostrand

Photographer: Theo Milo

Life-saving product that I packed in my suitcase

Julie: Dyson Airwrap. It lives up to all the hype.

Courtney: This. Enough said. 

Photography: Paul Morse

Photographer: Theo Milo

Photographer: Allen Tsai

Best cocktail in New Orleans

Julie: A dirty martini made by Zac at the Four Seasons Chandelier Bar.

Courtney: French 75! 

Photographer: Ashley Ludaescher

Photographer: Allen Tsai; Ashley Ludaescher

Photographer: Charla Storey; Paul Morse

Best place for late-night eats

Julie: Where ever your friends are, that’s where you should be! That’s why they made Uber Eats and room service.

Courtney: Four Seasons New Orleans Room Service complete with your in-room robe and slippers. The kid’s chicken fingers and fries paired with both ranch and honey mustard are a personal favorite. 

Photographer: Ashley Ludaescher

Photographer: Charla Storey; Ashley Ludaescher

Photographer: Theo Milo

Tourist attraction that’s actually really fun

Julie: Is there anything not fun in New Orleans? I’ll sign up for any food tour ever!

Courtney: Cafe DuMonde

Photographer: Lance Nicoll

Photographer: Charla Storey

Photographer: Paul Morse

Photographer: Charla Storey; Jennefer Wilson

Favorite Engage!22 memory

Julie: Walking through the Mardi Gras float warehouse and then out to the drumline leading us into the gala. Being from the Gulf Coast and no stranger to Mardi Gras celebrations, a drumline is always a good idea.

Courtney: “Parading It Down the Street” (aka a massive second line) with 499 of my friends from the Orpheum Theater to Antoine’s. The path took us down both the famous Canal Street and Bourbon Street, and the roads were completely blocked off for us. We had a police escort, plus beads, parasols, handkerchiefs, and of course, a float and band! But I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the surprise performance by Ne-Yo at the gala and the incredible drone light show (like, are you kidding me?!) that was displayed as we transitioned to the Riverboat Louis Armstrong for the gala’s official after party. 

Side note: I had no idea Ne-Yo wrote Mario’s 2004 hit “Let Me Love You,” which came out during my senior year of highschool. I may be dating myself here of course, but that is one of my favorite pop/R&B hits ever

Photographer: Ashley Ludaescher; Charla Storey

Photographer: Paul Morse

Photographer: Phillip Van Nostrand

Photographer: Allen Tsai; Ashley Ludaescher

Photographer: Finch Photo

Photographer: Ashley Ludaescher

Photographer: Jennefer Wilson

Photographer: Ashley Ludaescher

My Engage! motto

Julie: Do it all, and don’t leave early.

Courtney: Set zero expectations, and simply have fun, be open, take risks, and do one thing that scares you. The magic happens at the edge of our comfort zones. 

Photographer: Charla Storey

Photographer: Charla Storey

Photographer: Charla Storey

Advice for first time Engage! attendees

Julie: Welcome to the family! Be open to the new experiences and moments that await you. There’s nothing like your first Engage! and you’ll make friendships here that last your entire career. 

Courtney: I was honored to have the opportunity to serve as an Engage! Ambassador this past week and present during the First Timer’s Session led by the “Tom Bergeron” of Engage!, Bob Conti. My advice for the group (there were 252 first timers this go around, the largest ever!) was the 3F’s: Have Fun, welcome to the Family. You’re part of it now, and this may be your First, but surely don’t let it be your last.

Photographer: Ashley Ludaescher; Allen Tsai

Photographer: Jennefer Wilson

Photographer: BangaBooth

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