It's not often that my two vocational worlds collide. When I'm not photographing, I spend my time as a senior account manager at a marketing agency in Grand Rapids. Twelve of my fourteen years have been spent serving the same client, an unnamed Fortune 500 medical technology company. (That may or may not have been named one of the top 100 best places to work...in the WORLD, which makes it one of the top 100 clients in the world to serve.) The benefits of this relationship are too many to name. But in this time, I've had the privilege to grow in my vocation, work with incredibly talented people, attend some dazzling events and travel to some unlikely places. The latest: France!
We were asked to create multiple videos to support a new corporate acquisition...just three short weeks away. Easy....if your passport isn't expired, you remember your high school French and you can take a crew. None of those details worked in my favor, though they all eventually worked out. The assignment entailed conducting 30+ interviews of both the French staff—from CFO to R&D—and representatives from the U.S. staff that I work with on a day-to-day basis. Added bonus: a cadaver lab and two internet-sourced camera men: on3 who spoke very little English (but wore a Captain America short for me to transcend the language barrier) and another that misunderstood the bid and believed he was there to film dental implant patients, not dead homeless Frenchmen.
This is probably the most unusual part of my role. Most people with BFAs don't end up doing what I do, nor do most marketers. But I find attending live surgeries and cad labs kind of amazing. It's worse than it sounds and much more interesting than you can imagine. Plus you get to wear scrubs and lead. Which basically makes people think you're a doctor for the day and therefore bolsters your ego.
The perks of traveling for work usually extend to staying in nice hotels and good meals. I am NOT going to complain about that. I rarely get to experience the places I travel to, and that's ok. I'm not paid for that and I want to be focused on what I was hired for. This time around though, I got to take a walk and take in the basics of life in Toulouse before digging into my assignment early the next morning. Thank God for photos, because after working all day, catching a red eye, followed by a day of meetings and a 6-hour time difference, a lot of this was a blur!
They say Toulouse is a smaller scale, less touristy version of Paris. I believe that to be partially true. Toulouse is a city all its own though, not a knock off. It's beautiful, busy and nuanced. Our hosts were the most warm and considerate people we could have hoped for. They hosted meals, shared parts of their lives with us and put up with all our "Americaness." All in all, it was a great way to start 6 days of "work" travel. Take a peak of my evening expedition!