As someone who, on average, participates in fitness shows 2x each month, I’ve become accustomed to the tone and expectation of these events. Everyone is “on their game” – from fitness presenters representing their very best professional profile, to the attendee: full of expectation and awaiting inspiration. The smiling conference organizers buzz excitedly, with a tinge of anxiety – expecting the event to flow without incident, although there are always small fires to put out.
I began attending ECA shows, both in Miami and NYC in 1998, and began presenting in 2001, and can tell you: ECA is different than most US shows; the staff is a close-knit group – they know each other personally. Collected from NY / Long Island, the staff carries the tough edge that New Yorkers are known for. Not rude; just matter-of-fact – without added forced smiles, politically correct agendas, or specialized customer care. (As a New Yorker myself, I say this with love). The atmosphere says: “This is ECA. Be prepared: we are about to rock your world. Now stand in line like everyone else, sweetheart. Here, we do things our way.”
The November ECA Florida event was very different this year. In the wake of hurricane Sandy, I learned that the ECA offices had been flooded just prior to the show. AV equipment was ruined, signage and handouts were destroyed. The typical organization was lost. The staff was mentally exhausted – many people struggling with the concept that when they returned home to NY, they would need to cope with the devastation, which had now become their lives. On average, the ECA staff had a tough time staying focused, but arrived to the event, knowing that The Show Must Go On. Their characteristic toughness was gone. Instead, I saw raw, vulnerable, openly wounded people taking solace in a few days of Florida escape.
Presenters flew in from across the US, and MDA arrived as a team from sunny CA. We rallied with energy, hugs and smiles! As attendees from the NY metro area rolled in with mental exhaustion, MDA reinvigorated the troops them with finesse, through tear-jerking Spinning experiences, introspective mindful movement sessions and team-taught circuit events – all full of life and brilliant synchronicity. The MDA family really stepped up. I can personally say that I felt the need to dig a little deeper and give NY a piece of my heart.
All in all – yet another very successful ECA event. In usual fashion, NY proved that they can handle anything… and as always, MDA exceeded the inspiration and motivation that attendees have come to expect.
Hang on, NY – we are cheering for you.