The silence is what hit me first. In an enormous ballroom filled with a thousand people, in an enormous city filled with millions more, a man in a tuxedo stood on a dais and waited for the drumroll to fade before announcing the winner of the 2015 MM&M Small Healthcare Agency of the Year.
It’s been exactly one calendar month since New York, and I’ve honestly spent much of that time trying to figure out what to write for this post. We’ve been down this road before, but this time felt different. Maybe it’s because we actually brought a squad of 2e’ers with us to the ceremony. Maybe it’s because MM+M has long been considered the most prestigious award for our industry. There’s a small chance it was the alcohol. Whatever the case, it’s the silence that I remember.
Hollywood will have you believe that in the big moments of your life everything slows down, presumably to allow for the flashback to catch viewers up with the backstory. In that slow down, you have time to reflect; to think about what got you to This Point. This is a lie.
In that moment — and believe me, this was a big moment for us — I didn’t think of the people that work relentlessly to create the beautiful, fantastic work we’ve become known for. I didn’t reminisce about our clients, without whom we literally couldn’t be where we are today. Instead, I thought, “Oh. My. Science. Ross [Toohey, our president] is going to have a heart attack.”
So we won. We went on stage to collect our award, Ross got interviewed by the tallest woman on earth, and much more alcohol was consumed — which leads me to 3am pizza.
Untied bowties and missing cuff links would suggest this wasn’t the time to push playback on the memory machine, but the mind has a funny way of working. In this random and definitely unhygienic Civic Center pizza parlor is where the slow down would occur. It’s where the outcome of our collective effort — not just for this year, or by the 30+ individuals back in St. Louis and Fort Worth, but for all the years and by all the people that have led us to this exact, precise point — finally hit home. It was here, amidst the cheese and sausage and pepperoni, that the reflection of what we’d done and the humbling, resulting silence finally took over.
And it was golden.