By Dion Sanders
Sales Director at Carvertise

It all started on March 26, 2020.

A few weeks after the world discovered itself in isolation and in a state of lockdown, I had a calendar invitation entitled “Geopath and OHHToday – Virtual Oh Happy Hour and Networking.”

There were about 90 perfect strangers from all over the country in this zoom, and a few outsiders, from different parts of the industry, were trying to understand the unimaginable situation we all found ourselves in. For all, it was a devastating time . Our livelihoods were all pinned to the word “out of the house”, the place no one was allowed to go.

Message for Wrapify
Message for Wrapify

Hosts, a Kim Frank And Bill board, Went around a seemingly endless square box of heads on a screen, introducing themselves and their company to everyone. Week after week, the virtual happy hour goes on, once upon a time strangers are now familiar faces. Conversations centered on how to overcome obstacles, how to maintain morale, how we can cooperate to help each other, and how to find light at the end of the tunnel. In times of frustration, the group comforted each other and became more confident.

“I’ll host it every week until we’re out,” said Kim Frank. Little did he know that the announcement would make him promise to support the industry for many, many months.

Weeks turned into months, and as we struggled with our lives and the art world we once knew our group presence had waned. Before you know it, tuning all square boxes is filled with only one screen. Conversations turned out of our jobs, into our lives, and real personal relationships began to grow.

Some nights, happy hours last for hours. Husband / wife / notable others and children were present, only the tears that are now being shed were due to historical laughter. Themed weeks were hosted, holidays were celebrated and even a talent show was held. Our group had a commitment to our weekly calls, wherever we were, train, car ride, sports, dinner – we tuned in to our weekly chats, and for two years we were a part of each. The life of another.

We dreamed and hoped for that day that we could all be together, finally meet in person, and that opportunity has come to us.

This week, on the white sand beach of Marco Island, the OAAA / Geopath OOH conference was to celebrate the revival of our industry. Filled with anxiety and excitement, we shed tears of joy when we finally embraced each other, the team that saw us through the worst of times, up to the best.

A friendship that no one expected, a bond that no one can explain. We opened our homes, our hearts, shared our lives together, became part of many experiences, laughed and cried and supported each other. The most challenging point of our professional life has brought us together. I love this art for many reasons, but mostly for bringing these wonderful people to me who I now call friends.

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