Learning by Showing Up


In October, I attended the PMPA’s annual meeting in San Diego. It’s always a highlight of the year because the lineup of topics and the quality of the presenters is so good. This year was special because Darlene Miller was elected president of the organization, the first female to hold that position.

One of the cool things about these meetings is the downtime we have to meet and talk with members about their businesses and the market and life and all sorts of things. So I was sitting on the patio of the Hotel del Coronado with a couple of members drinking a beer and talking about things on a beautiful San Diego afternoon when this lady with a hawk on her wrist came up. Sounds like a joke, or we had too many beers, but neither was true.

The young lady strolled by our table and, naturally curious, we asked why she had a hawk on her wrist. She proceeded to educate us about birds of prey and their training and feeding and why she was wandering around the hotel with this beautiful bird.

She works for a company that trains birds of prey to keep unwanted birds away. Our hotel is one of her clients, and the hawk’s job, technically it is a Harris hawk, is to keep seagulls from swarming the guests as they eat. Airports also hire her company, I was glad to hear.

Interestingly, her hawk is trained not to kill the seagulls, although it could, but only to scare and scatter them. Made sense to me since bloody bird parts raining on the guests might offend some. Remarkably, it only takes a couple of weeks to train one of these birds.

So, in addition to the excellent speaker’s topics, I took something most unexpected away from my PMPA meeting. Showing up is the secret of life and learning.