I had a strange feeling going in. Something wasn't quite right; everything to this point had gone too smoothly. I just knew it was too good to be true.
The set up for the latest Hot Seat Webinar, entitled “The Faces of Kids' Chance: A Life Changing Organization” had gone smoothly enough. The guests had readily agreed to participate. All of the “tech checks,” an early procedure we go through to make sure participants systems are compatible with our webinar platform, had been completely flawless.
So, when the entire system came crashing down about 20 minutes into the program, I was not surprised; or at least I wouldn't have been, if we were aware at the time that we had crashed and burned.
Perhaps I should explain….
Co-host Judge David Langham and I wanted to produce a program that not only extolled the virtues of Kids' Chance, an organization that provides scholarships for the children of seriously or fatally injured workers, but would actually “put a face” on the concept by interviewing Kids' Chance recipients. We invited Kids' Chance of Florida recipient Duneshka Moran and Kids' Chance of New Jersey alum Alexandra ‘Ali” Kurnath. We also invited former Kids' Chance of America president Ann Bishop. All readily agreed to participate.
Now, my first clue of impending doom should have been the tech checks. These early tests normally encounter either sound and/or video issues with at least one presenter. We spend a decent amount of time futzing around with browsers, plug ins, drivers, lighting and more to get everything just right. This time, however, absolutely no problems were encountered. Ms. Bishop briefly had a browser plug in issue, but quickly resolved it without any assistance. These tech checks were virtually flawless. Everyone accessed the room without issue, and both lighting and sound were excellent. In retrospect, it was just too smooth of a process.
Yesterday, the day of the actual production, we all logged into the presentation room about 15 to 30 minutes early. I even made a comment to Judge Langham that this had all been too easy, and that something bad must be looming in our future. Ms. Moran, from Jacksonville, FL, was having trouble with her connection, and kept dropping in and out. We made the decision to go as “audio only” with her to save bandwidth on her network. About 2 minutes before “go live” Judge Langham made a joke about how, about two minutes into the show, I would kick him “off the air.” It was a reference to an earlier episode faux pas, where I hit the wrong button while he was introducing guests and accidentally, well, kicked him off the air.
The funny part about this was, just as he finished the joke and raised his arms in emphasis, his feed dropped, and he was gone. I swear I didn't have anything to do with it. Really. Nevertheless, this left us opening the program with just 3 of the five presenters, as Ms. Moran's feed also dropped at that time.
Eventually all got back in the room, and everything seemed to be proceeding in relative order. About twenty minutes into the program a very quick warning flashed at the bottom of my screen. It said, “You are off the air.” I was confused by this, as another indicator on the screen still read “On Air,” so I shrugged it off as a quick tech glitch. Within about ten minutes, however, we were getting lots of comments on the online chat area that told us something may have gone wrong. We were indeed off the air.
Since these programs are recorded for future viewing, it was my hope that it would all still be available for viewing later, so we pressed on. Alas, that appears to have not been the case. The recording stopped when the broadcast did, and, although we prattled on brilliantly for another 35 minutes or so, it was a conversation that would be lost to the ages. You will unfortunately have to take my word for it.
We are investigating with our webinar provider what may have gone wrong.
Our very impressive guests showed that Kids' Chance not only helps kids of injured workers, it is helping improve communities with the impact they have because of their education. Ms. Kurnath today is employed by an online HR company, managing dozens of accounts for her employer. Ms. Moran was part of a ground-breaking research team that made some dramatic discoveries and advances in the treatment of breast cancer.
I have boasted before that the “kids of Kids' Chance” are committed and strong. Having already survived more adversity than many of us will see in a lifetime, they defy today's stereotypes of the pampered and easily offended “snowflake” college student. Both of these young women were impressive examples of the quality student we see in the Kids' Chance system. It was a pleasure to speak with them and learn about their experiences.
It was a great conversation. I'm just sorry none of you got to hear it.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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