Corporate Governance Conference

My attempt to crash the I C 2 Corporate Governance Conference was very successful.

I was tipped off about the conference by “Bob” on Wednesday night.

Thursday morning I whipped out my suit and headed over to the Barton Creek Resort and found the conference. Every single person in the room was either a CEO or member of a corporate board….and often times many boards at once. EVERYONE. In fact, “Regular” people weren’t even invited.

I purposely showed up 5 minutes late so I could rush in past the registration people. It worked. Everyone had huge nametags around their necks except me…..but it didn’t really cause any problems. I was spotted talking to some prominent figures, so no one questioned me after that.

I met tons of people there….and not ordinary people. When I asked “What do you do”…the typical response would begin with :
“I own…(insert big company here)
“I founded…(insert big company here)
“I am the director of…(insert big company here)

There were LOTS of very prominent figures present, but the most well known was Herb Kelleher, the famous founder of Southwest Airlines. I got to meet, talk and sit next to Herb Kelleher.

Not a very clear picture, but that’s Herb speaking.

Here is me (with the goofiest smile ever) with Herb Kelleher:

After he was done speaking, he sat down at a mostly empty table. I left my table and went to sit closer to Herb. I snapped this quick video to prove how close I was to him!

The rest of the speakers were great, but Herb was the BEST.

“Bob” and “Vinny” were both present at the conference. They are also both board members/CEO’s of very successful companies. I can’t give too much information about them, but both of them have companies undergoing extremely rapid growth. They are both very photogeneic:

The conference went from 10:00am till about 7:30pm. It was good food, good drinks, lots of mingling, learning and fun.

When I left, I couldn’t tell which car was mine. The Camry or the Mercedes SL500???

Well it’s Friday now. ‘Tis time to party!

Blog posted on: June 11, 2005

24 comments on “Corporate Governance Conference

  1. Anonymous

    Expanding your network is always smart. Anonymous will find more success creating his own network than trying to rely on Nev’s. Word of advice: Herb Kelleher meets aspiring youth everyday of the week – to avoid getting lost in the crowd, use some follow-up with him as soon as possible. Did you get his information?

  2. Anonymous

    I really enjoy your site and your fearlessness in the pursuit of money, but I wonder about the ethics of crashing invite-only business functions.

  3. Rebecca Carter

    Neville, I would have been shaking in my boots! Good job. BTW, the video of your proximity to Herb was the best.

  4. jim

    The ethics of crashing a party? Seriously, that shows guts. It’d be an ethical issue if you crashed a benefit dinner where the attendees donated $10,000 a plate to fight cancer… but it was a hobknob of entrepreneurs.

  5. Neville

    Wow, lots of Anonymous’

    Ethics of crashing this conference? I didn’t have any remorse about it then, and I don’t have any now.

    I DID crash a party for charity. Remember my post about meeting Sir Elton John and Andy Roddick?
    That too was also a hobknob of entrepreneurs, just in a different form.

    It’s pretty easy to crash the parties. Just wear a suit and act like you own the place. Not hard!


  6. ncnblog

    Nev, another awesome post. I was wondering, have you always been so “outgoing” or did you “develop” this ability to go up and talk to complete, successful strangers. I would imagine that you had to have been an outgoing little kid, but maybe this is something that you have learned since starting college. Once again, great post, and I like the fact that you don’t have tie on…you look like you OWN THE PLACE. (I wonder, however, when you are going to get “busted” by a fan of your blog…that would be the coolest)
    Keep up the great posts,

  7. Neville


    I think in high school I started to become more outgoing. As for going up to people and talking, it’s not really an ability. You just walk up to them and chat. Nothing to it.

    Funny you mention getting busted….if you type in “ic2 corporate governance conference” in Google….my site is in the top few results!

    I actually talked to the guy who came up with the idea for the conference. Nice guy…but I THINK he MAY have known I wasn’t supposed to be there. We ended up having a great conversation and he even introduced me to several more people.


  8. Anonymous

    Donald Trump wouldn’t let himself eventually slip back into the recesses of these “vip’s” minds though. Getting information for a strong follow-up is always key.

  9. Neville


    I’m not in the market for a job. I went to this conference to get business experience, not a 9to5.


  10. Anonymous

    Crashing “important” parties works in small numbers. Party crashers are usually identified pretty quickly. One or two party crashers are more of an amusement than a concern. If a large number of party crashers showed up, they would have been quickly escorted out.

  11. Anonymous

    It’d be an ethical issue if you crashed a benefit dinner where the attendees donated $10,000 a plate to fight cancer… but it was a hobknob of entrepreneurs.

    So is it ethical to steal a couple hundred dollars worth of lawn furniture from a billionnaire’s yard? It seems unethical in any situation to use someone else’s facilities, eat someone else catered food and drink, and generally reap the benefits of someone else’s event without paying or being invited. Stealing is stealing… Neville got the experience of the conference without paying admission.

    Neville, I think a lot of your readers may be questioning your sense of integrity. It might be good to write a post clarifying that issue. I’m sure most successful business-people would agree on the importance of integrity.

  12. Anonymous

    Herb spoke my graduation from McCombs last year and it was a very funny and insightful.

    I think you’re definitely on the right track. Even if you crashed their party, I’ve noticed that sometimes you have to take a risk and do something to make yourself stand out.

    They can either choose to reward your ingenuity or ask you to leave.


  13. Neville


    Thanks for backing me up on this one. Risks like this sometimes need to be taken. And yes, Herb Kelleher was absolutely HILARIOUS when he spoke! He even lit up a cigarette during his speech…..indoors!

    Sometimes you have to take these risks to get ahead. If I was asked to leave by the conference personell, I would have put up no protest……but they didn’t. I actually had some great conversations with the organizers of the event.

    Where else can you meet this many people of such high caliber in one place?


  14. Jose Anes

    I will not comment on the ethicallity of crashing a big boss party.

    However, I admire Neville’s ability to network. And I can learn from him that I should go to every event where successfully people meet. (although I do not know if I would take Neville’s approach).

    I am not very good at starting conversations. But I have to get better, and Neville inspires me.

    Money and Investing

  15. Anonymous

    Ah yes, and what an inspiration to us all…
    However, do not confuse creating an addition to your network with meeting somebody once. “Vinny” is networking. Herb is not.

  16. Tim MMF

    You went from no name tag to name tag showing in your picture w/ Herb.

    Good info though. Sounds like it was fun.

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