The real reason for our weekend in Lucerne was Nestlé. Well, the fact that Nestlé is a sponsor of the Lucerne Festival. Every year, Nestlé sends an email inviting employees to sign up for tickets to a night at the Lucerne Festival. You can request up to two tickets, and the names of those interested are put into a lottery. I knew someone who went last year, and she said it was great, so I decided to sign up. I won two tickets, and so did another friend!
After I received an email confirming I was invited, I received an invitation in the mail – complete with a detailed agenda for the evening. A couple of weeks after that, I received my tickets in the mail. I was shocked when I saw the face value on the tickets – 320 CHF each! Whoa! The Nestlé CEO, Paul Bulcke, was hosting the evening, and the four of us made it a personal goal to have a picture taken with him. After all, it’s not very often that we get to attend an event with the CEO!
The event kicked off with welcome drinks and a speech from the CEO at 5:30. We left our apartment in time to drive the 10 minutes down the hill into the city centre. Only instead of 10 minutes, it took us well over an hour to make it to the venue. The single road going into town was crawling. I tried not to panic. It was okay if we missed the welcome speech (which we did), but it would not be okay if we missed the musical performance! Thankfully, we made it to the venue 10-15 minutes before show time…with just enough time to snap some pictures and find our seats.
The opening act was fantastic! It lasted maybe 30 minutes, and then we went back to the terrace lounge (which was set aside for Nestlé) for drinks and ice cream during the intermission. The second act was close to an hour, and I loved it! I’m a bit of an orchestra nerd anyway, but I loved watching these musicians. They were some of the most expressive musicians I’ve ever seen, which made the performance even more entertaining!
After the concert, there was a dinner for the Nestlé guests. My invitation said it was a “buffet dinner,” so I was confused when I didn’t see a buffet set up. It turns out that in this case, buffet meant servers bringing around 7-9 courses on tiny plates. It was delicious!
During dinner, Mr. Bulcke began making the rounds. He lingered for a while with a group on one side of us. As he walked by, I thought we would exchange some words and then request a photo. As it turns out, he said hello, but then started talking to a group on our other side whom he seemed to know. Then, another couple came up to speak with him. And after that, he continued moving around the room. I was so disappointed that our photo plan didn’t play out as expected.
Others in our group were more optimistic than me. As he conversed with others, there were selfies taken to document the fact that we were spending our Saturday evening with the CEO.
After he moved on, I tried to stop obsessing about missing our photo opportunity. Thankfully, we had a hilarious story teller with us, so there was a ridiculous amount of laughter, which is a really good distraction!
Just before the evening ended, we devised a plan to make sure we got our photo. I waited all week for the professional photos to be published before writing this post, but unfortunately, they still aren’t available. I’ll write “Part II” at a later date with the proof of our victory. All I will say for now is that we were the last photo with Mr. Bulcke before he left the venue for the evening.
I am so grateful for a company that treats its employees to such wonderful events. I have a feeling that this will be one we will talk about for many years to come. I’m also grateful for colleagues who have become friends. Friends with whom I can laugh until I cry. That kind of laughter is good for my soul!