One of us may have left his dignity on a pool table, and one of us may have missed her Sunday departure wakeup call, but both the Ventuckian and the SLO-poke had a great time putting on the Santa Barbarian mask for this year’s AIGA Leadership shindig in Dallas. Thanks to the 200+ other design leaders who listened, laughed, and learned with us.

My Top 5 takeaways were:

1. If you have wisdom to share, then don’t be shy. Ask for the mic and speak your piece, because it’s worth hearing.

2. If you get the chance to show a brilliant newbie the ropes, do it. They will shine and impress everyone they meet.

3. If people sincerely call you nice names like “mentor” or “my favorite president,” say thank you and believe them.

4. If people in charge give you the opportunity to show off your kickass superpower, flaunt it proudly.

5. If you leave some of your dignity behind—on, say, a pool table—make sure you get paid for it (and yes, I did).

These folks continue to be the most welcoming group of people I’ve ever met. Thanks to AIGA SB for sending me and Rachell to represent the 805. Thanks to AIGA HQ and AIGA Dallas Fort Worth for their well done hard work producing everything. Thanks to old friends and new friends and friends who endured #FOMO because they couldn’t be there this year.

I may take that endurance test next year myself; I don’t know if this was my last retreat, but another thing you learn at these things is that AIGA Baltimore (next year’s host) is a force to be reckoned with and anything they do is not to be missed.

My full recap is here.