Feb 2021 – Sometimes, in my dreams, I imagine events like an iceberg.

Did you know that 90% of an iceberg’s mass is below the water’s surface? What you see on top of the water is only a small piece of what is really floating majestically in the ocean.

I think of events like icebergs because the bulk of event work is what lies beneath … the part underwater is just as majestic and awesome as as the part on top, but it often goes unseen and unrecognized. In fact, this is how the expression “tip of the iceberg” came to be. The saying is meant to illustrate a small part of a larger unseen issue.


This iceberg analogy hit me hard recently when someone suggested that the work and expertise involved in producing a virtual event was inferior to the work and expertise required to plan an in-person one. I immediately felt unseen and unheard. I also felt penalized for making it all look so damn easy. Because the thing of beauty that everyone sees on the surface is being held up by a massive amount of effort (and skilled people) below.

This analogy also reminded of my days working with Canada’s national synchronized swimming team (now known as artistic swimming). The swimmers were constantly under appreciated as athletes because they made it look so effortless. As they smiled and glided across the pool, below the surface, they egg-beatered at a frantic pace with hearts pounding out of their chests. In the team event, often several members of the team remain underwater supporting a few others who perform dives, spins, and acrobatic manoeuvres on the surface.

It is the same in cheerleading. My daughter was a ‘flyer’ on her competitive cheer team in high school. The flyer is the one at the top who performs all the stunts, gets most of the attention, and wows the judges. Yet, the flyer is being supported by several athletes on the ground known as ‘bases’. There is no way a flyer can flip and spin without the propulsion provided by her teammates.

As we approach the one year mark of pandemic living, let’s all be mindful of what lies beneath. The beautiful thing we see on the surface (or at the top of the pyramid) only exists because of those who have come together from the bottom up.