So Who’s Ready for ACO 2014?

ACO Conference 2014 — May 2-4
Pre-Conference Sessions May 1

The Phoenix Airport Marriott

The Phoenix Airport Marriott

It’s almost here –
will I see YOU there?

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Planning, Laundry, Packing, Rushing!

It’s almost time to leave for the 2014 ACO Conference, this year in Phoenix!
Ill be flying out of Cincinnati early Wednesday evening – April 30, 2014.

Yiikes!  There are only a few weeks left! Are you ready? 
(Have you even registered yet?)

  • The pre-conference is Thursday – hey, that’s May Day! – with the opening reception that night.
  • The Conference proper begins bright and e-a-r-l-y on Friday, May 2nd
  • The final sessions conclude around lunch-time on Sunday, May 4th

So much to do, so little time!

stuffedSuitcaseAfter packing and repacking all night for last year’s ACO Conference, unable to streamline my travel wardrobe enough to get it into one single suitcase, I finally had to give up and go to BED.

Colleague and business partner Peggy Ramundo and I were scheduled to leave Cincinnati in mere hours!

Atlanta seemed close enough for a girls-on-a-road-trip, so we decided to go for it. Since there was room in the car, I allowed myself to take w-a-y too much stuff. BAD idea.

It turned out to be significant hassle at the other end.

  • The conference hotel staff forced us to switch rooms mid-conference “due to technical difficulties” (don’t even ask – and I hope I never have to stay there another time!) 
  • So I had to pack it all up and take it on the road again — knowing that I would have to do it one more time at the end of the conference.  (So how late IS late check-out?)

What IS it about going away that makes it so difficult to
decide what to wear?

So many possibilities, so little room in the suitcase
(I’m convinced that it’s gotta’ be figuring out the shoes.)

Isn’t that JUST the ADD way?

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

brunette-with-suitcaseNot this time!

This year I simply must get every single thing for a week’s stay into ONE airline-approved carry-on (and my giganto purse, of course)unless I want to pay a fortune in excess baggage fees and cross my fingers that everything makes it back with me.

So I’m starting preparations for this year’s trip uncharacteristically EARLY!

As soon as I set this post to “publish” I am heading off to the bathroom to get up to my neck in hot water, prior to crawling off to B-E-D – planning pad and pen in hand – hoping that the tedium of prelim planning bores me to sleep quickly.

I want to be up as early as possible tomorrow to begin my travel planning and prep in earnest. My goal is to be ready to GO by the Monday after Easter — a whole week to pack with a whole week to spare!

They’re playing révèle E – A – R – L – Y every single day of this conference. Bummer!

  • Tough with my sleep disorder in any case, it’s tougher at a Conference. I usually end up staying awake way too late every night, since it’s the only time to really catch up with former students and colleagues I haven’t seen for a year or more. 
  • I don’t dare start out with sleep debtI’d never make it!

Not your Same ole’ Conference Paradigm

Phillip Martin, artist/educator

Phillip Martin, artist/educator

As I told you last year, ADD conferences are nothing like almost any other “business conference” you’ve attended — right down to the [lack of] dress code.  

The attendees set the tone as they continue to color outside the lines. Given the way that we ADDers operate, we have no choice, really — and that’s a GREAT thing!

WHAT a relief to be among the ADD Tribe,
where individuality is celebrated
rather than regimented!

If you’ve never given yourself the gift of getting to swim with the school of fish who swim like YOU, you simply must.  It will change your attitude about ADD and about yourself — which will change your entire approach to life.

You NEED to get to know a great many more amazing folks like YOU, I promise.

Meeting other ADD Coaches

At ADDA, CH.A.D.D. and other ADD Conferences, I do manage to connect with a few of my ADD Coaching buddies, primarily in attendance as speakers.  Those conferences are generally targeted toward ADDers themselves however, rather than their helping professionals. Other COACHING conferences are weighted toward what I call “vanilla” coaches.

ACO is unusual in that it is designed to support ADD Coaches and ADD specialists from other fields. So while everyone is welcomed and embraced, fewer of the attendees are what I fondly refer to as “civilians,” military brat that I am.

The ACO Conference is a unique opportunity to interact with a BUNCH of your colleagues in the ADD helping field, and find out who’s who and what’s new. 

The ADD world changes rapidly.  Since many too many of our doctors neglect to stay current, we have no choice BUT to remain well informed – to compensate for their outdated information base!

FORTUNATELY, ADD Coaches continue to increase in number – and we consider it an important part of our JOB to stay up-to-date.

Did that sound snide? Hmmmmmm . . .  Let me add that I’m NOT talking about the docs that work hard to stay current and keep us in the loop — and, thankfully, there ARE some of those too. IN FACT, some of them will be attending this very conference. (Thanks guys!)

ANYWAY, it’s been said before and I’ll say it again: as the founder of the world’s first ADD-specific coaching curriculum and co-founder of the ADD Coaching field itself, I am consistently overwhelmed with gratitude for the beautiful garden that is growing now from seeds I planted decades ago.  I stand amazed at all the “new varieties” being developed all over the world — without my having to lift a single additional shovel!

Reprise of the ADD Book Store

Regular readers already know that I read the way others watch television (for diversion, relaxation, entertainment and education), so there are rarely very many books available for purchase that aren’t already ON my shelves.  STILL, I always look forward to seeing what’s new and getting more of the books in my ADD library signed.

It lights me up to have a personal connection to the author of a book on one of my shelves.

There’s nothing like an inscription to remind me that I number among my friends a great many of the authors of the many books I devour, and of my desire to befriend ALL of them.

I am eager to see what this year brings
(and I hope I see YOU there!)

similarcrazy2Travel Plans (in case you miss me)

I was able to get a direct flight TO the conference, but since there are no direct flights coming back, I’m staying put that final Sunday to make sure that I can get a good night’s sleep before puddle-jumping my way home for hours.

Essentially MIA from April 30th to May 7th
Unless you’re going to the conference, too, that is!

Anyone who’s ever been to a conference where there are several hundred excited ADDers wandering around in a single hotel will understand – you simply can’t be there and even think about anywhere else!  At least I can’t.

I won’t be back, even to be able to check on this blog,
until Tuesday night, May 6th at the very earliest. 

THAT MEANS I won’t be available to respond to or approve comments for almost a week (although I WILL leave behind another Habits Series article that will auto-post on Wednesday while I’m away, if WordPress works as designed).

But don’t let that stop you from liking, sharing and ringing in while I’m gone. I’ll begin to approve and respond to comments upon awakening Wednesday the 7th – and will spend the next few days hopping around the blog-o-sphere to see what you’ve posted while I’ve been gone.

Take advantage of my hiatus from blog-tending to catch up on some of the almost 400 posts and pages of all kinds of helpful information you may have missed. There’s LOTS here I’ll bet most of you have never seen. Click around and pretend I just posted it — it will be brand new to you!

Let me know if YOU plan to be in Phoenix for this Conference.
Let’s make plans to get together.

Everyone else: If you can’t make it this year, start NOW saving your shekels for next the next one, approximately a year from now. 

They’ll announce the dates and location at this year’s conference, most likely, so I will try to remember to come back and update this paragraph. (Should I ADD-out, they’ll no-doubt have that information on the ACO website shortly after the conclusion of this year’s conference.)

As always, if you want notification of new articles – in the ACO Conference Update series, or any new posts in any category on this blog – give your name and email to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right.  (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too)  STRICT No Spam Policy

If you’d like some one-on-one (or group) mentor coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this article (either for your own life, that of a loved one, or as coaching skills development), click the E-me link  <—here (or on the menubar at the top of every page) and I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)  

REMEMBER, I won’t even find out you sent it until I return to my “regular” work on the afternoon of
Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 – but send it NOW so you don’t forget.
I’ll check on Wednesday afternoon & will respond Wednesday evening.
WATCH for it (email too!) and call me back! Don’t lose your momentum at that stage!


Related Content Links you may have missed in the article above:

ACO Conference Articles

ACO Conference 2014

 ACO Conference related content here on

ACO Conference 2013

ACO Conference 2012

Some 2012 wrap-ups & articles from other speakers/attendees:

All links below open in a new window/tab
(read, close the window, come back here for the next stop on the tour) 

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

3 Responses to So Who’s Ready for ACO 2014?

  1. wendy says:

    Sounds like a great place to network and learn! I hope you have a great time.
    So…hubby having ADD is why I always have a smaller suitcase than he does? Well, not so much anymore since I have to carry so many meds…but if you don’t count that, it’s funny.

    funny little story.
    The first time I went with my “boyfriend” to visit his parents in Tucson…we live in NC, we were getting the luggage and my now father-in-law made a joke about the big suitcase, how it must be mine…I smiled and picked up the little one…nope, it’s all your son’s! I’m one of those girls that carry everything that matches. 2 pair of shoes, extra undies of course…and I use very little girly things…so no extras like hair spray, curlers..ect.

    Hubby makes a list a week early, packs perfectly, I don’t know how he does it…he still has more than me. And he usually wears the same shoes all the time…but have to take these, just in case. Oh and let’s take this that you have to hang! Nope, if you have to iron it, it’s not coming with me. haha. Sure I may forget something, but there is always a store near by. (yep I’m the artist…coloring outside the lines is all part of me!….Hubby may have ADD but he also has OCD…so, outside of the way. But he does like to dress a bit differently. Favorite shoes, high top converse covered in colored strings and wild shoestrings!…yep a guy after my own heart)

    I do need to check out Not wanting to pay the interest on Sleep Debt. I have the worst time with sleep!!

    wrote you an email today, via your contact link. forgot to send hubby’s email address. just write me…or call him..if you still need the help.

    Peace to you.
    Have a ball, and it’s a great idea to start planning now!!
    I love to have a plan in place.


    • WHAT a great comment — I hope you meant to be funny, because I have to admit I laughed! I guess I don’t have to tell you that if I were married to your husband we’d probably be in debter’s prison for over-limit luggage fees. (Sometimes it’s a good thing when opposites attract)

      SO glad you mentioned the email re: contact link! My email client’s filters just went belly up – so I may never have found it. Now I’ll go look “backstage” here on ADDandSoMuchMore to find it.

      SLEEP? Do NOT get me started on a “worst time with” competition – I can’t imagine any way you’d win! (check out link==> Jetlagged for LIFE! (Living with JetLag) sometime before you decide to enter the dual 🙂 )

      Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting. NOW to go find your email.



    • #2 reply to Wendy — Just sent YOU an email telling you I did not get yours (searched for it the fast way – using “find”!!!). I only have notices of prior comments attached to your email. NOR is a contact form “backstage” — at least not yet.

      IF, by some chance, you used a different email address, I’m sunk (re: searching)

      I sent you MY contacts, so the ball is back in your court.


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