New friends and old, silver and gold

"Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold."

That little tune from my girl scouting days was running through my head Sunday night as the 2009 International Corporate Citizenship conference kicked off with a dinner reception sponsored by Intel. Yes, the conference is about information, research, tools and new learning on corporate citizenship. But it is just as much about the people who are gathered here in San Francisco.

Many come looking forward to reconnect with the friends they have formed through long relationships with the Boston College Center. Others come knowing no one, but that doesn't last long. Shy is not a word to describe anyone I have met who works in the corporate citizenship field.

As the room filled Sunday night, so did the noise level. Conversations from the personal (kids, cancer, engagements) to the professional (new jobs, new programs, shared success stories) filled the room. This is a great thing. There are many new challenges facing corporate citizenship practitioners these days and we all need to find places to recharge.

Last night was the beginning. There was a tangible energy to the evening that will carry the participants not just through the rest of the conference but back to their companies around the globe. And each of them will bring back some silver and some gold.