The focus of today’s Paulick Report Forum is Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s Director of Sales. The forum has a question-and-answer setup and gives a lot of interesting information about the 2010 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Geoffrey answers questions about the new format of the September sale, new technologies Keeneland is experimenting with to better accommodate their clients, and the state of the economy and its anticipated effect on the sale. Today’s edition of the Paulick Report Forum can be read at PaulickReport.com.
The article reminded me of my first encounter with Geoffrey. It was the Friday before the 2009 September sale and I was working in my office at Keeneland when I received an e-mail from my supervisor/boss/person I was interning under, Julie Balog. She asked that I come see her in her office because she had a new task for me. I was in her office a few minutes later and she gave me my job for the afternoon: do a short video-interview with Geoffrey about Keeneland’s new “Kee-Bid” service. She told me Geoffrey would be free at 1 pm and to head to his office a little before then.
Well at this point, I had only been working at Keeneland for a couple of weeks and had not gotten the chance to meet Geoffrey; however, I knew who he was. His knowledge of Thoroughbred pedigrees and the Thoroughbred sales industry made him one of my idols in this business. So when I was told that I was going to interview him, a couple of thoughts went through my mind. My first thought: holy crap I’m going to meet and interview Geoffrey Russell; I’m so excited! My second thought: holy crap I’m going to meet and interview Geoffrey Russell; I’m going to throw up.
At this point, I was really nervous, but it was just the beginning. Upon walking back into my office, the woman I shared the office with asked me what I would be doing with my day. When I told her that I would be interviewing Geoffrey, her eyes got big and she said, “Oh…interesting.”
“Well, what does that mean?” I said.
“Oh nothing…it’s just that it’s three days before the big sale and he’s probably a little stressed. Umm…I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
Well, that conversation didn’t help calm my nerves. For the next several minutes I just sat there and thought that I was going to say something stupid or do something wrong and Geoffrey was going to blow up on me. I thought, “It’s three days before one of the biggest sales in the world, and he’s running it. He doesn’t want to be interviewed by some kid he’s never met.” I was scared to death, but I had a job to do and so I grabbed my video-camera and headed for his office.
I arrived outside in his office and knocked on his door. “Mr. Russell?” I asked. I heard the instructions to come inside and so I did. “Hi Mr. Russell. My name is Travers Manley.”
As he extended his hand, with a big smile on his face, he said, “It’s Geoffrey; great to meet you.”
My fears could not have been more ridiculous. Geoffrey was glad to meet me and glad to do the interview. We talked for several minutes before and after the interview and even joked around some. I thought, “What was I afraid of? This guy’s awesome!”
Upon returning to the marketing and communications section of the Keeneland offices, I began to tell my new co-workers the story of how I interviewed Geoffrey. I even bragged a little and told them that I think he really liked me. It was a great moment for me and I was lucky to have had the opportunity to meet/interview Geoffrey. I’m even luckier to now call him a friend.
The video interview that I did with Geoffrey that day is below. It is of far-less quality than the videos I made for Keeneland later in my internship, but I think it’s still interesting. Enjoy.