Audience listening to Shirley Bovshow at Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot’s Savy Horticultural Tech Saved Me From Embarrassment!

by / 5 Comments / 215 View / April 13, 2008


Chris Hassell: Epcot landscape architect and tech savvy dude


I learned  a lesson about asking for help while I was in Florida last weekend at the Walt Disney Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

I was asked to speak at this iconic venue on “Art in the Garden,” and wanted to bring my “A” game to the Disney stage.

As far as I’m concerned, Disney is a major player when it comes to artistry, weather it be “imagineering” or “plantineering!”

Only my best would do.



Slide Show Problems

Unfortunately, my excitement turned to horror as I realized that I couldn’t open my slide presentation and show-time was less than 24 hours away!

Apparently, the Power Point presentation that I had laboriously created on my office computer was not saved in a format that my laptop could open or read.

I spent hours keying in every command I could think of, but nothing worked!


The Voice of Reason

My husband returned to the hotel room from his “Magic Kingdom” adventure and found me pulling my hair out and talking to myself.


“What’s wrong?” my husband Larry asked.


“My slide presentation isn’t working and I’m ruined and  I will never be asked to speak at Epcot again!”


The words flew out of my mouth like projectile vomit.


“Calm, down Shirley, what’s wrong?”


Larry asked in his most calm, “Mr. Rogers” voice.


He’s like that. We are opposites.


“I don’t know what’s wrong.  The presentation worked when I tested it at home, but now it doesn’t!”


I cried.


“Why don’t you call the show coordinator, and ask her to help you find a tech person who can help you?”


My husband is a very practical person.


“What, and tell her my presentation isn’t working so that she’ll  think I’m unprofessional, start worrying and never ask me to come back?”


I responded like a drama queen.


I’m not a drama queen but this was Disney!


Technical problems happen all the time. You think you’re the first speaker with slide show problems? Call her right now or you’ll have real problems come tomorrow when you have no slide show!”

I knew Larry was right, but I felt embarrassed because I wanted to come off as  “Ms. Polished Presenter“  and make a great first impression with them.


Just Do It!

When I made the call, Debbie, the show coordinator,  was very gracious and  promised to have someone help me within the hour.

Almost immediately, Chris Hassell,  a landscape architect at Epcot, (who happens to be a  computer wiz),  was at my hotel door.


Poor Chris, he had to endure my long-winded story.

In contrast, his response  was short and positive.


“I can fix it. Do you have a copy of the presentation on a memory stick?” He asked.


“I do,” I answered, handing it to him.


“This has happened a few times with some of our speakers and I know what the problem is. I’ll have this up and running for you in a few minutes,” Chris reported.


I was so worked up that it was hard to accept Chris’ word that he could fix the problem.


Chris’s calm demeanor and confident approach won me over. He explained to me what I had done wrong and showed me how to avoid the problem again in the future.

A few keystrokes later, and the slide show was up and running!


It’s funny how the situation seemed so insurmountable to me, but “so computer 101to someone like Chris who knew what he was doing.

The lesson I learned was that “there’s always somebody who understands what seems arcane to me and can fix problems that I can’t!”


Expertise is a Gift to Be Shared!

My slide show scare also brought a new appreciation for my own work as a landscape  designer and gardening coach!

I realized that even though  some of the information I share with clients and television viewers may seem basic to me, it may be exactly what they need to know to solve their gardening dilemma!


Just the thought that I could be a hero to them, like Chris was for me, brought a smile to my face.

I had the confidence to go out and share my information with the world, with or without a slide-show!

5 Comment

  1. […] created it for my live presentation for the “Epcot International Flower and Garden Show” in Disney World last […]

  2. […] photo was taken a few months ago when I spoke at Walt Disney World’s “International Flower and Garden Festival” I was up 15 pounds then. More was to […]

  3. Cinj, I did learn my lesson-no more wasting time and getting bent out of shape. I’m calling pros from now on! Thanks for your comment.

    Anna, so you get wound up too? Maybe your husband is like mine, calm, rational, stoic, (the opposite of our personalities!) It works best for me that way. What I like to share with everyone is that life is not always big smiles and big energy like they see when I’m on television or on the stage.

    Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself one of the happiest people on earth, but I go through my frustrations and really care about giving my very best so sometimes I’m way too tough on myself. Even the shortest tv presentation represents hours of my own prep time. I love it though and wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks for appreciating my small contribution.

  4. I get worked up too, especially if it took hours to prepare and your whole career is banking on it. You and I live in the age of new technology where we didn’t always have the latest and greatest taught to us in school. We got to ask! Those trained computer braniacs come in and make it seem like mowing grass. Here we suffered for hours thinking we ruined our lives. I would have barfed.

    Kudos to your hero! And to your calm husband for his calmness and reality check. My dh is just like that too. Aren’t they wonderful. I’ve been blogging about the poor folks out there who know nothing about gardening and are lost and we do appreciate you Miss Shirley and all the free info you provide. I know you worked your little hind end off with a family to raise to earn your degree—then you turn around and give us free tid bits here and there. Thanks so much.

    I wish I could have seen you at Epcot. Maybe,,just maybe next year.
    Hugs my friend,

  5. Poor Shirley! I can imagine the predicament, it sounds like something I’d do. I’m usually so determined to make things work I won’t ask for help no matter how much I need it. I guess I’m a bit stubborn that way. Glad things worked out for you! Maybe I should ask for help a bit more often….

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