Najah and Lawrence
How We Met
In October 2011 as an eager analyst one year in at Accenture, I went to St. Charles for the much talked about “core analyst school”. During our first few weeks of orientation, we were told that St. Charles was an amazing 2-week experience where you met Accenture colleagues from across the globe, learned about financial modeling, and bonded over cheap drinks at Cadillac ranch. We were also told that a few consultants even met their spouses there. Having forgotten the part about meeting a potential mate when it was my time to go to St. Charles over a year after that orientation, I landed in Chicago, found the guy holding a chalkboard with my name on it at the airport, and journeyed 1 hour north of Chicago to start my 2 week training.
About 3 days into it, I had made a group of friends and over lunch, we began talking about our backgrounds, respective cities, and what we liked to do for fun back home…a conversation which quickly turned into talking about boys. As I lamented about the dating scene in Atlanta, Lawrence (as he introduced himself then) leaned over from a nearby table “hey hey don’t talk about my city like that”. I laughed a bit and introduced myself quickly before it was time to head back to class. Later in the week, I sat at the bar of Cadillac ranch with a friend when Lawrence came up and asked me to dance– I said I would dance with him only if he remembered my name and well…he didn’t get that dance.
The next week of core analyst school blew by and next thing I knew I was back on site with my client in Austin, Texas. I hadn’t really thought much about core analyst school after leaving until I got an email from Lawrence a few weeks later which read “see…I know your name.” This initial email led to paragraph long “pen pal” messages over the next few weeks when my job took me to Australia and China. After spending a month and a half traveling, I returned to the states right before my 25th birthday. In true Atlanta fashion, I got bottle service at Havana club and invited all of my friends to celebrate with me. Having exchanged a few promising emails with Lawrence while I was traveling, I invited him as well. I’m not sure how he selected his wing man that night, but all I remember is that friend also tried asking for my number until Lawrence swooped in and began explaining his hobbies which included Forex currency trading and modeling (pictured). I have to admit, after a few birthday cocktails and toasts, this Forex bit was slightly over my head but we soon went on our first date to Antico pizza and everything became clear.
How He Asked
After almost 5 years, Lawrence and I recently moved to New York for a job opportunity. There’s never a shortage of things to do in NY and one evening in July Lawrence mentioned a networking event that he wanted us to go to on Friday. Throughout the week, I probed him for additional information about the event so I could invite my friends. Each day Lawrence told me that he still hadn’t gotten any additional details. Finally, Friday came and we had the location and time of the event but the guest list was closed which meant I couldn’t invite my friends. I put on a blouse and a pencil skirt and Lawrence quickly suggested that I change into something a little fancier- in an excited voice he said “babe, why don’t you put on this black dress- we haven’t been out in a long time, we should go out to a club after the networking event”.
I changed my outfit and we took the subway to the “networking event”. When we got off the train at Penn Station, we walked a few blocks over to an office building where the doorman handed us a flyer that said the event was hosted by “N.A.L.P”- Networking and Lounging Professionals. It seemed a bit odd to me that there was a networking event starting at 8 PM on a Friday evening on a seemingly abandoned office floor near Penn Station, however, Lawrence walked me around the corner and opened the door to the “networking event”. The door opened to a roof deck overlooking the empire state building with a heart made out of candles filled with rose petals.
As we danced on the rooftop under the stars, our family and friends had secretly made their way onto the roof. As the music changed, Lawrence spun me around to see my friends and family- when I turned back around he was down on one knee. I would never have guessed that the “N.A.L.P networking event” actually stood for Najah and Lawrence’s proposal!