I attended Gen Con this year as a civilian, in the sense that I wasn't required to show up for any official Wizards function. Despite that, I was super excited to sit on the panels of a few seminars, such as the Forgotten Realms seminar, the Gamma World seminar, and several others.
But since I attended Gen Con on my own and since I'm also an FR author, I am able to treat the trip as a business expense. For instance, I joined fellow FR authors on a couple different occasions for various author-related events, and was able to hobnob with the likes of R. A. Salvatore, Ed Greenwood, Richard Lee Byers, Jaleigh Johnson, and Erik Scott di Bie, as well as the FR Novel Line editor Susan J. Morris.
I'm not certain how much authorial wisdom was distributed, but it was certainly very nice to swap stories of both Faerûn and the real world face to face.
Wait, I did garner one piece of wisdom: if Bob Salvatore is playing a thief in your game of D&D, watch your backpack.*
*As Larry Elmore learned in the celebrity game of D&D that Chris Perkins DMed.