Wednesday, April 30, 2014

All About Conferences

After attending the awesome Simmons Leadership Conference last week, I pause to reflect on how these type of events have been transformative and inspirational. Especially when there's a lot going on at your job, it can be really difficult to justify being out of the office for a whole day or several. But sometimes the busiest times are the most important ones for you to take that break and gain a new perspective.

Dee McCrorey's work introduced me to strategic inflection points, those times in one's career where you can make a pivotal jump or change to secure a successful future. I fist met Dee at an intensive workshop she ran at the 2010 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. This event in retrospect turned out to be a strategic inflection point in my own career. Being around so many successful women in the technology industry helped me to overcome my impostor syndrome and aspire to seek leadership roles in tech.

Dr. Duy-Loan Le's inspiring mandate to the attendees really resonated with me: Be excellent. I've never heard anyone command a room the way Dr. Le did. Everyone ceased checking in on their devices, except maybe to tweet a key quote from the speech.

It's possible to internalize the energy and passion of speakers and bring this enthusiasm back to the office with you. These new ideas and new connections gleaned from the event can inspire, energize, and jumpstart you in a new role or an existing job.

While at the conference, be open and receptive to meeting new connections, while making time to strengthen existing ones. I've met some of my most interesting conference connections while in a line or at the same lunch table. The sessions at many conferences are recorded, so I stop to enjoy a hallway conversation as they develop, and can watch the speaker later.

Actively participate by taking notes, and following twitter. Here's a tweet I sent while listening to Hillary Clinton's afternoon keynote.

What conference can you register for in the next year that will allow you to return to the office inspired?

No comments:

Post a Comment