Rather than believe the (rather biased) opinions of long-time Connect attendees, we thought it would be best to check in with some first timers to see what they wanted to get out of the annual employee communications conference and whether or not it met their professional development goals.
Christine Cronkright, Gannett Fleming, Inc.
With limited funds for professional development, what made you pick the Connect conference?
There are very few professional development opportunities in the U.S. solely targeted to internal communications (IC) professionals that offer a holistic training approach with a broad range of topics. The opportunity to not only absorb all this knowledge in a few short days, but also be able to network with other IC professionals, is very valuable.
What were you hoping to learn at Connect?
* Fresh, new ideas and ways to engage our employee base;
* Ideas on how to better measure internal communications and more strategically position it within the company
* How to better engage field workers who may not be connected in the same way as the rest of the company
Did Connect meet your expectations? Come up short? Exceed them?
Connect was a great way to learn from experts in the field and internal communications peers. I was amazed to see so many powerhouse thought leaders in internal communications all in one room. The conference exceeded my expectations in terms of the networking opportunities, providing the ability to learn and connect with others in the field.
The main suggestion I have for improving the conference for next year would be to give more time for the breakout sessions, and allow for more sharing of best practices/practical tips, which may have moved some of my reviews into “exceeds expectations.”
Can you share one key learning from your favorite session? How will you use this in your work?
The session, Better Communication with Diversity Intelligence,TM was perhaps the best presentation I’ve ever seen on diversity and inclusion (D&I). Leeno provided – in a unique, and shockingly effective way – so many salient points for organizations to consider, not only in the application of D&I initiatives, but in daily social interactions. I plan to take this information back to our employee resource groups and our Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee to help better inform our D&I strategy moving forward.
Would you recommend Connect to other communicators? If so, what one thing would you say to convince them to attend?
I would recommend Connect, specifically to internal communications professionals. Since starting my role as internal communications manager, it’s been hard to find opportunities locally or nationally to connect with others who solely focus on this niche area within the field. While I learned a lot from the sessions, I learned almost as much, if not more, from the peers I met there.