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We Asked, You Answered: Erin Mercer on Connect 19

By Lise Harwin, APR posted 06-03-2019 03:19 PM

​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.

ErinMercer.jpgErin Mercer, Jackson

With limited funds for professional development, what made you pick the Connect conference?
I chose #PRSAConnect because the speakers and topics were primarily employee communicators who are in the trenches dealing with the many challenges of this discipline. Other conferences seem to be more focused on vendors and vendor tools. I wanted the opportunity to learn from and interact with the best employee/internal comms professionals in the business.

What were you hoping to learn at Connect?
I hope #PRSAConnect will help me identify and consider some of the blind spots in my company’s internal comms efforts as well as in the way I represent internal comms as a part of my personal brand. 

Did Connect meet your expectations? Come up short? Exceed them?
I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation content for Connect. The presenters did a great job of sharing applicable content. I was also excited to see how friendly and open the attendees were.

Can you share one key learning from your favorite session? How will you use this in your work?
My favorite sessions were “Social Intranet 2.0” and “UNICEF Online Communities.” Each illustrated how internal communications adds value to an organization as a business function in ways that leadership may not anticipate unless IC practitioners speak up for the function. A key reminder (basic, but true!): Align communications strategies and tactics with business goals for maximum impact.

Would you recommend Connect to other communicators? If so, what one thing would you say to convince them to attend?
I found that Connect was a good investment of my time (and company resources!). This is the first conference that I’ve been to where I enjoyed every aspect—from the location and food to the presentations and networking. I left feeling energized and more equipped to tackle the important work ahead.