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.
Jennifer Dunham, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
With limited funds for professional development, what made you pick the Connect conference?
Working for a nonprofit organization I believe puts even further restrictions on dollars spent for something like professional development. This will be my third conference in almost 10 years, so I HAVE to choose wisely. Other members of my organization suggested I investigate PRSA as an outlet for challenges in my newly forming role. I quickly found the employee connect threads and conference and it was like a beacon in the night.
What were you hoping to learn at Connect?
I am hopeful to come away with more knowledge; to sidestep challenges more experienced colleagues can teach me to avoid, to have some launch-able ideas/strategies and some insight into this world of internal communications and how I can leverage myself within my organization. I MAY also want to learn what my next steps should be to further myself in the field if this is truly a fit.
Did Connect meet your expectations? Come up short? Exceed them?
Connect completely me my expectations…I was looking forward to hearing from others in the field since it is new to me, and I did! I learned a ton, identified some new resources, and made a few connections.
Can you share one key learning from your favorite session?
How will you use this in your work? Identifying a favorite session is difficult…I liked 95% of them and learned something in all of them. If I had to choose one, I guess I would say Jackie Berg’s session on visual storytelling gave me the most takeaways. It made me rethink how I can build the case for doing the work I am doing full time with data I already have. I also think she might be a good resource for my organization…we shall see.
Would you recommend Connect to other communicators? If so, what one thing would you say to convince them to attend?
I would definitely recommend connect to other communicators…as soon as I find out who they are in my region! This was another key takeaway. I am going to have to build my own network ASAP, and will begin looking for other internal communicators near me. I would say to others trying to decide that they should go for it. The content is so specific to the work we are trying to accomplish, and the only other place I have found that is through the connect forum through PRSA…I love having that support as well. IT is so nice to be in an environment where other professionals are willing to share their experiences/expertise.