Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sharing the spotlight

The best milestone birthday present I could have asked for: appearing on the cover of the MPI magazine, The Meeting Professional. The MPI community is very important to me and has given me so much throughout my career.

Alice Hothem was the first manager who supported me joining the association (and earning my CMP). Dean Drury and Marilyn Scarberry were my first mentors in the Ohio chapter and encouraged me to get involved. When I moved to San Diego, I volunteered to lead the CMP study group because I thought the one I had gone through in Ohio was so helpful. Olivia Montanari and Michelle Schneider were my amazing co-chairs.

For the Southern California chapter, I volunteered for a couple of committees. It was Laura Bergersen who talked me into co-chairing their largest event of the year and the next year joining the board to chair that same event. I led an amazing committee and remain friends with many of these people. Amy Zelinsky, Audrey Kerr, Bryan Quinan, Christina Gibbons, Dan Vazquez, Debb Childs, Deborah Shepard, Destiny Medina, Diana Diller, Diane Williams, Elaine Bartolome, Jason Soporito, Joe Martin, Katie Rogers, Lara Gallagher, Latrice Lawson, Laura Perry, Liz Connors, Mia McMahon, Michelle Windhausen, Reiley McClendon, Renee Frangella, and Stephanie Hancock.

My fellow MPISCC board members deserve a lot of credit for supporting my idea to completely change the format of the biggest revenue driver for the chapter. Judi Froehlich, chapter president, and David Anderson, who I reported to on the board were both amazing mentors. Elizabeth Brazil, another board member, is one of my best friends today.

During my years in Southern California, I participated in all three chapters. John Ehlenfeldt and Peggy Lamberton were amazing connectors for me. They truly embody the spirit of the community and the reason associations endure the test of time. Megan Powers and Jon Trask have made a lot of industry events worth attending!

I appreciate everyone who had enough confidence in me to put me on the program for your events. Those speaking experiences were without a doubt some of the most important in my professional development. I'll take some credit for my confidence in new and risky ideas (innovation and disruption) meant to move our industry forward, but it takes a village. There are lots of other people (affiliated with other associations and online communities) who have contributed to my success outside of the MPI sphere and I appreciate all of you equally!

Take time to reflect on how your associations helped you along the way or thank someone who was an early mentor.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Personal Brand Reality Check

"No one gives a hoot about your personal brand". If you've known me for awhile, you know personal branding was one of my original passions: helping other event professionals establish their presence online so that they would get found and be known for the thing they are good at. I think the author of that article makes a good point and the "19 Harsh Truths" he writes about are spot on so check it out.

What I'm thinking about today, however, is that my personal brand needs a reality check.

The first step in establishing a personal brand is understanding what you have to offer the world. Since about 2009, I thought the thing I had to offer was my ability to bridge the gap between the way we used to work and the way we will work in the future. I had been working long enough to know how it had been done and what people were accustomed to. One of my strengths is identifying innovations that will stick around and ultimately cause people to dramatically change the way they do something.

Some people love my style of communication, and because I've had lots of cheerleaders over the years, I thought I was doing it right. One of my mentors, Mary Ann Pierce, challenged me to describe what I have to offer the world. Even though most people stay away from disruption and controversy, I thought that was what made me special. Being provocative is my brand's value proposition.
That's right. I referred to myself as special. I'm an Xennial. This wasn't defined in 2009 when I created a personal brand around bridging the gap between Gen X and Gen Y.

What I didn't realize until recently is the inherent arrogance in telling everyone else what they should be doing. There's a fine line between being provocative and patronizing. It comes across in my writing, presentations, and conversations. Case in point, at the end of the first paragraph of this post, I was very directly telling you what to do. What I've started learning from my new boss is how to soften my delivery and make it more broadly appealing. He shared this quote with me: "Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood." -William Howard Taft

I don't typically place a lot of value in defining people based on when they were born. I think there are much more nuanced strengths/weaknesses, experiences, perceptions, etc that make us who we are. One of my qualities is my passion and I'll be working on translating the things I feel strongly about into more digestible suggestions. I invite you to help me by calling me out or letting me know of a time when I was too arrogant for the situation. It would be great to receive these messages privately, but I believe in transparency. If you want to call me out publicly, I'll have to welcome that, too!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Widening the Lens and Connecting the Dots...

I've chosen to do a "book report" again on Rohit Bhargava's 15 Non-Obvious trends for 2018. I've been consuming Rohit's insights for a few years now and find that they help me focus on what I see happening in the world. Here are ten of the 2018 trends that Bhargava has identified and some ideas for how the events industry can leverage them. Check it out on the Sciensio blog