SPARK Recap (guest blogger, Lindsey Davis, MAS)
When registering to attend a conference, you answer all sorts of questions about your age, designation, preferences, and experience. In doing this, I recently realized that I’ve officially jumped to the next (and the last) box on the form in one category. I am now a proud member of the 11+ year’s in the industry box.
When you are part of the 11+ years box, lots of wonderful things happen. You get to be a mentor to those that are early in their careers, you have a group of colleagues that have become like family, and you finally know exactly how many pairs shoes you need to have at the PPAI Expo (the answer is one pair per day, plus flipflops).
There are many benefits, not the least of which is simply knowing what to expect. But, the downside of knowing what to expect is that you don’t often have “firsts” anymore. Well, I am excited to say, last week I enjoyed a few “firsts” at PPAI’s SPARK Conference.
I took my first trip to Nashville, a city with musicians and bachelorette’s in equal measure. This location created an incredible juxtaposition of education, networking and outright fun. On a day book-ended by traditional sessions, we competed in a scavenger hunt between venues looking for promo-sightings and hallmarks of Nashville. The next day, we spent time learning and discussing current industry issues on open air busses while seeing the town. Toward the end of our time together, the group even helped write and perform a song, titled Supply-chain Symphony, in a team building activity that could only happen in Nashville.
I taught my first live education session about adding insight to your sales pitch, a topic that I find really exciting. As the closing session speaker, I was able to pull from conversations happening throughout the conference about technology, customer experience, and the dreaded Amazon-model. I really enjoyed the insightful questions and interaction that comes from speaking to a room of engaged learners that want to be there.
I attend my first SPARK Conference where I spent time learning, not from sales gurus and motivational speakers, but from my colleagues! This is the first conference I’ve attended where the learning just happened, naturally. The knowledge I gained from this talented group felt crowd-sourced, relevant, and worth implementing in my day-to day.
After this week of “firsts” I am inspired and excited to dive in to the second half of 2018!