Moving Mountains with ATSI in 2022
We’ve all been there, you’re attending a conference where you’re not sure what to expect or what to gain from the experience. How do you get the most out of your conference? What sessions should you really be attending? Why is it important to network even when the day is done?
Personally, I found myself asking these questions last year. I attended my first Association of TeleServices International (ATSI) conference in Kansas City about a year ago. In my head as someone who was at the time getting all she could from her role, I did not see the true value behind attending conferences. As I stepped into a new role, I realized that the industry was much larger than I was letting onto. I was lost navigating which conference sessions I needed to attend, who to talk to at socials, and could not hold my own. This year I decided to be as prepared as I could be and get the most out of my conference experience, and I’m here to share that knowledge with you as well.
After reading through my conference agenda, I identified my role in the company again to re-establish what sort of information is important and a non-negotiable to miss. On the first day we heard from world renowned speaker Kareem Ellis & Dr. Alisa Whyte. This session included information on breaking through barriers & self-limiting beliefs. I learned not everyone found this information crucial, however as someone who questions their work consistently & struggles with some aspects of being a leader, Dr. Ellis spoke to me. I haven’t been struggling to meet deadlines, fulfill assignments or create goals because I’m bad at it, I’m struggling because I have not identified the habits or patterns that are holding me back. There are habits I can change that will only better myself as an employee & my work. If it takes 30 consecutive days to form a habit, by next month my work can be producing better results than last month’s standard.
The second part of our day consisted of discussing cyber security which is out of my field, however I still listened in because you never know what sort of expectations you may need to meet. Following the last session I attended “ATSI World Cafe.” During this time different topics are listed on tables that fill the entire room. For about half an hour a topic relating to the industry is discussed and ideas are shared. What are some of the problems with XYZ that you’re facing today? How are you solving that problem? What ideas do you have to share on getting results? These are all questions that get answered during ATSI World Cafe. Instead of seeing a room full of competition, I saw a room full of people lifting & supporting each other up. Being an ATSI member means you are committed to learning by association, we share ideas to grow & build better relationships.
On day two, I attended a leadership & navigating through change workshop with Ondrea M. This session was important because the world has undergone a lot of changes recently, and we are still facing more unknowns to come. It was here that I had to relearn the belief that people need the “why” not the “how.” For anyone to really learn & grow they must be able to understand. No matter what role you are coaching or speaking to, sharing the question & answer behind “why” change is coming or why change is occurring in a specific way. Anyone can be told how to do something, that does not mean they have clearly understood the purpose or message behind your demonstration.
One of the great things about having another representative from your organization present, you are able to split up the work. After attending the first morning session, I skipped out on the second session from the CEO of MoneyPenny Joanna S. (heard it was a hit, definitely check her out), while hitting the gym. One of the many habits I need to break is overworking myself, or continuing to push myself when I am overstimulated. Great work does not come from mediocrity, after resetting myself with afternoon yoga, I headed into the general session meeting. Here I watched the newly elected board of directors for ATSI transition in & said goodbye to some of the old board members. Later that evening the Hastings Humans attended the awards gala. Not only did I watch Mark Hastings accept the Maryann Wetmore Lifetime Achievement Award, but was able to celebrate with him as we accepted the Titanium award for 25 consecutive years of excellence. Each company win was celebrated by the whole room, ATSI is not just an educational organization, but a family.
I never turned down an opportunity to network with anyone outside of the normal conference schedule. One weakness I identified in myself was I struggled with making new connections independently and building relationships for myself within the group. I met some incredible people who shared ideas I never considered, took care of me like family & made new memories I will always remember. I overcame a weakness that was holding me back from doing my best work & providing good results. I have found resources & connections that will help me grow in my role & navigate the mountains of change facing the industry. After watching my first baseball game, celebrating a successful awards gala & meeting all the speakers I connected with, I would do it all again with ATSI if I could.
I encourage you to prepare in advance for your conferences, you will enjoy them a lot more. With goals, questions and ideas already prepared, you are free to relax when you answer all the questions you came with.