Convention starts in 32 days, not that anyone’s counting… For those of you attending, the next 32 days will surely be filled with a whirlwind of activity, whether you’re still shopping for all the perfect convention outfits or trying to finish all the items on your to-do list before spending a few solid days with hundreds of sisters. As you work on that to-do list, I hope you will add one more item to cross off before departing for convention: “make a plan” for how you will maximize your convention experience.
I, of course, as the director of education and leadership initiatives, am particularly talking about maximizing the educational opportunities, but there are also so many other ways to maximize your experience. As a frequent convention and conference attendee, I’ve learned to, first, make a plan in advance that ensures you are able to take advantage of all the opportunities that exist, and second, to go to everything (even the optional events and activities). Alpha Chi Omega’s convention can be a great professional development opportunity for you no matter if you are a collegian, recent alumna, or longtime Alpha Chi Omega, as long as you are intentional about your time while you’re there.
Your plan should include:
- List the educational sessions you would like to attend during each speaker session block. Speaker session information is online! We have lined up a solid list of outstanding presenters, many of whom are Alpha Chi Omega sisters themselves, to share their knowledge and experiences about a variety of topics that you absolutely do not want to miss. [Pro Tip]: If there are multiple people coming from your collegiate chapter, alumnae chapter, advisory board, local house corporation board, volunteer team, friend group, etc., make a plan to divide the sessions and split up so you can all share what you learned when you return from convention.
- Talk with sessions presenters before or after their sessions. Of course, be mindful of their time, but what better way to connect with some inspiring individuals than to make a personal connection. [Pro Tip]: Google the presenters to learn more about them and even consider emailing them in advance to make a connection.
- Make a list of new sisters that you would like to meet. Maybe it’s a sister you’ve connected with virtually through social media, or a sister you admire but have never met, or someone from your chapter of initiation whose name you’ve heard multiple times but have never actually gotten the chance to meet in person. [Pro Tip]: To make your list manageable, identify two or three sisters. Make sure you identify a purpose for connecting with them even if it’s just to say thank you or that you admire and look up to them.
- Identify the individuals that you’d like to reconnect with, maybe you haven’t seen them in a while or life has been moving so quickly that you haven’t had a chance to catch up lately. [Pro Tip]: Email them in advance and make a plan to share a meal with them.
- Follow up. Don’t let convention be the end of your learning and networking. After convention, email individuals you met, add them on Facebook, stay in touch with them. Also, make sure to share the knowledge you learned at convention with your sisters. [Pro Tip]: Give a presentation at your next chapter or board meeting to share all the wonderful information you learned.
One thing is for sure, once you arrive in Palm Desert, I hope you have a solid plan to maximize your convention experience. I know I’ll be on the lookout for sisters executing their plans—attending fabulous speaker sessions, meeting new sisters, and reconnecting with sisters from the past. I look forward to seeing you in Palm Desert in July!