I usually have several goals when I head out each year to the annual conference. For the past 10 years or so, I have lead 2 or even 3 breakout sessions at the conference. And this year was no different. I also, being an independent consultant and reseller of training products, I need to be engaged in some of the activities of our vendor partners on the trade show floor.
Plus, this year, with the conference being in DC, my home town if you will, I had a bit more familiarity with the city and surrounding area. Plus, as always, need to reconnect with my friends in the training field, and this is the only time of year that we are all together in the same place to do that. Also, since I do public policy work for ATD (formally ASTD), some of my activities and efforts this week will be supporting our trip up to Capitol Hill to see members of Congress and their staffs to discuss training and development legislation.
Saturday night, as always, was a night for reconnecting with friends at one of the local bar establishments in town. Reconnecting is always nice, though, we seemed to have one of our group very intense and rude? Not sure why, but it put a bit of a damper on our night. But bad behaviors and attitudes does not keep our group down so we departed, collected other people and headed on down to a fun, yet comfortable bar to catch up and share war stories.
Sunday, after the conference kicked off with sessions, I did get invited to the Chapter Leaders lunch, to see if any of them would be joining us for our trip up to the Hill. We had our first ATD Public Policy Council alumni dinner that night. Many of the other ATD groups reconnect each year, as we as a policy team wanted to do the same. Just as our meeting are generally, this was another great connecting moment for senior leaders of learning in some very large organizations.
Monday, as usual, was a busy day, keynote address, my education session at Noon in the Career Center, and of course, the ATD Awards on Monday night. I love going to this event each year, seeing the best of our profession honored and recognized. Plus, the food is always great and lots of great networking going on. The phones were out and the selfies were in full swing. Plus, being at the Newseum this year, the US Capitol was just over everyone’s shoulder.
Tuesday was another busy day of learning, for me, I do also like hanging out in the Speaker Ready room, catching up with other speakers and hearing about their sessions and comparing notes. This year, we had that special session with Tony later in the day that changed everything for the Society. Very exciting moment and I was glad to be there live and up close for the announcement. Tuesday night is networking night, this year at the Air and Space Museum. I have been there many times before, so I had seen most of the good stuff. Food and drink are always great and another night of networking.
Wednesday, it was take members up to the Hill! Though we had 20 signed up, less than 10 was our final number. Though, that was disappointing, the folks who came had a great time meeting staff of their member of Congress, and some of us got to go see Congress in action. In the House, we got to see them debate on the Lois Lerner situation, wasn’t very fun, but great to be in the hall again.
After we got everyone back to the convention center, it was time for me to come home, just a metro ride away. It always takes me a couple of days to catch up with everything when I get back, but mostly I miss being with my good friends. And sadly, knowing that it will not be until next year that I see most of them again. But, am counting the days until Orlando in 2015!
Stay tuned, more coming! Tomorrow we will see the perspective of Donna Phillips, first timer of ICE and employed by NASA. Yep, the NASA (pretty cool right?)