We recently had one of our colleagues, Bekah Martindale, travel down to Atlanta, Georgia for the Training Conference and Expo 2012. She was nice enough to sit down with us to talk about her experience.
As the newest member of the SNI team, can you talk about what your role is and what your experiences have been like so far?
I started about 9 months ago and have been mostly involved in the logistics for our training programs and supporting the marketing team. At SNI, it seems everyone tends to wear “multiple hats”, and because of that I’ve been able to get experience in a variety of areas. Our team works well because everyone respects and encourages each other throughout the day and we’re always able to collaborate on different projects and ideas in order to get the best results.
What exactly is the Training Conference and Expo?
Training Magazine organizes the Training Conference and Expo every year to bring together professionals in training, learning, and performance industries for education and networking purposes. The expo is a way many different organizations can showcase their company and develop relationships with professionals from organizations in need of the products or services they offer.
What were some of the main topics discussed and presented at the Training Conference and Expo?
SNI’s Mark Jankowski, along with Ann Marie Sidman from Gen Re, spoke on how they have been able to incorporate 3D Virtual Worlds into a corporate training environment. Another colleague, Jeff Cochran, led a breakout session and did a short 3 hour intro to our core negotiations training program- The Power of Nice.
I heard this was your first trade show. What was your first impression?
There was a lot going on! Training Magazine did a good job packing the conference full of education and networking events while simultaneously running the expo presentations.
What was your typical day like while you were down there?
Andres and I mostly worked the expo part of the tradeshow so we were at SNI’s booth from around 12 pm to 5 pm on Monday and Tuesday. We met and engaged people with various interests and backgrounds.
You coordinate a lot of things for our facilitators who were speaking at the conference. What’s the best and worst part of that job?
Personally, I love to travel so it’s fun for me to help coordinate details for SNI. Our facilitators are great so that helps make it interesting and enjoyable to be involved planning their trips. I would say the most challenging part of the job is the stress involved working with the numerous moving parts that come up when planning travel with numerous clients worldwide. I have to make sure all the pieces are lined up and running without a hitch.
Describe your experience at the Training Expo in 3 words.
Hands-on, Interactive, Engaging.
Besides yourself, who was the most interesting or entertaining person you saw at the Training Expo?
Some of the presenters go to great lengths to get the attention of the attendees passing by, and there were some characters there this year for sure. There was one group near our booth, I believe from the Drum Café, that had their team members playing djembe drums. Another group, dressed in gym clothes with QR codes on the back of their shirts, ran through the expo hall the entire time.
We heard there was some chatter about your book shelf display. Can you talk about why it was interesting and what inspired it?
During a brainstorming session before the event, we had the idea to showcase some of our big clients with merchandise that represented their brand, such as a Sherwin Williams paint can or a Baltimore Ravens jersey. The shelf not only helped grab people’s attention, but also showed the versatility of our content; it can apply to many different industries where we’ve gained expertise. We had a number of people ask questions about it, take pictures, and overall I think we had a good response because we tried something different. It intrigued people enough to initiate a conversation with us.
Do you have any tips you can offer to somebody about to go to their first training conference?
I think it’s important to be creative and engaging while you’re there. There is a lot going on and all the attendees are getting a lot of information thrown at them from all directions, so you want to stand out and leave an impression.