Last week, I saw lots of posts about the Midwest Institute program. As I was packing for the first conference I would attend this summer with YGM, I couldn’t help but think about what I love most about conferences and Institute programs.

When I was a Chamber executive myself – especially when I first began chamber work – I made a point to attend every educational opportunity possible. I wanted to learn as much as I could about the chamber industry so that I could bring the “next big thing” back to my Chamber.

What I soon realized was that I gained something at these events that was more important than the educational information. I gained relationships that benefitted me both personally and professionally.

Many of my Institute friends shared in the joy of the birth of my daughters. People I met at conferences have given me valuable ideas for both my own chambers and chambers I have assisted during my time at YGM.

Just last week, I texted a chamber friend to ask the name of a sponsorship I knew that friend’s chamber had done and that I wanted to suggest for a new client. We have worked together through the years to make one another better.

Now that I’m on the consultant side of the table, I am a vendor at conferences hoping to share new educational information with chamber executives. My favorite part of conferences is still meeting new people and building strong relationships. It’s also good to catch up with old friends.

If you find yourself at a conference this summer and see the YGM booth, please stop by. If I am speaking at a presentation you attend, take an extra moment to stop and introduce yourself when the presentation is finished. I would love to meet you and discover what we could learn from one another.

I would also love to share with you the benefits of a TRC , learn more about your chamber, and just get to know you personally. I’m here at the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives Conference until Tuesday. I was a panelist in the session on “The ABCs of TRCs” and had a wonderful time meeting some great folks.

Here is my summer conference schedule:

* TCCE: Until tomorrow (June 21)

* Mississippi Economic Development Council: June 22-24

Connections2016 Chamber Track Presenter

* Georgia Chamber of Commerce Executives: July 20-22

* American Chamber of Commerce Executives: August 9-12

Panelist: Sponsorship Strategy: Organizing for Success

 I look forward to seeing you at a conference this summer. Enjoy your time learning about how to make your chamber better. Remember that the best things you learn this summer will probably not be things at all. Those new relationships will probably be the best building blocks in your career that you could add all summer.