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Lessons Learned At SMC

The Spring Management Conference wrapped up today, but not before we squeezed in a little more networking, two speakers, and three forums. One such speaker, Christopher Guest, had some great stories to tell about climbing Mt. Everest, and it was amazing to hear about all of the challenges he overcame to accomplish his goal. If you didn’t have a chance to see Guest speak (or even if you did) you might be interested reading “Outlasting Everest,” an article about his journey from an issue of GAWDA Edge last year.

For me, the definite highlight of the day was the Consultants’ Forum, where GAWDA’s consultants provided updates on what to look out for. The biggest news to me came from Michael Degan, GAWDA’s joint defense fund coordinating counsel for welding fume litigation. He says the industry is not out of the woods yet in terms of litigation, particularly with the emergence of suite related to asbestos-containing products. Having seen a trend in welding fume litigation moving in favor of the industry, and with several cases overturned last year, it appeared that things were quieting down a little.

Overall, the best part of SMC for me was talking with GAWDA members between events, getting to put a face with the names, and getting to meet new people. I wrote back in January that my New Year’s resolution was to become better connected with members, and SMC was a step in the right direction. There was also a lot of talk among distributors about getting more involved with social media. It’s not only big companies talking about social media. It was a hot topic at Wednesday’s technology forum, the young professionals forum and even on the shuttle to the President’s Reception. In part, I think the SMC really drives home the value of dialogue. Why not keep the dialogue going year-round through these venues?

Social media can also lead to better dialogue at events like SMC. There were a number of people who I recognized—or who recognized me—from interactions on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and this very blog. Although I was in a new environment among people I had never met in person, things were a lot easier with this frame of reference. Now imagine how much easier it would be to cold call a customer you’ve connected with online. For me, these last few days stood as evidence to the power of social media.

For those of you who were at SMC, what were the best takeaways for you? Leave a comment below.

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