Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The last day of the Conference (May 18)

The Tuesday sessions started at 8am and breakfast started at 7am again. We know that breakfast isn’t elaborate at all so there was no need to get there early. I ended up going at 7:30 for fear they’d run out of food again. I had my croissant and then had 30 minutes to kill before the presentation started.  Also about nobody else was there. I originally thought they all slept in but learned later a bunch of groups went out for breakfast (and the rest slept later).  With 5 minutes to spare a lot were showing up.  The room at the session was in, didn’t have cell reception and it was very annoying because the room beside it did and the hallway did.

I learned about Conference Trip Reports and how to get Conference Justification. The main thing I learned was that it is good to put pictures in the trip report. I had never thought of this and thought it is a great idea to give a visual to those reading the report and I think a picture of the attendees makes the reader remember more.Most other things I already knew and did, and yet last year I couldn’t get approved to go to the conference. The bottom line is justifying to your manager why it is a good investment to send you to the conference. Know what your direct boss cares about to put that into your message of why you should go to the conference and then put that into the trip report also.  In the report think like a journalist, the first paragraph should have who, what, when, where, and why. The second paragraph should have how attending will help you do your job better and make you a more valuable contributor. The third paragraph should have other reasons it is a good investment. The fourth paragraph will be what you will deliver to your management on your return.  If the report is over 1 page, do an executive summary. 
The last part of the first session taught me about elevator speeches. I thought it was good because then I could start mentally preparing mine.  The elevator speech should be 30-60 seconds and have a maximum of 3 key points. If there are more, your message will get lost. Also say what you learned and then add what you want from them.
When a lot of people go to a conference it is better to have 1 report versus many reports.  You may want to customize something in the write-up for your direct line manager.
Award nominations could help be a justification for going.  After that discussion I came up with the idea that we should do some sort of local awards so it isn’t that people are just recognized nationally. There are a lot of individuals at our chapter that should be awarded.  I have to see if I can remember to follow-up about this and see what we can do.  (I typed these notes a lot better for a coworker since was was sick and left and then his backup left her notes at lunch so lost them but I'll keep my original notes here that I typed anyway. The updated ones were bullets and had a little more detail.)

The first session was done a little early and I went back to my hotel room. I had 45 minutes instead of the normal 30 minute break. I called Dave and I did some work.  Julia was bringing her luggage to my room since she had to checkout.  Well she took quite a long time and almost made me late for the 2nd session.  We got there right on the button to when it started.  In my hotel room for that 45 minutes, housekeeping came to my door and I told them I’d only be there a half hour.  She came back 3 more times even though I would be gone a little later. Finally I said not to clean my room because she was so annoying.  It wasn’t really messy anyway.  Too bad I didn’t put the thing on my door by 2am because then I would get a $5 coupon.  Oh well.

The second session was facilitated by Melanie and had a panel of 3   It was for Vendor/Services Professionals. It discussed the journeys to being a leader and going through changes in your career.  Know yourself, be aware, be curious, be involved, and be prepared.  Leaders love people who are curious. You need to get in the game and find your passion.  Throughout your journey you need to be flexible, network and build relationships.  It is your career and your liefe – you do have choices.  Make sure you stay true to yourself , be active and make your own way.  It is all about “fit.”  Enjoy the journey.  According to the first speaker, Joe, “Learn how to breathe. It will come.”  Don’t look back.

Welcome change and be proactive.  Nobody starts out with a specific career path of exactly where they want to go. The important thing is to take opportunities along the way.  The path you take could be completely different and at the same time exactly the same as what you had planned. The second speaker, Brian said, “Change is a good thing, but you need to manage it.” Don’t be afraid to ask why and what’s next.   Don’t forget to set boundaries and have a work-life balance.  One thing they wish they knew earlier in their career was to be an active participant and be more proactive.  Joe specifically said to go find out and don’t wait for them to come to you.  You have to be patient. You won’t make a change overnight.  Have a plan.  The employee drives the career approach not anyone else. 
The hardest thing is knowing when to dive in. Also find thing non-technical. Being well rounded is better than being extremely knowledgeable in one technical area.

Then it was lunch time. But first I had to get Jay’s bags into my room. Or well we might have gotten them into Lindsay’s room since she is right down the steps from him.  We get to Jay’s room and he’s not ready. Then Lindsay deactivated her card to her room with Jay’s magnetic clip on his cell phone holder. So then we had to put them in my room anyway.  It took a long time.  Then we were a little late to lunch. I wanted to go out somewhere else to lunch if it sucked and other people agreed but since we go there late, we did not.  The food was cold again. The steak was cold. It had some sort of sesame flavor.  Then the cooked peppers were way too spicy that I coughed and couldn’t eat them. I thought that would be the one thing I could tolerate. I had 1 bite of veggies and 2 bites of cold steak. Then it was the noodles. It was like pasta like ramen oodles but cold and flavored but I can’t handle cold pasta so it was awful. I did manage 2 bites of that. That was it.  Adam ate even less of his meal.  I ate the cheesecake for dessert. I had berries on it. I don’t like berries and I don’t like cheesecake but man was it good after the food I had been having.  I ate it all. 

After we ate, we went to the lobby so Lindsay could get a new card to get into her hotel room. I forget why we were just standing around but we were at 12:45 and Sally White came over to me. She said that Bob was over there and she told him I was here. I had to go say hi.  I told Lindsay to save me a seat just in case we talked long.  I talked to him and about Westinghouse and how I’m not involved in the DevonWay project anymore but I sure liked the conference in September and feel that Westinghouse should send someone again if we have not made up our mind by then.  Bob is very easy to talk to and he’s the CEO of a company. It is just so weird to talk to him.  I talked to another DevonWay employee there too.  At 1:03 I rushed out and had to end our conversation.  I ran up the stairs and go to the packed room. Luckily I had Lindsay save me a seat.  We didn’t get good seats though. I couldn’t see the presentation or the presenters. We were also under an air conditioner vent so it was freezing.

This session was about motivating your team through change.
·       People’s performance is a function of how things happen to them (occur)
·       Have a peer group or an executive coach as a sounding board for change 
·       Inclusion in the workplace should energize the workforce.
·       There are 3 styles of leadership and a good leader possesses all three with one being more dominant than the others
o      Authoritarian or autocratic
o      Participative or democratic – start to give followers a say
o      Delegative or free reign
·       Leaders inspire while motivation comes from within
·       Self motivated people are goal oriented.
·       Transforming from a young engineer to a senior leader
o      “Actions really do speak louder than words.”
·       If you try to do it the way it was before, it is not going to get done.
·       Stay away from the all about me syndrome
·      For a big project make sure you reach out and get collaborative approach on communication issues.
·       You actually have tremendous power at regular positions
·       “Communication roadblocks kill companies” – Dave
·       Over communicate

The last session started a few minutes after 2:30 and was Cross-Generational Connections. It consisted of a panel of 3. Two of the members were retired and one was roughly my age. 
·       There are 4 generations in today’s workforce. This is the first time in history that it has been the case.
·       NA-YGN members are the future of the industry
·       To grow from a young gen, you need to join other organizations. This goes back to the Plus One initiative that NA-YGN is discussing this year.  Join other organizations like ANSWIN, SWE, ASME.
·       You need to reach out to the other organizations and work together (cross group events like how WIN and NA-YGN currently do Take Your Kid to Work Day.
·       Other groups weren’t allowing young people to take on leadership roles but they are changing/transforming from that way of thinking.
·       It is good to pursue cross generational activities because older generations were seeing support for the young generation stuff as preferential treatment and there was a disconnect between the “groups” and they wanted a way to recognize experienced employees who were expediting knowledge transfer because they cared. 
·       One project was experienced employees taking the young generation on plant tours on their own time and explaining things. 
·       Doesn’t have to big a big project
·       Company discounts but then publish that it is part of NA-YGN but everyone benefits. That way you get your name out there and people view it in a positive light.
·       Schedule events outside of work between young gen and older gen. That is really the only way to get to know them and to build relationships.
·       Our generation is used to working in teams; we know how to give and take feedback.  We have the technical and the social skills.
·       Reverse mentoring – new people teach older people skills
·       When trying to get volunteers there are those that always sign up, never sign up, and those in the middle.  You need to appeal to those in the middle to do more.
·       You need to get others to champion the cause.
·       There is no one secret solution to get more people involved. Your organization needs to do a variety of things.
·       It is phenomenal what chapters do on an individual basis but then we don’t communicate these. We don’t toot our own horn but we should.  Invite management to see what we are doing. Write a newsletter article.
·       Take pride in helping.  Keeps you engaged and stimulated
·       Discuss who is at things and promote names.
·       Respect the dynamics of the team. Push your idea.
·       Help both groups see the benefits. Focus on benefits but acknowledge differences.
·       Chapter learns from other cross-gen orgs
·       Can’t please all the pople all the time
·       Take the time to recognize experienced coworkers
·       To get ot know someone, meet them outside of work
·       Be eager
·       Angie – “know who you are, but know who others are”
At the very end of the session, the president ran up to the podium. She said there was a surprise guest speaker and after our break (ends at 4:30) to go to the Tower Room instead of going to your regional meeting.   Lindsay and I go to the Tower at 4:15 and we missed the introduction of the speaker and they had already started. So much for her saying that we should still take our break. [find out who]  He was an environmentalist who used to be against nuclear power but now is for it.   His presentation cut into our regional meeting.  We then headed to our regional meeting. The regional workshop is August 19 and 20.  It is the 2nd one. They skipped last year but hope to have one next year.  The deadline to sign up for this is June 25 but our chapter won’t have the official details until at least next week. It will be tight to try to get approval to go.  I probably won’t be able to swing it with my manager. I don’t know if I should even ask to go to the WIN conference. 

Jay sat on the bench waiting for us.
Around 5:30 the last session was over and it was time to do something for dinner.  Everyone was going to Pier 39 but some of us didn’t really want to go.  Jay and Julie and flights to catch anyway.  We went back to my room to change and it took forever.  Then we went to Chinatown and looked at the shops to see if we could buy anything good. We didn’t buy anything though.  

Everything didn't quite fit on the table
 Then we went to Calzones for dinner.  It was the same place that I had 2nd dinner on Saturday.  This time I got garlic bread and the same pizza as last time.  The food comes out so quickly there. I think because servers type in our order at the table with little electronic devices instead of having to write it down and then go type it in.  Julia and Jay got a cab from there and headed back to the hotel so they could catch their super shuttle and get to the airport.
Some roads were steep.

Lindsay and I walked to the Full House House.  We walked 2.5 miles to get there. It was dark by the time we were there but we still took pictures.  Then we walked 2 miles back to the hotel.  We managed to walk ways that weren’t that hilly.  It was nice walking with her. She walks fast too. It must be our long legs.   Then we went back to the hotel. I thought I should go back out and join the other Westinghouse people but I didn’t want to deal with getting a cab to Pier 39 or paying the 10 bucks.

Instead of going out I watched TV in my room and did work. What a loser. I did upload pictures from the conference and stuff. I stayed up until about 1:30I did almost constantly text Melanie about the evening.  I should have gone out since I don’t think I even met the Windsor members.

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