Reasons You Can't Afford to Miss the 2015 MCAN Conference: A Top 10 List

The 5th annual Michigan College Access Network Conference is right around the corner! MCAN’s conference provides high energy presenters, engaging breakout sessions, top-notch networking opportunities, innovative strategy sharing, and more. If you haven’t already heard, new to the conference this year is a pre-conference and an awards dinner. The pre-conference sessions will allow for a deeper dive into a few high demand content areas, and the awards dinner will recognize five outstanding college access advocates from across the state for their dedication to the field along with a celebration of our achievements as a state throughout the past five years. You will surely be bummed if you miss the conference this year!

It can often be tough to decide whether it is worth the time to leave your office and attend a conference. We all seem to have more to do and less time to do it in, and attending a conference may feel like it is putting you behind at the office. I would argue that attending a conference on a topic of interest can often provide the necessary fuels to re-energize your workplace and bring new ideas and innovative practices to your work. As we search for more sunshine and warmer weather here in Michigan, we could all use extra motivation the MCAN conference is sure to provide!

Take advice from the pros and check out the list below of things to consider and keep in mind as you decide whether or not to attend the 2015 MCAN Conference. Check out more about the MCAN Conference, the events, the speakers, and the topics and consider joining us on April 12 and 13.

MCAN's Top 10 Reasons Why You Can’t Afford to Miss the 2015 Conference

10. Get out of the office! - Who doesn’t want to get out of the office from time to time? Living only in a digital cave has its perks, but getting out of the office can be good for you, your co-workers, loved ones, and yes, for your work.

9. Minimized Distractions - Whether attending a session and learning or talking with other attendees or presenters, it’s very difficult to multi-task. In contrast, webinar attendees can email, skype, instant message, and take phone calls which fragments thinking and hinders meaningful productivity.

8. Face to Face Always Trumps Digital Encounters - Good, better, best. It is good to connect over email, it is better to connect on the phone, but the best way to connect is face to face, and always will be. People are not avatars.

7. Meet Industry Leaders - If you aren’t a leader in your office, one way to become one is to meet those around you who are. At events, leaders are often encouraged to be available to attendees to chat and answer questions. Pull out your camera and take a photo with them, ask them some questions, learn a few things.

6. Learn Current Strategies That Are Working - At events, people tend to loosen up and will often share some of their best practices, like innovative strategies that are working, or have bombed. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn what is tried and true.

5. Being Around Like-Minded People is Inspirational - This is self explanatory, and especially true in the education space, we are unique group of people. We all need inspiration from time to time.

4. Make Connections for Others – It’s easy to meet someone at a conference who has a unique interest that’s similar to someone with whom you are already connected. It’s often hard to make those connections meaningful digitally, but in person these connections can be game changers. Making connections is not only helpful for the connected, but is also fun for the facilitator.

3. Build Your Rolodex - It’s important to build a rolodex, an active rolodex with a purpose. This can be the most valuable asset in any work setting. The networking opportunities from a conference can sometimes be the most beneficial part of the gathering.

2. Opportunity for Partnerships - This is huge. Meeting like-minded people not only inspires (point 5), but it creates an opportunity to build partnerships and opportunities for collaboration.

1. The Best Ideas Come When You Least Expect It - The human mind is an amazing organ. It is always working, even though we may not be “working.” Some of the best strategic ideas can come when you are in the shower, mowing the lawn, or running errands. Events provide a sort of down time that can till the soil of brilliance.


Jamie Jacobs headshot 2013Author: Jamie Jacobs, director of professional development for the Michigan College Access Network

Posted: March 26, 2015

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