Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Confessions of a Conference Booth Volunteer

It’s Tuesday morning, the start of another full day at #WCQI2015.  Sitting in the booth typing out another blog entry to give you a sense of what it is like to be a conference volunteer. 
Conference volunteers are the glue to make a successful conference.  Onsite volunteers come in all shapes of sizes who work at directing people to venues, introducing speakers at breakout sessions and manning booths in the exhibition hall.  Volunteers are compensated with reduced conference and travel fees. Besides these folks, there are a number of members who volunteer their time to review speaker submissions, take care of the numerous preparation details in the running of a large conference that attracts about 3000+ participants.

Volunteering for both duties as a lot of networking advantages. Besides seeing old friends as they walk past, you can get into some interesting conversations. For example, I met Loran Cox, the Director of Quality for Ping Golf. He picked my brain about his desire to speak at #WCQI2016 on his company’s use of SharePoint as a platform for selecting and managing improvement activities. I met the Country Councilor from Colombia, Cesar Arturo Camargo Viloria, a volunteer who acts as the ASQ focal point there. We talked about his desire to expand Six Sigma and Continuous Improvement in his country and my recent experience in Costa Rica. Central America, in my opinion, is the next growth area for Six Sigma.
And then there is Chuck Underwood.

I met Chuck two years ago at #WCQI2013 in Indianapolis.  He is the prime mover for the Team and Workplace Excellence Forum.  Our booths are usually side by side so it is always good to reconnect in person rather than vicariously through LinkedIn.  I also got to walk the floor a little bit and took some pictures before the crowds come in for the day.

But there are times were things can get a bit exciting. This morning the Six Sigma forum sponsored Bev Daniel’s presentation.  As part of the presentation, Bev promised to deliver a flash drive with statistical tools and her presentation when she got to our booth.  Needless to say, the crowd got to the booth before Bev so crowd control is sometimes an important element of booth duty.  Needless to say, things got into control once Bev arrived.

Overall, the conference was a win for everyone.  Lots of new contacts made, old friends found, and new energy for quality.  Time to catch that plane home! and think of #WCQI2016 in Milwaukee.
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