By Annamarie Lang
My maiden voyage to ASTD brought realization about the event and the people who attend it. There are two main things I want to share about my first ASTD experience – they include shoes and passion – an odd but clearly related couple.
The shoe part is simple: Wear the MOST comfortable shoes you own to cover the miles of rooms of educational sessions and the Expo floor experiencing the second thing I saw plenty of at this year’s ASTD conference—and that is PASSION.
While I have attended other conferences during my professional life, this was my first ASTD experience and I was struck by the zeal that each person had for their job as well as the company they represented. This passion resonated in their insightful questions, sharing of organizational challenges, and their genuine desire to discuss ideas and solutions that would resolve those challenges. It speaks so highly of the profession and I could feel their energy ‘rub-off’ on me.
I found myself asking a lot of questions about their organizations and their initiatives to develop their people. What I found were tireless professionals wanting to help their organizations develop their most trusted resource: people. It’s very clear to me that the enthusiasm and sincere love of what they do went beyond a job; these are people on a mission.
As I headed back to the hotel after day two, I heard a woman talking with a colleague about what she planned to implement after hearing a presentation. What was interesting was how she described her ideas and how those plans would help leaders to be better leaders and how it would impact the business of her company. That passion is what ASTD is all about. As I was reflecting on my experience, another woman overheard me mention that this was my first ASTD conference. She emphatically said: “just make sure you have a really comfortable pair of shoes!”
There is no doubt passion is the word that I will always equate with ASTD (aside from the right shoes, of course). There is no doubt that I will walk away from ASTD with tired feet; but through it all, I am energized and excited about the business of people – those will be at the heart of my maiden ASTD conference.
Annamarie Lang is a Senior Consultant with the Leadership Solutions Group at Development Dimensions International (DDI).