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Month: September 2021

NACE National Experience Conference: Expectations vs. Actual Experience

When I first found out I was awarded a scholarship to attend the 2021 NACE Experience Annual Conference, I was over the moon excited and then the anxiety set it. I had only been to one event industry conference before and I found it to be extremely overwhelming. I was excited and overwhelmed but ready to travel to Vegas for my first NACE Experience.

Attending the 2021 NACE Experience turned out to be a game-changing experience for me and for my business. I want to share with you 5 expectations I had heading to the conference and what the actual experience was like in hopes of encouraging more members to attend next year.

  1. Expectation: There would be a lot of attendees and I would just be one in the many and not able to make true connections.
    • Actual Experience: This expectation could not have been farther from the truth. While there were several hundred attendees, I did not feel like I was on an island all alone. Not only was the entire DFW NACE Board super accommodating and helpful they made sure to introduce me to members from other chapters and helped me to expand my network. Everyone at the conference was very friendly and looking to meet new people and make genuine connections. This experience felt more like a family reconnecting, excited to see one another again and eager to welcome newcomers into the fold. The board hosted a chapter dinner making sure we had intimate time together as a chapter to fellowship and really connect with each other on a more personal level.
  2. Expectation:  The number of sessions to choose from would be overwhelming and I would not get to attend all the sessions that would best benefit my experience.
    • Actual Experience: The conference had a plethora of sessions to choose from with a robust choice of topics ranging from events trends and business, event design, inclusiveness, catering trends, effective marketing and so much more. No topic was left untouched. The session descriptions were concise and very accurate in describing what the attendee would learn in each session. This allowed attendees to select the sessions that they would truly benefit from and not have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) feeling like they were missing out on important content because they choose the wrong session based on the description.
  3. Expectation: The information presented would be all fluff without much substance.
    • Actual Experience: The presenters were all well rounded and they presented helpful strategies and provided actionable steps that attendees could implement into their businesses immediately upon returning from the conference. The question and answer sessions were very beneficial and allowed the presenters and attendees to dig deeper and get tips and suggestions that could truly make an impact on their businesses and the industry as a whole.
  4. Expectation: After the education sessions were complete for the day everyone would retreat to their rooms and call it a night.
    • Actual Experience: After making some true and genuine connections during the day it didn’t stop there. Everyone wanted to feed and nurture those relationships even more. There were several hosted events, and the entertainment, food, and experience did not disappoint. The hosted events were a true representation of what our industry is all about and the amazing amount of talent and creativity we all have within us.
  5. Expectation: I would leave the conference the same way I came.
    • Actual Experience:  This is the biggest misconception I had. I left the conference inspired and ready to take my business to a whole new level. Attending the NACE ONE Awards Gala left me wanting more and desiring more for myself and my business. It was exciting to celebrate and cheer on our DFW chapter members as they were awarded for their work and contribution to our amazing industry. I left with a sense of pride, feeling proud to be a small representation of our amazing chapter.

So, as a first-time conference attendee, I encourage you to take the leap and attend the 2022 NACE Experience Conference. Other conferences do not measure the level of education, fellowship, and community you will experience. It’s the conference where no one walks alone and there is always a hand extended to help you learn, grow, and thrive. See you next year at NACE Experience 2022… Orlando here we come!!

Shamica Sweat
Owner/Lead Planner and  Designer, Shamica & Co.
DFW NACE Committee Member

Making The Most Of Your NACE Membership

Being a member of the DFW Chapter of NACE is an investment in both time and money. But man, I can tell you, it is well worth both! The more invested you are with the organization, the more you will get out of it. Here are a few tips on how you can get the most out of your membership. 

  1. Join A Committee
    • This is by far the number one way to get the most of your membership. This gets you one-on-one interaction with other industry leaders that you simply can not get anywhere else. There is something about being on a team and seeing your work come to fruition for the industry that we all love that is incomparable. With sooo many different opportunities on the committees to do so many different things, I promise you will be able to find something that you will enjoy. From doing something you love to learning something new, to expressing your talents – the committees have it all. The relationships you build and the personal growth you will experience are all amazing!
  2. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
    • For extroverts, the thought of networking is exciting, but for people like me that tend to be more introverted, meeting strangers can be daunting, to say the least. Getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people during the cocktail hours of our meetings, sitting at a table next to people you don’t know are two very good ways to not only get to know other professionals but for them to get to know you too. 
  3. Show Up
    • So, this one may be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway – simply show up. Every time you show up to a NACE meeting or event you will get to know more people, build stronger industry relationships, and have an opportunity to express what makes you and your business unique. We are a really fun group, we love to support each other, we love to get to know others in our industry. We want you to attend our events because we love seeing you and want to be part of your success!

I joined NACE almost 10 years ago – I was nervous, I was shy, it was hard for me to meet new people. As uncomfortable as it was, I showed up, got out of my comfort zone, and joined different committees. This all led to me finding the most success I have had in my ‘long’ career. These three suggestions are all things that any member can do and I promise that you will get more out of your membership than you ever thought possible. 

Adam Wilmore
Treasurer of DFW NACE