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National Conference

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

Lauren’s Top 5 Tips for Networking

Let’s be honest….networking is hard work. It is especially hard work since we spent the last year with the least amount of human interaction we have had in our lives.  Knowing how to effectively network is key to building professional relationships and in today’s crowded job market, the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, could not be more true. NACE Experience is next week, so here are some tips to help guide you through effective business networking and dipping your toes into the people pond again! 

  1. Understand your goal
    • What are you wanting to accomplish with networking and your relationships? Is it building your client database? Honing in on a future job or career path? Maybe it’s just for casual talk and conversation. Whatever it is, try to keep in mind the WHY behind what you are doing. It can help guide your conversation and determine your follow up afterwards as well.  
  2. Relax and keep in mind, we are all a little uncomfortable. 
    • Networking and meeting new people can be scary and intimidating. Remember, it is not just you that feels that way. The people you are meeting and speaking to are ALSO a little nervous. So, take a deep breathe and try to be as cool, calm and collected as possible. 
  3. Keep it relatable! 
    • Keep your conversation relatable and interesting to the person you are meeting.  This way it not only makes the conversation more fun and engaging for you both, but it makes it easier to remember who you have met and what they do and how it relates to you as well! How can you help them? Make sure the conversation is not just about you, your job, your career, but about them, how you can help and work with them as well. 
  4. Document your connections
    • After meeting a few people, take the time to document who they are, where they work or what they do and their contact information. At NACE Experience, you will be on system overload, so do not rely on yourself to remember it all. Have a system in place to take notes or document your valuable information. 
  5. Follow up! 
    • This tip seems the easiest, but it is the most forgotten. Follow up with your new friends! Touch base with them, send a quick note, email, text or call soon after arriving home from conference. And make it a point to keep in touch with them.  Again, our relationships have incredible influence in our careers and this is a great way to strengthen opportunities for yourself and others.  

I am so excited to see everyone at the NACE National Conference in Vegas, and at our monthly DFW NACE meetings. And I hope these tips & tricks can help with your business and professional relationships. Please realize that you might be a little rusty and it might feel more uncomfortable than you remember, but don’t let that stop you! Meet some new people and squeeze the ones you already know (safely). Our event industry is dependent on strong, healthy relationships, so let’s do it! 

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” – Bill Nye 


Lauren Twichell
Owner of Painting with a Twist Rockwall
President-Elect of DFW NACE

NACE Evolve 2020 in Dallas

NACE Evolve is an annual opportunity for the Leaders of each NACE chapter from across the nation to come together. It is a weekend event filled with informative education and networking amongst fellow NACE Board Members. And this year’s event was hosted in Dallas!

This year’s conference took place at the W Hotel in Downtown Dallas. We kicked off the first day by inducting the NACE National Board and Foundation of NACE followed by individual chapter award recognition. Our DFW chapter took home THREE awards! We then got into an Ice Breaker with Meghan Ely who was wonderful and got us all chatting about what we have in common on our mobile phones! We wrapped up the day with a fantastic dinner to support the Foundation of NACE at Truluck’s.

During Day 2, we learned all about growing our chapter. We were able to hear and learn from other chapters on how they go about executing creative and engaging ideas for their members at meetings. The day ended with a fun, entertainment-filled night at The Perot Museum with games, music, food, and drinks! But the evening wasn’t over yet. After, Jordan Kahn’s Orchestra escorted us to the House of Blues where we sang, danced and ate the best grilled cheese sandwiches… all night long!!  

NACE Evolve was an incredible weekend. My biggest takeaway was being able to learn how other chapters host their meetings. It was enlightening and inspiring getting to hear directly from them about the creative meetings they host for their members. I’m looking forward to bringing more of those ideas to DFW NACE.

Alex Turzinski
Catering Sales Manager at The Joule Hotel
DFW NACE Education Chair

All event sponsors are listed below

Thank you to all of the sponsors:⁣⁣

Evolve Conference
W Hotel Dallas
Simon Luna Photography
The Brand Booth
Vestals Catering
Tito’s Vodka
Foundation of NACE
Networking & Dinner at Perot Museum⁣
Venue: @pmns_events ⁣
Catering: @chefwolfgangpuck ⁣
Videography: @chrisharmonfilm
Photography: @simonlunaphotography
Guitarist: @guitarmannick
Music Performance Duo: @dominatedjduo
Creative Science Activities (Lava Lamp & Shaving Cream Art) : @ideafountaininc ⁣
Edible Bubbles, Dancing Disco heads, Glow in the dark face painting, Cowboy living statue: @bravoentertainment ⁣
Lighting, stage, and backlighting: @leforcedj ⁣
Floral Centerpieces: @magicmoments_partiesandevents ⁣
Photo Booth: @myeventisthebomb
Stationary & graphic design: @5by7design ⁣
Linens: @bbjlinen ⁣
Lounge Furniture Rentals: @afr_rentals
Glassware & Dinnerware Rentals: @toptiereventrentals
Printing: @speedproaddison ⁣

After Party at House of Blues⁣
Venue: @hobdallas
Videography: @chrisharmonfilm
Band: @jordankahnorchestra
Photography: @simonlunaphotography
Linens: @bbjlinen ⁣
Stationary & graphic design: @5by7design ⁣
Donuts: @funkytowndonuts
Ice cream: @frost321_
Dance floor: WOW VIP Events⁣
Lounge Furniture Rentals: @percheventdecor
Lighting: @beyondldtx
Floral: @davidkimmeldesign
Draping & Food Station Facade Rentals: @belledecordallas
Confetti: @ultimateconfetti