There will be no references to Charlie Sheen in this article. You’re welcome.
What are the reasons you either don’t attend conferences or you attend only the “essential” conferences? Cost and time certainly are easy choices. Travel hassles, for sure. Potential bad food, periods of inaccessibility for clients, being gone from the family, making new unwanted friends with TSA agents, the list can go on ad nauseam. But you’re an accountant, a skilled manager who values ROI and will scrap the above criteria when you see an investment that can pay off for you and your accounting life. Shake your head accordingly in agreement.
The folks behind the Winning Is Everything Conference, The Advisory Board, set out eleven years ago to create a more rewarding, meaningful conference experience that held lasting impact well beyond the flight back home.
One of the presenters, L. Gary Boomer, CEO of Boomer Consulting, Inc., states, “The conference has professional speakers who are leaders. They force the participants to think, plan and grow.” Roughly 400 people representing 30 countries attend, largely managing partners and key partners from the top 300 public accounting firms. Adds Boomer, “The conference brings the leadership from the larger and most progressive firms into an environment where they are exposed to trends inside and outside of the profession.”
It’s been said that a theme of past conferences is one of “don’t just think of yourself as running a firm…think of yourself as someone running a business.”
Gary S. Shamis, Managing Partner of SS&G Financial Services, Inc., in Cleveland, is a founding member of the conference, along with Boomer, Rebecca Ryan, Allan Koltin and Kathy Sautters. Offering different perspectives was the genesis for this endeavor and that mantra has held true over time. The attendees have become a “community” of sorts, much more so than for other conferences. Being a bit skeptical when hearing such positive remarks about the conference, I naturally dug into why this particular conference series seems to carry more weight and longevity. The answer: the special, unique nature of the networking and information sharing, coupled with the management strength and experience of the attendees. Indeed, the value proposition is realized.
Allan Koltin, President and CEO of Koltin Consulting Group, Inc., stresses the importance of building these lasting relationships with fellow attendees. “There have been nearly a couple of dozen people who have attended all of our conferences. The high-quality networking and relationship building opportunities exist because the thoughts leaders stimulate and advocate change within firms.” states Koltin.
This conference series is a bit more cutting edge than most when it comes to creating and utilizing an online community to enrich the experience for those involved. One new addition, allowing registrants to download handouts, post questions and keep the networking going long after the conference is over, can be found at: http://www.ishade.com/group/296/view. This online community connects the presenters and guests all together, 365 days a year. States Kathy Sautters of The Advisory Board, “We add value to the participants before, during and after the conference.”
Interacting with the presenters in Las Vegas in January is a possibility. This opportunity goes well beyond gathering continuing education credits; it’s a step towards having a “winning” 2012 and beyond.