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I just got back to the office after attending CMMA’s Spring Development Conference at Marriott’s World Headquarters outside of Washington D.C. It was my last conference as CMMA President, and in the couple days since then, I have been in a reflective mood about my tenure in that role – and about CMMA in general.
Bottom line, it’s been a great ride as President and with CMMA. But why exactly?
I’ve been an active member for over 9 years. For me, to put it simply, the essence of CMMA is to learn and share. Looking at the conferences we put on the last couple years, the themes were respectively, “The Innovation Conference,” “Communicating in a Digital World,” “From Hollywood to Topeka: Differentiating our Value through Story and Craft” and “Become a Center of Excellence.” My hope is that the events not only gave us an opportunity to stretch our thinking (maybe even disrupt our thinking) and deepen our knowledge, but also to share and learn from each other’s experiences so that we would be that much more savvy going back to the office.
At its heart, peer to peer learning is arguably the most compelling benefit of CMMA membership. In all the busyness of the D.C. event there were a couple of moments where I took a step back and thought about who I was in the room with, thinking to myself, “These are my people! I’m in a room hanging with my counterparts from Bank of America! Mayo Clinic! Kate Spade! Sandia National Laboratories!” Those guys handle nuclear weapons! What an eclectic bunch!” (Feel free to name any other combination of companies or organizations that attend our meetings).
It’s awesome knowing these folks, all of their experiences and know-how are accessible: across the table from me at breakfast, in the bus on the way to the President’s Dinner, just an email or phone call away. In D.C. I certainly took advantage and engaged with them on a number of topics.
What’s also awesome is that these relationships turn into lasting friendships and can blossom in a myriad of ways as we journey through our careers together. The challenges, the opportunities, the highs and lows. And the same dynamic happens with our Partners too.
I can’t think of any other organization that is so elegant in its simplicity. Professionals getting together, learning, sharing. That’s CMMA.
This article was contributed by Chris Barry, CMMA Board of Directors