Connecting a Face with a Name

World Conference attendees.

Hello, readers. This is Laurel Nelson-Rowe, ASQ managing director. This month, I’m pitching in as a guest blogger on View From the Q, and stepping up to the plate with a lead-off question for everybody.

Through ASQ and other associations, you are able to network, make connections, learn, and grow—locally, regionally, nationally, globally, virtually. The question is: What mode works best for you, when, and why?

We prompt this discussion just a month after ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement in Anaheim, Ca., hit record attendance. And that followed a 75% lift in attendees at ASQ’s Lean and Six Sigma Conference in early spring.

Why the increases in these places and spaces, these gathering points of the global quality community, at this time?

I’m counting on you to offer your own data points. I will point out that this year’s ASQ World Conference attendee survey repeats trends from past years: The No. #1 reason by far for coming to the conference is the content. Second reason? Networking, which I believe encompasses what Influential Voices blogger Jennifer Stepniowski called the “intensely fun experience” of World Conference.

So, what about you? Why do you attend events, conferences, or meetings that bring quality professionals together? And if you don’t—why not?

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6 Responses to Connecting a Face with a Name

  1. hi, Laurel Nelson-Rowe, as an ASQ certified Pharm. GMP professional i sincerely look forward to attending such conferences but for the challenges of timely visa approvals and funds. ASQ resource materials on ASQ site are quite helpful in my pursuit of quality improvement in processes and professional development

  2. Manu Vora says:

    Laurel, interesting post.

    I attend conferences, events, or meetings that bring quality professionals together for networking, meeting experts, learning new content, and visit different places around the globe. It is an enriching experience for me and I enjoy it.


  3. Jon Pizzo says:

    Hi Laurel,
    I’d venture to guess that the uptick in attendance that you are noting has a strong correlation to company buy-in to quality programs. As more companies see the light, they will certainly devote more resources, thus more of their quality professionals given the time and money to attend the conferences. On the other side of the same coin, there are many companies out there, especially smaller more ‘the way we’ve always done it’ type of companies, that still don’t see the benefit. They may institute a quality program at the urging/requirement of a customer, but that is as far as their buy-in goes.

  4. Laurel,
    Good to hear from you!
    I have been attending the WCQI (known previously as the ‘AQC’) since 1989. I think I may have missed maybe 5-6 such events over those 25 years. I have attended as a regular attendee, a speaker, a session moderator, or a member leader of the ASQ Statistics Division. The Statistics Division – like most ASQ Divisions – has its own annual conference as well. The “Fall Technical Conference” is targeted specifically to the Statistics Division membership; the papers tend be more detailed and advanced than those presented at the WCQI, but both conferences fulfill their intended purpose. I find the conferences a terrific opportunity to build my professional network, learn new topics and renew old acquaintances.

    The ASQ Section is a geographical community of practice. The MN Section offers professional ASQ certification prep courses as well as monthly Programs for its members, often with a “hard” tools presentation pre-dinner, and a “soft skills” topic post-dinner. These programs offer best practice sharing and yet another opportunity to build one’s professional network. The MN Section is currently exploring the feasibility of offering remote training to our out-state members via web conferencing and/or self-paced CBT. The MN Section has its own annual quality conference, the ‘Professional Development Summit’ featuring papers and short course workshops.

    A relatively new development in the networking space are “flashmob” type of meet-ups of young quality professionals. I have observed several such impromptu sessions in 3M grow from a simple, single suggestion between 2-3 individuals quickly blossom into a gathering of 10-20 like-minded people, thanks to social collaboration tools like Twitter and Facebook. One such recent meeting was initiated by a couple of new 3M CQEs seeking more information about the CMQ/OE certification from a more seasoned quality professional.

    It is heartening to see the growing interest and excitement about Quality.

  5. Liam says:

    I usually attend events, conferences or meetings with professionals only in my field of expertise. Business Intelligence is what I am interested in and I always look forward in learning new stuff, meeting new people who are experts also. I like sharing my ideas but I like more hearing others ideas. This gives me other points of view which help me develop myself constantly new ideas. Also just having a conversation is satisfying. New BI tools like reporting software or DW or anything else are an important resource for me.
    I also like to to learn new stuff and I never refuse a meeting which is well presented even if I have no idea about what is going to be said there. I always balance the well organized and presented events with the level of Marketing. I like them to be well made but with few resources. This way I know that it’s going to quality time spend.

  6. Laura Brinker says:

    Hi Laurel,
    This was a new for me. Our GM is quite good about allowing us to gain further experiences, especially if it helps us to provide a better experience and better product for our clients. The only way for that to happen, in my opinion is to seek knowledge. A colleague received an email from ASQ and asked if I would be interested in “checking it out”…how could I say no? I was very happy with the experience and just entered my membership paperwork.

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