By Farris Galyon, MBA Candidate
Net Impact 2013 held special significance to the PGS community because of its proximity to our gilded halls. In advance of the conference, dozens of Presidians volunteered a lot of hours to help bring this conference to life. While I was not among those early volunteers, I was a thankful recipient of the good will that resulted from their hard work; ultimately Presidio had a showing of 80 plus delegates, and garnered a platinum reputation among all I spoke with.
Beyond representing an opportunity for Presidians to bolster our collective reputation, the locality of this years’ conference was the governing characteristic that enabled me to attend. While trudging my way up the steep learning curve of my first semester, and with a budget that could sustain the damage of an NI ticket or a plane ticket, but not both, I feel very fortunate to have had this year’s event in my backyard.
The conference itself provided a range of lectures, conversations, and collaborative encounters with a robust mix of business leaders, recruiters, professional development experts, and fellow students from around the country. Two extremely valuable encounters I had while attending the conference include a conversation I had with Zynga.org representative Abby Speights, who provided keen insight into the ways gaming can be used as a platform for charitable giving, and a business pitching workshop, that ran well-thought business plans through the scrutiny of a distinguished panel. These instances and more, represent great value added from the conference.
Unfortunately however, I cannot say that I maximized my NI experience this semester. Unlike many of my wise colleagues, I determined that commuting to the conference would be a fine way to save money, and opted out of getting a hotel room for the event. My need to account for a 1 hour plus commute (1 way) had an intrinsic effect on my ability to attend many of the networking events. The NI cocktail hours and dinners represent an important social opportunity after a long day of content saturation; a failure to participate here meant I was missing one of the aspects that made NI so important. To be sure, my future involvement with NI events will account for the need to be fully available.
As I look to my next semester as a Presidian, I will be eager to see how we can maintain the momentum of this years’ conference, as the 2014 conference heads to Minneapolis. Time spent by Presidians volunteering to make the 2013 conference a success, can be focused more internally in 2014, which would enrich the contribution of our chapter, to our own school. Considering the reach and influence of the Net Impact network, and the superb name Presidio made for itself during the conference, I see a great deal of opportunity for our chapter moving forward, and I’m excited to be a part of it.
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