First (and perhaps most obvious), professional education. I always find information I can take back to my workplace and apply right away – and I find that’s true whether the sessions I attend are directly work-related or, in some cases, may seem less applicable to my particular line of work in bank marketing. In Alabama, I picked up excellent information and ideas on topics including these:
- Podcasting to expand your audience
- Pitching to news reporters via Twitter
- Making your subject “sing” with color, imagery and detail (this coming from award-winning journalist and author Rick Bragg)
- “Quick crafting” online stories
- Finding trending topics and using them to drive blog/website traffic
Second, recognition. I’ve been fortunate to receive awards in NFPW’s communications contest every year. My manager and team, as well as leaders at my company, respond very positively to this national recognition, as well as the feedback we receive about our communications contest entries. I even won the national Sweepstakes one year!
Finally, professional development and networking. In addition to serving in the past as NDPC president, I’ve been involved with NFPW as a high school contest co-director, Education Fund board member and currently am an advisor to my third NFPW president. All of these roles have helped me develop greater professional skills in speaking, diplomacy, organizational counsel, communications – and, yes, even the usefulness of Robert’s Rules of Order. It’s thanks to my involvement with NFPW and my attendance at the NFPW conference that I’ve been able to maintain connections with people who have become not only an important professional network, but also treasured friends and valuable mentors.
- Karen Stensrud