California Dreaming (About an Unforgettable Networking Conference)

California Dreaming (About an Unforgettable Networking Conference)

It’s been about a month since I’ve had the opportunity to attend the 2018 Marketing Association of Credit Unions (MAC) Conference, but I can’t stop thinking about how amazing of an experience it was. From a perfect location to keynote speakers to countless networking opportunities, I was impressed with it all. 

As a first-time conference attendee, I didn’t fully know what to expect during these few days in San Diego. One thing I did expect was a warm, sunny climate to welcome me. I was quite shocked when we landed in rainy, gloomy weather, especially when Wisconsin was a balmy 90 degrees when I left. Nonetheless, the topic made for a great first talking point with vendors and potential clients. And not to worry, the weather returned to its normal, sunny self the very next day of the conference. 

The conference kicked off with an outing to a Padres game. It was such a great way for clients and vendors alike to ease into conference mode and have a lowkey night of getting to know one another. From that moment on, I knew I was going to really enjoy this conference.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

I found a huge advantage of this conference to be its intimate size. I remember attending trade shows years ago that hosted a huge number of vendors. Though they have their advantages, the communication and real relationship-building opportunities were somewhat limited. The MAC Conference created a warm, welcoming atmosphere that encouraged networking and idea bouncing.

The conference size also allowed for attendees to really have their voices heard. I listened to many credit unions discuss their current challenges, trends they’ve been noticing and what marketing objectives they have set for themselves. Several credit unions emphasized a focus on loan growth and targeted marketing. It’s conversations like those that helped me grow professionally and develop personal relationships with potential clients. 

And smaller doesn’t mean less engagement. Each and every workshop, keynote speaker and networking session had a great attendee turnout. A balanced itinerary of events hosted on and off the conference site made for the perfect combination of professional networking and personal conversation. 

Lasting Impressions

Heading into this conference, of course I expected to learn some new information and hear from experienced professionals in the credit union marketing field. What I could have never expected was to build such strong relationships with both fellow vendors and conference attendees. The pure passion for marketing was evident and infectious throughout every event. Introductions between us and other vendors quickly snowballed into “think tank” type conversations driven by interest and curiosity. I left San Diego with a renewed motivation to help credit unions market to their full potential. 

The 2019 MAC Conference is already set to be hosted in colorful and vibrant New Orleans. If it’s anything like this year’s conference in the Gaslamp District of San Diego, it’s already shaping up to be unforgettable.  

I can only hope that my conference experiences in the future are just as memorable and beneficial as the 2018 MAC Conference.

Posted by Sarah Wells - July 09, 2018