A New Member’s Perspective on Professional Development

I met IHAF Board Chair Mark Gibson late last year at the 2015 HOW Design Live Conference in Chicago. Mark was attending the conference in support of IHAF and two members of his in-house agency at State Farm Insurance creative team who were presenting a session on how to increase influence in house. Mark and I kept in touch over the next several months and quickly realized we shared a common goal: advocating for the growth of the in-house agency model.

After my third conversation with Mark, I knew I had to become a member of IHAF and I did. I'm very honored to now be a member of the IHAF Board of Directors alongside my new friend, Mark Gibson. It’s interesting how you can attend certain conferences alone and leave with a ton of new friends and professional contacts.

Well, that’s what you can expect when you attend a HOW Design Live Conference (HDL). In fact, HDL has excited, inspired and provided excellent opportunities for designers to network for over 25 years. The first HDL I attended was in 2011. To say that my first experience with the conference was career enhancing would be an understatement—it was absolutely phenomenal!

I now have the great pleasure to be one of the HOW Design Live Program Partners. Each partner has focused their expertise and attention on one of the following six programs that are jam-packed with breakout sessions and networking opportunities: Design & Creativity, In-House Management, Vision & Leadership, Branding & Packaging, Creative Entrepreneur and Interactive Design. These programs are painstakingly developed to coincide with the unique interests and practice areas of each attendee.

My vision for planning the 2016 In-House Management program was born out of conversations had last year between sessions and over lunches with in-house managers who were attending the conference in Chicago. The common thread that rose to the surface from those talks was professional development.

As you know from experience, many managers and teams are tackling expanded roles as more brand-building work gains traction in-house. The spotlight is shining bright on all of us and it’s clear that the challenges in-house managers face focus on learning how to maximize new opportunities, develop staff, and manage with flat or limited resources. The In-House Management program had to evolve into a tangible professional development tool, one that managers could easily leverage to build their skills as well as those of each person who contributes to their team. I firmly believe this goal has been accomplished with the topics selected and the caliber of our speakers. Truthfully, it’s the folks who are presenting at the conference that I’m most excited to have you hear and connect with personally.

Get your bags packed because this May 19-23 in Atlanta, you will have an opportunity to meet some creative innovators working in corporations across America. Come listen to speakers like Alex Center who is the Design Manager for The Coca-Cola Company’s Vitaminwater brand. Alex will talk about surviving and thriving during one of the biggest mergers in history. You’ll also meet Airbnb’s Tim Belonax who will reveal what it’s like to work for a startup that is generating immense buzz for transforming the hospitality industry.

There will also be a handful of IHAF members featured as speakers at this year’s HDL—like Publix Super Markets’ Director of Creative Strategy Tim Cox, Saint-Gobain’s Manager of Creative Operations Amanda Froehlich, and my IHAF Board colleague, Wayne Barringer, who leads the Creative and Branding Services team at The Boeing Company. Wayne will talk about Boeing’s uncompromising passion for innovation and how his team interprets that passion globally through the power of video storytelling.

I honestly can’t express how thrilled I am to be a member of IHAF as well as a program partner for the 2016 HOW Design Live In-House Management program. I hope you will consider attending the conference. You’ll definitely make long-lasting connections and some great new friends, too.

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