SLA 2010 – Sara’s reflections

Back from New Orleans, and sifting through paperwork, ideas, actions and business cards, Sara shares her impressions of her second SLA Conference. There is also a complementary post on Sara’s own blog, Uncooked Data and a podcast recorded in situ. 

Conference this year was a very different experience from 2009. Attending as president-elect meant I had set duties as well as normal sessions and networking opportunites. Here I will comment on the sessions I attended with the pres-elect role in mind; Uncooked Data will carry reflections on the rest of conference.

On Sunday I attended the Leadership Development session; making new contacts and putting some more faces to names and email addressses.

A short blog post can’t really do justice to the full morning of thinking and working, so if you want to know more, do let me know. The session began with an overview of what the ‘new normal’ might look like, drawing on the work from the Pew Internet & American Life project. We also had an overview of the innovations planned for SLA 2011 in Philadelphia.

Following a panel session with the Board of Directors candidates, we were set an exercise relating to the 23 tools that have been developed from the Alignment project. This sparked off a great discussion about effective communication and coaching people to become better communicators.

Finally a discussion on vendor-unit relationships suggested some best practice methods of securing partnering arrangements. SLA Europe had a strategy to talk with all the UK/European vendors present in the INFO-EXPO to introduce the Chapter; I tweeted this but did not quite find a gap in the discussion to share it with the room. My take-aways from this session were:

  • Change is inevitable – but the SLA is planning for the future
  • Alignment tools can be invaluable for building our profile externally but also confirming our individual sense of professional worth

Tuesday saw Kate and I at Chapter Cabinet – another first experience of the way the SLA works. Kate’s past work on the SLA Board meant she knew practically everyone and I tried hard not to feel too much like a new girl on my first day at school.

I also attended the (slightly damp) International Reception and Sunday’s awards recipients’ reception in the (slightly odd) Mardi Gras World.

I’ve definitely learned and consolidated much more about the SLA, and the HQ staff and Board which will all help for the next couple of years. 

We hope you enjoyed hearing the podcasts as they were posted; thanks to Laura for her sterling work in co-ordinating the blogging at a distance, Dennie and Geraldine for their on-the-spot recording.

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