ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement has once again come and gone, this year celebrating 70 years of quality in Milwaukee, the association’s current headquarters.
I think this is my 7th WCQI, or at least that’s how many badges I’ve retained. This year, as ASQ reflected on seven decades, I considered my own journey. I was inspired to see a local quality superstar, Ken Stephens, acknowledged for over 60 WCQIs. I have a long way to go!
The first few years of attending WCQI, I did so to gain more knowledge about quality because it was the industry I worked in. I also thought networking among the community would be good for both my personal and professional endeavors.
As the years went on, I continued to get inspired to be one of the people you notice walking around the show either presenting or participating as an obvious part of the member-driven association leadership. When a good friend of mine asked me to consider a position as our local section’s Education Chair a few years ago, I saw the value of ASQ and my experience at WCQI go up significantly.
You miss a lot at WCQI as just a passive observer. You’d be misled to believe the key value of the show includes what you learn from the sessions. Underneath is a close community of like-minded individuals that participate and make ASQ what it is. Participation is mandatory here.
My top 10 takeaways from this year’s WCQI include:
- It is such an honor to return again as a speaker at this event. For real. I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive about my time slot coinciding with a local tour, but I was relieved to see a good number of people attend. Connecting personal wellness and quality tools was personal. It was cathartic.
- There is never enough time to spend with everyone you want to at this annual event! Throughout the year, I connect with so many seemingly wonderful quality professionals that I look forward to spending time with. But, it goes by so quickly. When I do see a new face with a name I recognize, it’s always a joyful feeling and a welcome personal introduction.
- Hospitality suites must be managed carefully. I have yet to perfect attendance here.
- Exhibitor life is not nearly as fun as that of an attendee. I’ll just say it like it is. Setting up a booth, hanging out in the booth and taking down the booth can at times seem daunting. But, I’d be lying if I said talking to people that stop by doesn’t completely recharge me. This year, Pro QC generated some solid leads and added a few auditors to the team. The “<3 Quality” pins I had made were a hit! – I also worked the Social Responsbility Technical Community booth for a couple of hours. With limited resources, we really pulled together something that definitely helped spread the word. We collected ideas on a flip board that we’ll be following up with via the LinkedIn Group over the weeks to come.
- One person, or a small number of people, can really make a difference. There are only a handful of us leading the SRTC currently, but we worked together to get a few minutes of time at the SAC meeting. And, I believe we were successful in communicating the SR purpose and educating leadership on how their respective sections can make a difference within their own communities. That’s good stuff right there.
- I finally did OK with the ASQ TV taping. For the past few years, I’ve been asked if I would like to participate in sharing a brief story with ASQ TV. But, this is the first year where I think I’ve actually represented myself well. Laugh if you will, but that camera turns on and I get stupid. I challenge myself each time they ask because that’s who I am and it’s advice I give to others. So, I tried and tried and think I finally came up with something acceptable this year. I’m taking props on that one. Personal win.
- The Tuesday evening networking event is a must-do. ASQ did such a great job this year getting attendees to and from the Harley Davidson Museum. It was a great environment to follow-up with a few of the people I had met earlier. Dancing is always fun too, although my karaoke version of Son of a Preacher Man on the first evening did leave something to be desired.
- Milwaukee was a blast! Sure, it was chilly for a Florida girl… But, it is a beautiful city with a pretty good selection of local brew and a complementary local culture to match. I checked out the Wicked Hop and Bryant’s as local dives. Both were awesome!
- This is my first year volunteering with the Education Division. I recently stepped down from the local section and have gotten more involved here. I’m so thankful for the new connections I’ve made, and I can’t wait for the Quality Education Conference & Workshop (QECW) coming up in November! I’m excited to be working with them on the conference and with social media in general. Check out our Twitter page for pics and posts from WCQI. Fun group! Great mission!
- Turkeys mating. Thanks for ruing the breast Dubner!
Counting down to next year…