So it’s that time of year again when you’re thinking about professional development. AAM 2013 has just passed, and it was all the way across the country this year! But wait…the Western Museum Association (WMA) 2013 Annual Meeting is just around the corner in October in Salt Lake City!
As we all know, it is important to be continuously developing in our museum profession, whether by connecting with our professional peers, learning about new projects and skills, or expanding our mind-frames from our own organizations’ processes. All too often, though, professional development comes down to the perpetual question of numbers.
The WMA would like to offer a Justification Toolkit with resources to show the new skills you will learn, networking opportunities available, and the ultimate benefits WMA 2013 attendees bring back to their organizations.
Here are some general tips to get started with, before you ask your organization to support your professional development:
- WMA 2013 is a niche meeting focused on museums in the West, issues that arise in the West (as well as global museum trends), and networking opportunities with your peers in the West. Everything that will be discussed will be relevant to your organization.
- Prepare a plan that shows which colleagues will cover for your responsibilities while you are attending the conference.
- Write a letter to your manager explaining the Return on Investment (ROI) for your attendance to WMA 2013 (Click here for a template).
Here are some simple reasons why you should attend:
- Network with your peers and leaders from all areas of museums.
- Share your ideas and visions at interactive workshops and off-site events.
- Learn from leaders in the field. Fifty sessions in six interdisciplinary tracks give you invaluable access to contemporary leaders in museums.
- Explore new and innovative solutions at the general sessions, with speakers and topics to intrigue, inspire, and entertain you.
- Delve into museums’ hottest topics at any one of the 12 optional, pre-conference workshops designed for in-depth learning.
- Exchange ideas with speakers and fellow participants. Reach out to particular people in advance to set up meetings and learn exactly what you need to know!
- Evaluate the latest products, programs, and services in the largest Exhibit Hall and conference dedicated to museums in the West.
However, quantifying the benefits of your attendance at a conference can be a little trickier. It is often said that one of the main benefits of conference attendance is networking, even though this is the most difficult value to quantify. Therefore, you should focus on what you will specifically bring back from WMA 2013. Here are some additional suggestions for after the meeting:
- When asking, focus on what you will specifically bring back to your organization as an ROI for your participation.
- Offer to prepare and deliver a short presentation and Q&A to your colleagues to share what you learned. These mini-sessions ensure that others in your department will get the benefits of your attendance.
- Offer to collect materials and hand-outs that will be helpful to those in your immediate department, as well as others in your organization.
Click here to view a Letter to Your Manager and an ROI worksheet.
Remember, you can save today and REGISTER before July 31, 2013 to save.
View the Preliminary Program