The Power of our Peers

Spent the last few days at the CASE District 1 annual conference in Boston. What an honor to be able to present the work that we’ve done at UConn with student philanthropy, and I’m so proud of the team of people who worked on it. From my co-presenter (the brains, the driver of the process and the hardest worker ever) to our data team, our background support, our talented student marketing worker, and even the group of peers who evaluated the presentation in advance…not much to say but that there is amazing talent all around me. Truly blessed.

The presentation itself went great, with one small technical hiccup at the end (curse you, PowerPoint), but the in-person reviews were positive and the follow-up questions were great. In fact, I’d say that we received more questions than any other session I had been in.

So, that was great.

It was also an incredible conference for a little “small world” experience. But, first, a little background.

About a month ago, I got a phone call out of the blue from a person I did not know, who informed me that I had been recommended by someone (let’s call him David) to present at a conference in March. I didn’t know David’s name, and a quick Google / LinkedIn search revealed no obvious direct connection to him. But, I like challenges, so accepted the offer and didn’t think much more about it.

Flash forward now to the conference. I pop into an interesting-sounding session at CASE and just am blown away by how great it was. I found myself thinking, “These presenters GET IT. How awesome.” It’s about my loves…analytics, marketing, data-based decision-making, social media. Just great stuff. And then I see that it’s David co-presenting!

I introduced myself after the session and start with a sheepish admission that I don’t know how we’re connected or why he’d recommend me.

He says, “You presented in New York in 2012, right?”

“I did.”

“I was in your session, and I left there thinking, ‘Wow, UConn is doing great stuff in this area.'”

So, the presentation he gave, that I randomly stopped in for, was inspired by our very own from two years earlier.

Wow.

Wow.

The lesson is that we’re not alone in anything we do, and our peers build us up, make us who we are, and turn us into better professionals and people. We’re all in this together.

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