Once again this year I have the pleasure of attending the annual NACDA convention in Orlando. I’ve always enjoyed going to NACDA and always come home with great ideas, new friends, and enthusiasm to get to work. My favorite part of the convention is sitting around with other folks in my profession and trading insight into how they do things. I enjoy professional development so much that I created the Business of Small College Athletics workshop as an avenue to encourage growth for Small College Athletic Administrators.
I also encourage my staff and coaches to seek out these opportunities, attend their conventions, and look to grow in any way possible. More than just attending, I encourage them to strive to become leaders of their professional development organization. A goal that I think we should all have.
The challenge with attending workshops and conventions is that they only happen once per year. Creating a list of all of your challenges and taking that list to the convention in search of answers isn’t a very productive way to go about growing. What you need is a consistent group with which to share and learn from. I highly advocate sports pros finding mentors or close friends in the business that they can bounce ideas off of. It’s important to note that there are a growing number of FREE opportunities to network and learn available on Social Media each week.
Recently I co-founded a chat for Small College Athletic Administrators along with Kirby Garry(@kirbygarry) and Ryan Ivey(@rivey35). The chat(#scachat) is held each Sunday night at 8pm CST and covers a broad range of subjects dealing with small college athletics. Participants are encouraged to post topics that they would like to discuss in future chats and I’m delighted to say that each week the hour goes by very quickly. Click here to view a transcript from a recent chat. It doesn’t cost me a nickel to attend and interact and I find that it is well worth my time. Best of all, the participants can all relate to the issues that I face in my position, as I can to theirs.
There are a variety of chats out there to participate in. I got started in chats by joining the #sbchat(sports business chat). NACMA also provides a variety of live chats that are hosted by NACMA as opposed to Twitter. Like me, if you don’t find a chat that speaks to your specific needs….just start your own and invite others to join in. You’ll find that chats are a great place to make a new connection for your network and a great place to learn new ideas and share ideas that work for you.
While I’m still a huge advocate of attending conventions(I hope to see you at NACDA, the NAIA Convention, or BOSCA this year), I encourage you to get started today to find additional sources for professional development and networking. That is, unless you are already as good as you’re ever going to be.