Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Grateful Expectations for #NAISAC 2016

       Thanks for a great NAIS Annual Conference this year! Thanks to NAIS staff, the planning committee, the on-line community folks, the presenters, the attendees, anyone I've forgotten. I'm saying this now because I might forget later.
       True, the conference hasn't actually even started yet, but you know it's going to be awesome. It always is. Granted, some sessions may not be that enthralling--they may even reek--and the wi-fi may prove incapable of handling the crush. But download the app and read through the program. The breadth and depth of offerings is staggering, and it's really your own fault if you return home without any ideas you can somehow use in your schools. Set up meals and conversations (not meetings, not chats--real conversations) with people you wish you had more time with during the whirlwind of daily life. Maybe you can meet the real person who sustains that provocative blog or has mastered the art of the Tweet. Whatever your preferred style, connect with the conference.
       An experience last week reminded me of just how crucial this is. I participated in a three-hour on-line leadership program led by Seth Godin. Along with admiring his work, I wanted to see what such an undertaking would be like. It was intense and fantastic. I was in a group with people from around the world, and they gave of each other generously. At the end we joked about gathering somewhere for dinner, and a few of us now follow each other on social media.
       Yet it also was unsatisfying in a key way. Beyond wanting to become better leaders, we had little in common. That's why, despite all the predictions about the death of big conferences, I don't see that happening. Great power exists in a group of people coming together, particularly when they pursue a mission tinged with the quixotic. For that I'm the most grateful.

Cross-posted on NAIS Annual Conference 2016 OnLine Community.

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