I have been fortunate enough to attend three VISION conferences- all fantastic experiences. I often find myself getting lost in the keynote messages and leave the general sessions inspired. But, truth be known, it is nothing on the agenda that has helped me grow the most in my career.
I have left every VISION conference in a better place for my career because of the people I have met. Whether it is in line to get coffee or sitting down for a drink after a long day of sessions, a simple “where are you from” often leads to a meaningful relationship that benefits both parties.
One of the greatest things about CTE is that every state does things a little differently. We all have different roles but the same goal in mind. This is great for us as a whole because we all have something to share, and we all have something to learn. While I can say that I have learned a lot of great things in the sessions at VISION conferences, some of the most remarkable growth for me personally has been sitting and chatting with others. I enjoy talking to others who have been in CTE longer than I have been alive and absorbing their passion for what they do. Learning about the history of CTE and how it has evolved is inspiring. What is also unique to me is being able to share some of the fresh, new technology that I am experienced in with a seasoned CTE professional and seeing their excitement about growth for themselves.
Often in sessions at VISION, depending on the topic, you can strike up conversations with people that have similar roles and responsibilities as you. These relationships are also invaluable as far as growing in your career. Every school has a different way they handle things and sometimes just having a chance to share best practices with someone who has your same work “struggles” or “challenges” can spark a new fire inside of you and allow you to return to work with a new passion or idea.
I am sure we have all left a conference feeling energized and renewed, but how many of you have soon noticed that fire has been extinguished by the day to day grind? Please make a point to follow up and connect with the people you have met at VISION, commit to reading the book you heard about is a session, and make it a point to return to VISION every year ready to build new relationships and grow yourself. You are the best thing to invest in.