There is a newer version of this article updated for 2016 here.
Remember back in April when Carly attended the CPCU Society Leadership Summit and we shared our top 10 Tips to Make the Most of the Leadership Summit? Well, Friday marks the beginning of the 2015 CPCU Society Annual Meeting, also known as Christmas for Insurance Nerds! Both of us have attended the Annual Meeting in the past, and we wanted to share 10 ideas for how you can have the best experience at the meeting as either a first time attendee or a returning conference-goer.
1. If it’s your first year wear the NEW DESIGNEE ribbon:
Some people make the mistake of not wearing the New Designee ribbon to avoid looking like the new guy, but believe us, wearing it will cause lots and lots of people to congratulate you and come introduce themselves. It’s without question the best way to get people to come to you, so you don’t even have to make a lot of effort to meet a lot of new people. You only get this ribbon your first year, so take advantage of it!
2. Get ready to meet A LOT of fellow insurance nerds:
As an extreme extrovert, this is Tony’s favorite part of the Annual Meeting. For many of you who are also extroverts, you’ll get to connect with people from all over the country and learn about their stories. Some interactions will be short and sweet, others will be longer and more in-depth, both can be great ways to grow your network. However, for Carly and her fellow introverts, this can be the most challenging part of the Annual Meeting (Carly has doubled up on her Yoga and spends weeks preparing for this much concentrated social interaction). If you are also an introvert, you’ll want to be certain to plan some quiet time. As Susan Cain suggested in Quiet, Carly makes certain to take short 5 or 10 minute breaks between sessions to recharge. Two other strategies she uses are to show up early and to volunteer to help out, so she’ll feel more in control of the situation. Whichever personality type you are, you’re sure to make some new connections at this meeting and learning from these connections is something that both Tony & Carly love! One thing is for sure, you’ll never have a better opportunity to meet thousands of fellow insurance professionals at the same time as you have at the Annual Meeting.
3. Download the conference app:
The Institutes and the Society have been working hard in making the conference app better and better each year. Download it right now by clicking here (or search the App Store for “CPCU”) and use it to get the most out of the conference. Make sure to check in as an attendee (and add your picture), use the scheduling portion of the app, and participate in the scavenger hunt to potentially win a prize! Keep in mind that you have to download the app (called guidebook) then search inside the app for the CPCU Society Annual Meeting and download it.
4. Plan ahead:
Read the descriptions of the educational sessions. A good idea is to pick a mix of sessions that directly relate to your current day to day job and sessions that expand your perspective or apply to the next role you want. Tony is a panelist on two sessions so he of course recommends you attend those: Leading in a Multigenerational Workforce (Monday 1:30-3 pm) and The Sharing Economy (Tuesday 1-3:30 pm). Both Tony and Carly are most excited about Millennials for the Risk-Averse Employer (Sunday 3-4:30) since that’s one of our main areas of interest and Tony gave the session on Millennials at last year’s conference.
5. Dress sharp, but pack for casual events, too!:
Remember that you’ll be in professional session all day long, and it pays to dress professionally, after all you don’t know if you’ll sit next to your future boss. But in the evening, some of your new fellow insurance nerds might want to explore the city, and you’ll want some comfortable clothes to wear for these adventures. Most definitively make sure to pack comfortable shoes!
6. Don’t miss the General Sessions or the Receptions:
Missing an educational here or there is understandable, but the society does a really nice job picking great speakers, and the sponsors have very nice receptions almost every evening. The receptions are a wonderful place to meet new people! It’s always tempting to blow the morning session and get some extra sleep but those who make the effort to make it several sessions always get the most out of it!
7. Remember why you’re there, but also think of the future:
Maybe you are here simply as a celebration of your accomplishment in completing your CPCU, but the CPCU Society can be a tremendous resource for you as you continue your insurance career. Be sure to attend the sessions and participate! Most people do CPCU thinking that finishing the designation is the end of the road, but really it’s just the beginning. Getting involved in the CPCU Society multiplies the value of the designation by expanding your network, giving you leadership opportunities, making you more visible in the industry and by helping you keep up to date. It all starts here at the Annual Meeting so get out there, meet some new friends and reach out with a handwritten thank you note afterwards! We know of at least one person who sent a handwritten thank you note to every person she met at the Annual Meeting and ended up turning one of those connections into an amazing new job. (That person will be in Indy, bonus points if you figure out who he/she is).
8. Connect with your local chapter:
The CPCU Society is like the Alumni Society from your University, except they’re not asking you for donations on a quarterly basis and they host local meetings all over the country! Representatives of your local chapter will be at this meeting, and this is a great time to meet them and learn about what your local chapter has to offer when you’re back home. Carly’s chapter has a monthly educational meeting, and Tony’s chapter hosts three to four big events each year. Being active on the local level will keep your knowledge fresh and keep you connected to other insurance lovers in the community and is highly recommended. It’s a great way to gain leadership experience and local connections. Both Tony and Carly sit on the boards of their local CPCU Societies.
9. Join the Twitter conversation #CPCU15:
Even in a conservative industry like insurance, social media has become a bigger and bigger deal over the last few years. The official conference tag #CPCU15 will become a big center of activity about the conference, don’t miss out on the fun! If you’ve never tweeted before, download the app today, sign up and get acquainted with it. Then when you get to Indy, stop by the Twitter desk, and get some help on how to use it. For fresh ideas on what to do in Indy follow @IndyCPCU and @VisitIndy on twitter.
10. Find your favorite nerds:
Both Tony and Carly help host the New Designee Open House. If you check out the schedule in the app or on the CPCU Society website, you can easily find out what hours we’re open. Come meet us and the rest of the group, rest for a little bit and get some food (we always have the best free food in the conference). If we’re not attending sessions or committee meetings, you’ll find us there! Or you can connect with us through the app or LinkedIn. We love to meet our readers! The easiest way to find out where we are at any given time during the conference is on twitter: @TonyCanas4 and @CarlyABurnham, we will do our best to post where we are.