EY Strategic Growth Forum always delivers, but this year, I'm particularly excited — and not just for Viola Davis’ talk (though that’s already reason enough to go) or the excuse to swap my boots for sandals in November in Palm Springs, California.
This year’s conference promises to cover a lot of ground, from venture funding and cyber marketing to geopolitics. And with a solid list of sponsors that support entrepreneurship, such as the Kauffman Foundation, this is going to be an event you don't want to miss.
I had the privilege of going to this event last year after my co-founder and I won the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award for Best Emerging Company in the central Midwest region. It was an honor, and I can't wait to be back this year. If you'll be attending, too, here are some of my tips for making the most of this event:
1. Have a game plan, but be flexible.
With lots of sessions to choose from and people to meet, you'll want to map out in advance the speakers you can't miss so you're not totally lost when you get there. That said, don't be afraid to stray a little from your original agenda.
You never know who you'll run into or what session may seem more interesting in the moment. Events like this offer so much opportunity, so don't miss out by being too rigid or not keeping an eye out for things you didn't put on your list the first time.
2. Drink plenty of water.
It's going to be in the low to mid-80s all week, so make sure to stay hydrated and pace yourself. The forum is four days' worth of speaker sessions and networking, so you don't want to start strong only to be burned out by the Saturday night awards gala.
3. Use your time wisely.
If you haven't already, start networking. Try to get a feel for who exactly you'll want to talk to while you're there, and make plans to connect with certain contacts during or after the event.
You can take a page from our playbook, and use content to connect ahead of time, or use social media to reach out to people you'd like to get to know at the event. Your days will be filled with speakers, events, and networking, so come prepared with a plan for who you want to meet and how you can be helpful to them.