Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Staffing Swarm - A Community Is Born

I want to thank every one who came out to the Staffing Swarm at the Event Marketing Summit 2011 in Chicago. It was well attended and a success on all counts.

Allow me to back up a little and speak about the months and days leading up to the event.  When I initially put the word out, there was some skepticism; which I completely understood. Some people did not know me, or, even if they did know me, they weren't sure of the motives behind such an event.  After the first few days of awaiting RSVPs with little response, I was not sure how it was going to play out.

As the Event Marketing Summit grew closer, more and more people signed up, including some I had never spoken to!  It felt like the event was starting to gain some traction.

Cut to:

Day of the Staffing Swarm, 12:05pm: I am sitting there with only one other person.  All the doubts of “throwing a party that nobody comes to" started to creep in...Did I not send out enough reminders? Is the location too hard to find? Do people not want to leave the main floor of EMS?  Was I foolish to think competitors would want to meet?

Shortly thereafter, people began filtering in and within minutes, representatives from 8 dynamic agencies were breaking bread together and sharing information, laughs, and war stories.

During EMS, I had some great conversations with other agency reps who were unable to make the lunch. (A complete list to follow)

The entire experience made me very proud to be in an industry where I am constantly surrounded by creative, insightful, caring, helpful people. It made me think twice before I spoke ill of others in my industry.

It is so easy to find fault from afar, but when you shake someone's hand or look someone in the eye, judgement and differences melt away.  The Staffing Swarm made me realize that as much as it seems like a new staffing agency springs up every week, there are only so many of us in the world that can do what we do. It made me realize that we are, in fact, a community

Community has become such a buzz word in our industry that its meaning can easily be diluted. It's what social media is always trying (sometimes forcing) to create. While it was dawning on me that I am part of an actual, living, breathing community, I now see exactly why everyone is trying so hard; there is so much power and leverage within a community. When you get a group of like-minded individuals or companies with similar goals, so much more becomes possible than what any one person or company could do on their own. The whole is infinitely greater than the sum of its parts.

This leverage and power can be shared and applied to so many things that serve common goals. Leverage and power are what cause major shifts in any industry. Leverage and power can ultimately make or change laws.

Skeptics might say that it is foolish to help someone you are competing with; "Every man for himself and let the market see who comes out on top."  That is one way of looking at it, but I believe that there are so many other ways we can help each other and still "Compete on Game Day".

If we choose to put the combined wisdom/tools/etc. together, the advantages that all involved can gain are enormous. In other words, you and I can improve each other's performance during the week and still battle on the weekend as fierce competitors. We can have it both ways.

At the end of the day, we are all looking for mostly the same things: profitable projects, great promotional staff, solid employees, and caring clients (just to name a few).

Thanks again to those who are creating this community together.

I am so grateful that I had this opportunity and am very hopeful for the future of our new-found community.

Represented at "The Swarm"                         Others at EMS who are part of the conversation

Adelante Live                                                     All Aces
BMT Promotions and Talent                            Encore Nationwide
Big Orange/On The Rocks                               GT Events
Devolution Solutions                                         Victory Agency

Additional photos from The Staffing Swarm can be found here.

Many thanks to Sopraffina for accommodating us with a great space and fantastic food. Also, a quick shout out to Eventbrite which is an easy to use, business friendly,savvier version of evite.  

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