This past weekend, I had the honor to volunteer as part of the executive team for one of the premier events of the area, ProductCamp SoCal. This is an unconference that focuses on markets and products. Topics range from Agile development practices and market research to product execution methodologies, market launch, and social media. The beauty of an unconference is that participants drive the theme and topics by proposing sessions and then voting on the ones that will get selected.
While most participants come (424 this time - our fourth event!) to learn in sessions and facilitate sessions, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes with participants who choose to be volunteer for this vibrant event. A lot of planning and execution goes into it all, including engaging sponsors, utilizing the facility, getting the message out, registering, counting votes, and providing food, conference materials, and up to date information for attendees. We had a crew of over 60 people - including students - who were part of this well-oiled machine.
It’s amazing how every person that participates adds to the flavor (hunter-bear-ranger, anyone?) of the conference and create these moments. Not necessarily the conference moments, the ones in between the logistics of pulling it together, around planning meetings, in preparations, between the sessions or in session interactions, really anywhere there were two or more willing participants, opening the opportunity for magic to happen. New collaborations were formed, new friendships made, old ones renewed or strengthened. Business opportunities were found and new light was shed on old ways of doing things. And that’s just from the immediate feedback!
If you have the opportunity to be a part of a collaboration like this, take it. It will enrich your life in ways you didn’t think it could. I know it has for me.
Photo: Volunteers preparing the conference bags at CSUF.
Dori "Story" Gilbert is Chief Storycologist; passionate about professionals, their journey, and their ability to direct a career story they love.