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PARWCC Conference Thoughts


PARWCC Conference Thoughts

Franklin Buchanan |

Full disclosure - I haven't attended a conference in over 10 years. And when I did attend conferences, it wasn't to get better and improve my skills. It was to sell things.

Suffice to say, there was a reason I hadn't attended a conference in 10+ years. I simply didn't enjoy them.

My how things can change.

One of the first things that I did in May of 2021 when I dove full-time into Post Up Careers was to join the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.

Since joining, I've earned designations as a Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC) and a Certified Veteran Career Strategist (CVCS). Suffice to say, the investment in the association has been beneficial to my skills.

I really thought that's about where my involvement would go - continuing my professional development.

And then I connected with Angie Callen at some point last year. Angie is a very like-minded Career Coach and Resume Writer and we ended up doing a joint webinar together with the Careers and Beers theme.

That led to me being a panelist at The Job Seeker Summit in early 2024 and lo and behold she reached out, along with Stephanie Renk and Mark Misiano, to ask me to be involved with the annual Thrive conference with the Careers and Beers theme.

Careers and Beers was the opener for the conference on Sunday night and up until the week before the conference, we really didn't know how it would work. But after chatting with Stephanie and Mark and then getting a pulse of things, we settled on an ice-breaking networking session with topics about the business.

I asked registrants as they came through what they wanted to learn at the conference and developed a few questions for them to answer on notecards. At networking events, people naturally assimilate into groups, so I gave each group a notecard and they brainstormed their answers.

Naturally, the rest of the conference I was asked when they would hear the results. Don't worry - that's coming!

Hosting that session was nerve-wracking. If anyone there besides Mark, Stephanie, and Angie knew me, it was because of my videos on LinkedIn and YouTube - very surface level. And I didn't know a soul besides those 3 and a few folks I connected with prior to the conference.

Literally, within 2 hours of the conference starting, I didn't step out of my comfort zone - I jumped out of it. Attending a conference and facilitating a networking conversation at the same time?

On Monday, I attended Angie's kickoff speech which was energizing. She's an engaging speaker and knows how to read the room in terms of what people want to hear. I also attended Tom Powner's LinkedIn game where my team came in dead last on LinkedIn Q&As.

Make no mistake, I and everyone at my table know how to write dynamic LinkedIn profiles. But it had been a minute since I played with LinkedIn on the back-end and, candidly, I know where most of the things are but not what they're called!

On Tuesday, I attended Kris Baitoo's session on pricing, Louise Kursmark's session on Board Portfolios, and Jan Melnik's closing session on being a solo operator.

I've written Board Resumes before and it was nice getting the validation in Louise's session that I have been doing things the right way.

Little did I know that Kris and I would connect over our enjoyment of horses, our dislike of asthma, and our previous Kelly backgrounds! Oh yeah, she had an awesome session full of business development takeaways.

On Wednesday, Angie hosted an Entrepreneurial Boot Camp where I realized that, while I'm doing a lot of the back end things right from a business perspective, there is so much more that can be done to streamline operations and push out relevant and engaging content.

I met so many amazing people who I learned from throughout the conference. Outside of the speakers and planners, Lili, Dustin, Ari, Elizabeth, John, Steve, Jim, Ed, Tammy, Robin, Tali, Denise, Kali, Steve, Kimiko and so many others that I got to network with and exchange best practices was amazing. If I didn't list you please know that I'm writing this blog after a 7 hour drive home with the kids in the car!

I also had to keep Post Up Careers moving and had multiple client calls, reviews, and coaching sessions during the conference which kept me from attending all of the breakouts. But I was taking the family to Disney on Thursday, so I had to sacrifice something to make sure my girls got to see their favorite Disney Princesses (and so I could build a lightsaber and ride Rise of the Resistance)!

After attending Thrive 2024, I'm a better resume writer, career coach, and business owner. 

If you're a resume writer or career coach in any setting - solopreneur, agency, workforce development, or career center, this conference is for you. I hope to see you next year at Thrive 2025!


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