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This year I took on leading the organization of a large local analytics conference focused on the financial and retail industries. The conference was called MinneAnalytics FAR Con and there were a number of things that I learned throughout the process but there were a two key things that I thought important to emphasize because no matter if you are organizing a good sized conference, starting a big project at work, or organizing your local youth baseball league they apply.

Before getting into these lessons a little perspective about MinneAnalytics FAR Con. This event was an all day event with 50+ sessions with 60+ speakers and 700+ attendees. This event included both a VIP function the evening before the event and a happy hour after the event along with breakfast and lunch provided at event. The other key thing about an event like this is it is sponsor funded so there is not only recruitment of speakers and marketing of event to potential attendees but also recruitment of sponsors. To learn more about what was presented at FAR Con and participants go to http://minneanalytics.org/event/far-con/ or search #FARconMN.

Couple key reminders throughout the FAR Con planning and execution included:

  • Expect and Plan for Change: Life is full of constant change and you need to be prepared and plan for it. I think back always to strategic planning courses talk about Shell Oil and Scenario Analysis and the need to be prepared for different scenarios.

In the case of this event there was the need to find people to help organize the event, people to speak at the event, people to sponsor the event, and people to volunteer at the event, and people to attend the event. All these require different levels of trust but there is the health level of skepticism that we should all have. For example, we had over 1,000 people registered for the event but approximately 720 people attended. Further, there were a number of people that were originally going to speak that dropped out of speaking at different times. There were a number of companies that indicated high interest in sponsoring that didn’t eventually come through. I certainly expected this to happen and had planned what would be next move if things occurred.

  • Trust the team: Nothing that really matters in the world happens without a team effort and the bigger the effort the bigger the team needed. Putting together a good team around a common goal and trusting in the team is essential to make things work.

FAR Con required a lot of people to make successful. This required a level of trust for the people filling each of the roles. Sometimes I did this better than other times, but I always appreciated the team and their passion. The one thing I tried to stress throughout was our mission of coming together to make the Minnesota analytics community stronger through learning, sharing, and networking together.

Remember that you need to plan for change and trust the team whenever you are doing something big.

Thank you again for everyone that worked together with me in making MinneAnalytics FAR Con a success and look forward to having you and others participate in future events.

Have an awesome week and remember to do something today to supercharge your success.

As always appreciate your feedback, emails, comments, likes, and re-tweets!

photo credit: @MinneAnalytics, @Danalytics

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