It was an experience that surpassed all expectations.
As I sit on this plane and reflect on the past few days, all I can really say is wow. On Sunday I flew to Las Vegas feeling nervous and excited; tonight I return home feeling relieved and empowered.
Lindsi and I made the most of our moment in the spotlight. Vegas was the temporary higher education marketing capital of the world this past week and we made our mark. Not only did we get the chance to network with the more than 1,400 higher professionals who attended the conference, we got to present to a large portion of them.
After earning the right to present via our successful proposal, we spent eight months preparing for our presentation. We were able to build something that adequately described Coastal Carolina University’s creative and innovative Generation Z-optimized Instagram strategy. With many rehearsals under our belts, we also developed the speaking confidence required to supplement our ideas.
But, just to be sure, you could find the two of us rehearsing our presentation once more in a random hallway of Caesars Palace on Monday morning at 6 a.m. When we concluded, we looked at each other and said we got this. Although still nervous, we knew we had done pretty much all we could do.
At 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, the stage was ours. For the past 20 minutes we had watched person after person filter into our conference room, taking up every single chair and crowding around the sides and back. The room was overflowing with conference attendees either standing or literally sitting on the floor.
There was no turning back.
We hit the audience with our special intro and then we aced each of our initial speaking moments. It was at this point that the jitters went away and we could simply do our thing. To be on that stage was exhilarating and we couldn’t have asked for a more engaged crowd; they laughed at the appropriate times, asked questions throughout the entire presentation, and stuck around long after we finished to chat with us face-to-face.
The 60-minute opportunity allowed Lindsi and I to represent Coastal Carolina University but more importantly to really credit our incredible University Marketing and Communication team for providing the necessary talent and support to implement the tactics of our Instagram strategy. You see, the most repeated question we received during our session and throughout the entire conference was this: How are you able to do so much?
Simple. It is because we have the best team.
After we finished the presentation, Lindsi kept saying Oh my gosh, Brent. Oh my gosh. The adrenaline was still pumping through our veins as we tried to contain our excitement after presenting in front of a capacity crowd made up of the brightest higher ed marketers in the country. We were on Cloud 9.
We wouldn’t step off that cloud for the rest of the conference. As Lindsi described it, it was as if we were celebrities. Throughout the next two days we were stopped not just inside the conference but in the elevators as well. People wanted to compliment our presentation and engage with us about our social media strategy. To develop so many new connections based off our presentation was really cool.
I wouldn’t have wanted to present with anyone more than Lindsi Glass. As our associate vice president for marketing and branding (and my supervisor), she has allowed #CCUSocialMedia to do what we feel is necessary to successfully connect with our audience. As I mentioned before, we make a great team and it was evidenced again this week.
It will be tough to forget this week. We took the ideas we came up with in little Conway, S.C., and presented them in LAS VEGAS at CAESARS PALACE in front of lots of people. I am thankful for this career highlight but even more appreciative to everyone at Coastal Carolina for making it possible. Don’t Blink.