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SXSW 2018 Recap: My First Year Experience

I recently had the opportunity to attend South by Southwest in Austin, Texas for the first time. If you’ve never been, SXSW is a giant festival in downtown Austin that draws in thousands of people. Founded in 1987, SXSW has boasted an economic impact to Austin of over $300 M in past years.

Since it started, SXSW has grown in both size and scope. It is now a combination of a number of festivals in one, including music, film, comedy, interactive, health and more. My main focus was on the “more” part. I attended a number of sessions on topics related to today’s workplace trends.

The workplace sessions were structured in one of two ways. Either a single speaker would give a lecture on one topic, or a panel of three to five experts would weigh in on a particular issue. Topics ranged from negotiation to sexism to diversity to new employer perks to faith in the workplace to the gender pay gap to neurodiversity. This was a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time!

As you can imagine, the speakers were both incredibly talented and informative. In fact, I’ve had the opportunity to interview a number of them for my podcast.

So many important ideas were shared in these workplace sessions. Some companies are now offering creative benefits, including paying back your student loans after you finish college. It’s no longer unusual to start your career over from scratch midway through, and more programs than ever are available to help make the process possible. Organizations are increasing their focus on diversity and inclusion, using both their existing teams and new technology to make it happen.

But, the point that I really took away from my SXSW experience has to do with networking. You can listen to all of the lectures presented, but nothing compares to what you can learn from other people. And, SXSW is the perfect place to meet or reconnect with those people.

I met up with a number of old colleagues during my visit. I met a number of new people, from various industries and from around the world. And, I met a number of great people from career websites LinkedIn and Indeed.

These conversations provided an incredible amount of value – more than I could have gained in any classroom. They led to new connections, new ideas, new podcast episodes, and new opportunities.

The experience reminded me just how important networking is to your overall career. It’s not only important to meet new people, but it’s important to stay in touch. It’s important to reconnect. It’s important to help one another. Networking is very often what your next job is made from.

I look forward to attending SXSW again next year. But, my focus on networking will increase. After all, where else in the world can you connect with so many creative and talented people in one place?

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

162 | Creative Careers in Writing & Social Media – Audrey Boring, Austin, TX

Episode 162 is live! This week, we talk with Audrey Boring in Austin, TX.

Audrey is an independent marketing and advertising professional. She began her creative career as a copywriter, setting up her own freelance business in 2010. She has worked with clients such as Blinds.com, International Paper, and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She also recently spoke at SXSW about “Building the creative career you’re meant to have.”

On today’s episode, Audrey shares:

  • What it’s like to be a freelancer
  • The pros and cons of freelance versus a corporate job
  • How to break into the social media space as a professional
  • How companies are using social media today
  • Tips on switching from a non-creative field to a creative field

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Audrey, visit her website at www.acesbranding.com. You can also send her an email at audrey@acesbranding.com.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send me your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

 

157 | Alex Smith, Chief HR Officer, City of Memphis

Episode 157 is live! This week, we talk with Alex Smith in Memphis, TN. Alex is the Chief HR Officer for the City of Memphis. She also served on the HR teams at Brightstar Device Protection, Target Corporation, and Microsoft. Alex will be speaking this year at SXSW on a panel called, “Dear HR: Ditch the pool table and pay student loans.”

On today’s episode, Alex shares:

  • The details on the student loan reimbursement plan the City of Memphis has implemented
  • What types of creative benefits companies are offering
  • The differences in interviewing at a corporation versus a government
  • Tips on deciding if you should work at a corporate job, or a government job
  • Tips for transitioning between different cities

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

To learn more about Alex, you can find her on LinkedIn. Learn more about the City of Memphis on the City of Memphis website. And, learn more about Alex’s SXSW panel on the SXSW website.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review!