NCMPR District 4: Conquering the Great Divide

by Heather McDorman
St. Charles Community College
Cottleville, MO

They say the air in Denver, the “mile-high” city, is thin and may cause some to feel a little winded. At the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations District 4 2010 fall conference in Denver, the attendees may leave feeling winded, but as Fred Peters, the District 4 Director, said at lunch … he wants us all to leave the conference “out of breath” from all the information we consumed.

The theme for the conference was “The Great Divide: Crossing From Old Media to New.” There was a lot to choose from in the new media, from keeping Facebook fun to monitoring your online reputation and analytics. Best practices, regardless of technology, were also covered from branding and integrated marketing to an advocacy panel reminding us about the role we can play in government relations.

The Medallions Awards included 48 category winners from a record-breaking number of submissions. The creativity in the TV programs and poster categories were particular standouts.

All this may be typical to other NCMPR district conferences but what stood out to me was a good number of opportunities to connect with others through an early-arrival activity to the King Tut exhibit at the Denver Museum of Art. Incredible treasures were on display!

Following a pre-conference intensive on effective online advertising campaigns, the group of 80+ gathered at a nearby historic hotel for some pretty tasty hors d’oeuvres and nice conversation with members (e.g., Joe Marquez and Rhonda Bentz from the Colorado Community College System and vendors like Interact and Digital Architecture).

Amidst some quality breakouts for a pretty cool opportunity for the visual communicators to mix, mingle and collaborate at a Design Café. What a great idea!

I really enjoyed the storytelling of Jason Cormier of Room 214 (that’s @Room_214 on Twitter) and his cautionary tale of online reputation management. The panel of lobbying and advocacy was very enlightening thanks to a candid exchange from the Colorado Community College System President, Dr. Nancy McCallin, and Colorado Rep. Tom Massey and lobbyist Jason Hopfer.

But what I liked most was talking to the people of District 4, a very diverse group in every way. I spoke to Ashley who is a one-person shop (and a $60,000 marketing budget) at a college of 1,600 students. From a totally different setup, I had a great conversation with Jenny Cummings (pictured, accepting her District 4 Communicator of the Year Award) who is director of public relations and marketing at South Texas College who oversees a $1,000,000 budget.

I had a great time, I learned a lot and really enjoyed the city of Denver. I can honestly say, I left out of breath!


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