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What’s Old, What’s New, What’s Cool

One of the activities that stood out for me at the 2019 SMPS Northeast Regional Conference (NERC) was an exercise we did as part of the Public Speaking for Introverts Session presented by Pia Cardinali, CPSM and David Marino. It was called What’s Old, What’s New, What’s Cool. I was asked to imagine I was at an event and have just run into an acquaintance that I haven’t seen in a while and they ask how I am doing. The group was instructed to use this method to start the conversation and share in a meaningful way. I thought this would be a fun way to share my NERC experience.

What’s Old

First, discuss something that is old. Now being a few weeks after the conference – the conference itself is old, so let’s start with that! The conference had amazing keynote speakers, fantastic food, great networking opportunities, and was at a nice hotel in an amazing city – Providence, Rhode Island. The conference was well organized, the break-out sessions were impactful, and the presenters were knowledgeable and engaging— pretty much what we expect from SMPS!

What’s New

Next discuss something that is new. I appreciated and enjoyed that the conference offered more fare than the typical marketing conference buffet options. Apart from the courses of business development, leadership discussions, and branding, there was a much-welcomed diversity of break-out panels—from Break Out of Your Cultural Comfort Zone, to Public Speaking for Introverts, to Self Care for Marketers, which taught us how to breathe, stretch and relax in our office spaces. These new and exciting sessions left me feeling energized. Furthermore, the Thursday night reception at the Skyline at Waterplace featured a colorful and energetic 14-piece band— if that’s not something new and exciting, I don’t know what is!

What’s Cool

Last, discuss what is cool. The effort to broaden the horizon and expand on what traditional conferences offer was very well received—and very cool! These sessions involved more active participation and a chance for us to leave our comfort zones and experience something out of the ordinary. We saw what we do, day-in and day-out, from a different perspective. It was a great twist on what we expected.

Thank you to the nine regional chapters for putting on such a fantastic conference and special thanks to my own Boston chapter for helping me to attend through a scholarship.  I sincerely appreciate the opportunity and look forward to future SMPS Boston and Regional events. Next time you are at a networking event I hope you will try the What’s Old, What’s New, What’s Cool methodology.

SMPS Boston is proud to offer our members scholarships for professional development opportunities. Ken Sterritt was one of the recipients of this year’s SMPS NERC Scholarship, which covers the full cost of registration. Learn more about all the scholarships SMPS Boston offers.



Ken is a Senior Marking Specialist at VHB with over 20 years of broad and varied experience. He spent many years as a professor teaching English and Writing at universities overseas before returning to America to pursue a career in Marketing. He relocated to Boston from Southern California and enjoys traveling, bike riding, and reading.

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