Firstup in Phoenix

left to right: Ethan McCarty of Integral; Ann Melinger of Brilliant Ink; Andrea Greenhous of Vision2Voice

Firstup‘s recent Attune conference in Phoenix – what a pleasure and privilege to attend. I learned a lot — but not what I expected.

The keynotes were great, the workshops enlightening and the tacos tasty. Spending time with a few others who run boutique agencies in the employee experience space was the most valuable. (Shout out to Ann Melinger, Andrea Greenhous, Jason Anthoine!) Look, folks get into this line of work for a lot of reasons. But most of us didn’t go into the employee communications profession expecting to become billionaires. You have to be:

  • genuinely interested in the work
  • fascinated by the infinity of human relationships
  • excited by trying creative explorations of stuff that shouldn’t work
  • intrigued by the ineffable forces of group culture and human experience

It’s a quirky list that I’m sure could be made much longer with a little more thought. But suffice it to say, I just loved connecting with ‘my people.’

This is where I tip my hat to Firstup CEO, Nicole Alvino and the conference emcee, Chuck Gose. They get that community is the most powerful marketing and communications ‘tactic’. During the Page Society Spring Seminar, the great Mark Schaefer described the best communities: all about “communion, purpose and progress.”

I keep thinking about that. Bring people together around a purpose that you can make a dent in and you’ve ‘won.’

Connecting & learning through Firstup

Sure, Firstup makes solid software — and by the way, the demonstration of applying AI to audience segmentation building? Chef’s kiss! 🍳😘 The most powerful thing for me, though? Connecting with and learning from a bunch of other lunatics who think work doesn’t have to be dreary. And workplaces can be interesting, fair, profitable, and even fun.

Ok, ok, I was absolutely delighted to debut Integral‘s research in a workshop about our Integral Index. (This is our third year of producing a national study of US employees that gives insight into the state of the workplace and how employees feel about it.)

Glad to learn from:

  • Tiara Kesler about 3M’s employee advocacy program
  • Tyler Wenger about advanced placement microapp deployments
  • Joel Charles Yates about reaching front-line associates
  • and from so many other practitioners who bring their creative sparks to changing the future of work, for good

Oh…I also got to play with the sweetest rescue pups from One Love Pitbull Foundation, thanks to Kristin Hancock of ICology, who brought the love by sponsoring their presence at the event.

Oh, and why “rising like ashes?”

Well, when I returned home to Brooklyn my apartment was flooded by the heavy rains. I ended up spending several days being literally bailed out by my neighbors. As well as metaphorically bailed about by my family, friends and fellow Integralistas who came together to support me, my sons, my wife, and our pets as we recover.

I’m telling you, communion, purpose, progress…ftw!

Take a look at photos from the event: