Pivot for Success with AIIP

overhead photo of people talking, eating, and working at tables
Published: Thursday, March 30, 2017 by Kate M. Spaulding

With conference season approaching, I thought it would be interesting to speak with some of the organizers. Many professional associations hold conferences annually, and I wanted to hear their arguments for why students should find the time, money, and energy to attend. Several were kind enough to reply to my emails!

The Association of Independent Information Professionals’ (AIIP) 2017 Conference Chair, Cindy Romaine, kicks off this series. According to its website, AIIP is composed of “more than 400 info entrepreneur members located in over 20 countries around the world.” They have very active members-only discussions, a variety of resources, and a mentor program, not to mention a vendor discount program and a rich catalog of members-only webinars and recordings. Particularly if you’re thinking about striking out on your own, AIIP is a great resource; student memberships are only $50.

This year, AIIP’s annual conference is May 18-21 in New Orleans. It sounds like a great time to visit a bucket-list city! Everyone can follow along with the #AIIP17 hashtag and on Twitter, where they’ve been posting swoon-worthy photos from the Big Easy. Although conference costs can add up quickly when you consider travel, lodging, restaurants, and the conference fees, Cindy Romaine argues that its absolutely worth it. Pro tip: AIIP, STC, SLA, and PIUG members can take advantage of early bird pricing through this Friday, March 31.

logo for AIIP conference

Would any particular group of students especially benefit from attending? What do you see as the greatest benefits?

This year’s theme is Pivoting for Success and our keynote speaker, an ex-Google executive [and author of Pivot: The Only Move that Matters is Your Next One], will be presenting information about how to be resilient throughout your career. Students are in a unique position to take advantage of this message as they launch a career that promises, regardless of the discipline, to have many twists and turns.

The most important reason to attend is to meet and talk with people who are running their own businesses already. You can learn what the most essential elements of an independent business are, and you can personally meet people who can guide and mentor you, or even possibly provide projects that use your talents. Everyone is supportive and sessions are created in order to help you develop business acumen.

Can you tell me a little bit about what to expect? I'm guessing that AIIP's conference is smaller than some – how many people usually attend? What positives or negatives about the size do you see? 

One unique thing you can expect at the AIIP Conference is the introductions which everyone — even the staff — participates in. We each introduce ourselves and our business so that we can practice a succinct elevator speech as well as identify people we may want to talk to during the breaks and social events. The conference is about 100 people so we are all in the same room and have one conference track. The group is big enough so that it is interesting and small enough so that you can meet almost all of them.

Are there any programs, panels, opportunities, etc. that focus on or benefit students especially?

logo for AIIP conference that says "The Quarter is calling"We often take advantage of the expertise in the room for our presentations, and this year is no exception. The workshops, roundtables, and Ask an Expert are examples of sessions that have members as presenters. I think the keynote speaker, Jenny Blake, herself a millennial, and Anne Caputo, who will be talking about The Art of Reinvention at Every Stage, will be particularly insightful for students.

What are you most looking forward to at AIIP's conference this year?

Jenny and Anne—just like I recommended for the students!

Any final thoughts you'd like to share?

photo of building in New OrleansIn addition to the programming, because it’s New Orleans, we have some really fun social events planned. One is the Ghost Tour of the French Quarter, which is a bargain at $20. There are a couple other surprises which I can’t tell you about yet, but which I promise will make this a memorable event.

I hope to see you there!

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