ARMA InfoCon: The Download
My Experience as a First Time Attendee

MARA Blog

Published: November 12, 2019 by Kenna Wulker

Have you ever felt like your brain is stuffed with so much information that it might explode? That’s how my first time at ARMA InfoCon felt. InfoCon 2019 was held in Nashville, Tennessee from October 21-23. Registrants were able to attend workshops, lectures, and vendor booths while discovering new & best practices, experimenting with technology and gaining valuable experience.

A First Time Experience

Dr. Pat Franks with her student assistant, Kenna WulkerI walked into the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center totally in awe of the sheer size. With nine acres of indoor gardens and nearly 3,000 guest rooms, the space is gigantic. When finally heading toward the conference center after searching for my room for 30 minutes, there was a buzz of excitement in the air. With hundreds of people and so much information to absorb over the next few days, it was easy to get overwhelmed. 

After registering, getting my name tag, and finding my way around, I had to decide what lectures I wanted to attend. There were dozens per day on a variety of topics from emerging technology like artificial intelligence to cloud management and digitization. Choosing what to attend was the hardest part; there were multiple lectures in each 45-50 time slot, so it was impossible to attend everything. Because I work in a law firm, naturally I chose to attend everything for the legal field and even some IT discussions to better understand how IT and Records form a stronger relationship with one another.

I quickly realized, however, that the information from each session was too much for my brain to take in without some sort of reprieve and I had to schedule in some breaks between the sessions. I needed to decide between what sessions I wanted to attend and others that could be missed. In doing so, I found that the networking in between was just as important and valuable. So many people attended InfoCon, which means there were infinite chances to learn from others, gain a new perspectives, and if nothing else, realize that I wasn’t alone in struggling to enforce retention and other records policies within my firm. 

The sessions were great for all types of attendees from newbies to industry experts. I enjoyed the variety of topics and how they could be tailored for a records specialist just starting out, all the way up to enterprise level. And not to mention, all the different backgrounds people come from – it’s all an asset and an opportunity to learn from others. 

In between and after sessions throughout the conference, the expo floor was open. The expo houses vendor upon vendor showcasing new technology and software, as well as our old favorites. Some of the vendors included Ripcord, ZL Technologies, Iron Mountain, Access, Gimmal and more. It was nice to see all of these vendors in one place and compare their products to one another. 

SJSU Meet UpBy day three, my brain felt fried, but I was ready to come back to work to implement some new things I learned. I came out with three key takeaways for my job specifically, but they likely can be applied anywhere: 1) change takes time; 2) my firm’s lack of policy implementation isn’t uncommon; and 3) there are simple changes I can make right now that will have long term, positive impacts on my department. Of course I have bigger plans for my department and learned A TON, but while planning for bigger projects, I’ll start with the small things.

SJSU Meet Up

In the middle of the conference, a happy break came in the form of breakfast. I met up with Dr. Pat Franks, our MARA Program Coordinator, along with some other SJSU students, alumni, and friends. It was a great time to chat, laugh, and take a break from the influx of information inundating my brain.

When it’s all said and done, I’ll definitely be heading back. Until next time, ARMA InfoCon…

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