Of any events that I’ve attended in the past decade, the Bureau of Digital conferences have had the most significant impact on my career. Thanks to the learning and mentorship that I received at the five Owner Summit events I attended, I’m now more comfortable at Plank and less of a reluctant leader. With Owner Summit 2019's two intense days over, I identified the key things that I got out of my time in Austin, TX.

Be Intentional

While we all know that there is a certain amount of luck and timing in life, hope is not a strategy to build a company. When I attended my first Bureau of Digital event, I had convinced myself that the only way to get new work is to wait for someone to reach out to us. What I hadn’t realized is that attending and speaking at events, plus emailing companies I was a fan of, was much more than just sitting around. These tactics need a plan and strategy. Once I got over the fear of using the words ‘business development’ and ‘marketing and sales’, we could build a better company, get better projects and do better work.

Build Relationships

While it’s fine to check in with this wonderful community every year, I need to develop deeper relationships with these colleagues all year round. I realize that there is no way that I can keep up with, or find a way to collaborate with everyone in this growing community of hundreds of digital studios. On the other hand, I can select the 10 that would best compliment Plank, our current and prospective clients and be in touch quarterly. I know from past experience that collaboration doesn’t happen unless we are investing in talking with each other, which can be tough within our hectic day to day responsibilities.

Share Deeply

While so many other industries run on fear and competition, the Bureau community is driven by the need to share and learn from each other. I have gained so much wisdom from the community, and was happy to hear that some of what I have offered was helpful to others. I don’t want to be someone who just passively takes in situations like this, so it’s good to know that I was able to contribute in my own way. It’s a great feeling to know that you are able to put your head together with others you respect and admire, and make everyone better.

I’m looking forward to attending Owner Summit 2020. I’m hoping that on top of my annual catch up: I will be challenged, inspired and shaken out of my comfort zone, which is what I need right now. Plank is ready — twenty years later !! — to take on new challenges, new team members, and make some necessary changes. So, thank you again Carl and the whole Bureau team!