MEMO Conference Highlights

Words cannot describe the boost of energy I received as a result of going to the MEMO Conference at the St. Cloud River’s Edge Conference Center last week. It was great connecting with so many of you from Central Minnesota. I wish we could find a way to get every media specialist in our twelve county region to the conference next year!

The rock star keynotes couldn’t have framed the theme any better. They included the bigger picture, but also sprinkled in great application ideas and enthusiasm too, which is a good blend for most. Shannon McClintock Miller, Kathy Schrock, Gail Lovely, and author Mary Amoto all added support, wisdom and practicality to the overall conference theme of Leading Change. The breakout sessions offered great variety, and you could just see the ideas percolating throughout the crowd. And finally, pairing a great lineup of authors with book lovers is always a match made in heaven, and the big smiles and armloads of books testified that the “matchmakers” got it right!

Kate Bessey, Julie Notsch, and I have been planning the Friday night Conference Cantina since March. We wanted the event to energize people and focus on fun and easy networking.  I think we got our wish…a cash bar and music, prize raffles, build your own taco bar, and team trivia led by the Trivia Ninjas kept things lively. Many tables had diverse age ranges, which served them well  in the trivia contest. I can attest to the fact that I did not know Honey Boo Boo when I needed to, but a youngster on our team did! The Schrock Superstars team won the trivia contest and received personalized candy bars and beads with winner medallions on them. Schrock proudly posted her beads on Twitter at  Finally, there were exciting moments of spontaneous chair dancing and debauchery, which was so much fun to see. I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

And, it was great to see Kathy Schrock and Gail Lovely proudly wearing their “brag swag” on Saturday, with keynote Mary Amato also including commentary about the great time she had in the Cantina. We have lots of requests to repeat this type of evening programming. Give us your ideas and thoughts when you fill out the conference evaluation at

Trivia Ninja (Pete Nyblom)

Shrock Superstars

And yes, it is daunting to return to reality, but resist the temptation to allow yourself to be sucked into the madness before taking time for the reflective thinking. In this fast world we live in, it is easy to grasp the quick fix, the bandaid, the sound bite!

Dig deep to reflect on what you took away from the conference. I am firmly committed to doing some specific work around Social Reading and in using Good Reads, but also would like to try out a tweet chat to see if we might want to do that in our region around a topic. What was your takeaway or area of new understanding? Did you leave the conference committed to doing something new or different?