For over twenty years, I worked for the motion picture industry. Networking has always been the lifeblood of Hollywood – even while it was maddeningly difficult.
Take film industry conventions.
Hollywood has a couple of typical industry conferences, but most gatherings revolve around film festivals – often in glamorous, expensive places. There’s seldom a big exhibit hall with vendors – instead, filmmakers show clips of their work in private rooms, writers “pitch” scripts in one-on-one meetings, and deals are made at unadvertised parties.
There’s a secretive, fluid mystery to everything that’s happening, and always the sense that you are missing something. That uncertainty is complemented by the chaos of autograph seekers, paparazzi, and publicists all jockeying for attention. Unless you know how to “work” a film festival, you might as well stay home.
While networking at film festivals and association conventions may seem to have little in common, there is one key aspect in which they are similar: if you plan to network at either, you’ll need to have a strategy and go prepared.
From painting to planting to power-washing, volunteers pitched in to help with much-needed school beautification and maintenance projects. (One overwhelmed teacher shared that she and her husband had been working on weekends and spending their own money to make classroom repairs.)
In one afternoon, the NCA team made the kind of progress only possible when a committed (and well-caffeinated) community comes together for a common cause.
Here are a few highlights from the NCA 2019 Coffee Gives Back Day of Service:
How and when did you get involved with the coffee industry?
It was right after Katrina in 2005 and I was living in New York City interviewing for jobs in advertising. My dad had to relocate Westfeldt Brothers to North Carolina, and asked if I would work on the New York Board of Trade (now the ICE) as a clerk and assist WBI.
I put everything on hold and started immediately. I fell in love with it!
If you ask how I ended up at Westfeldt Brothers, that was probably because my mom made my dad give me a job.
What interested you in joining the NCA Next Gen group and then becoming part of the council?
Switzerland is an important country for the coffee trade and roasting industry, and serves as the headquarters for several major coffee trading houses and roasters. (The country is even one of the world’s top five coffee exporters.)
Janet Colley Morse, Dupuy, at the NCA Convention 2017
The following post is from the NCA Next Generation Group, a National Coffee Association initiative to engage and support young professionals and emerging leaders across the coffee industry. It is part of an ongoing series introducing you to the NCA Next Gen Council.
Janet Colley Morse NCA Next Gen Council Member
Vice President at Dupuy Storage & Forwarding, LLC
Standing room only at the first NCA Next Generation Council educational session
Highlights from the National Coffee Association 2018 Convention
From the NCA Next Generation Council
The NCA NextGeneration Council hosted its first annual Educational Breakout Session on the morning of March 15, at the NCA 2018 Convention in New Orleans. The event is part of the NextGen’s larger initiative to support talented young professionals who are passionate about the coffee industry.
Judging by attendance, the inaugural installment was a huge success – standing room only!
This pre-conference session is aimed at providing the under-40 coffee community with tailored content that will be especially relevant to attendees. While there will be organized presentations, this is intended to be an informal event. Our goal is to fill a room with Next Gen coffee constituents and provide helpful information, as well as a platform to ask questions and voice what they want out of the NCA’s Next Gen initiatives (we’re still a very young initiative, after all).
Are you exhibiting at a coffee festival or trade show? Or considering it?
Exhibiting is a good business choice. It’s a straightforward, face-to-face way of engaging with your community and clients (current and future). It can allow you to shape the face of your business. And it’s an opportunity to make a more lasting impression than some methods of digital outreach.
Yet without the right preparation, you won’t see the return on investment you’re looking for. Being able to own your space and maximize your engagement with others is key but far from easy, while having to be “on” and present at all times can be a challenge. So before shelling out and setting up, make sure you’re ready.
Feeling daunted? Don’t worry; we’re here to tell you how to make exhibiting a solid business investment. Read on for our 9 steps to seeing an excellent return (and actually enjoying yourself).