In the Afterglow of ASTD ICE 2014 – Now What? BONUS! Allison Michels, Yammer

If you are curious about our “What Now?” series, you can catch up here with part one.

Today we have a bonus feature in our ASTD ICE 2014 series!

What conference wrap up would be complete without the perspective of an expo vendor?  In this case Allison Michels from Yammer.  Allison wears a few hats while at the conference, vendor just being one of them but to me she is just Allison, an important member of my personal learning network #PLN.  She is always ready with a quick smile and a hug.  To say she lights up a room upon entering is an understatement.  She is fun and full of energy – I can only imagine that at the end of the day she must be totally worn out, as these conferences can be exhausting and as I said she is wearing multiple hats, but you would never know it with her.  This is not a plug for Yammer but I do want to mention that Allison is it’s greatest champion and could talk it’s uses for L&D endlessly – in a good way, so if you are looking for advice as to how to implement or how to make better utilization you can find her on twitter here. (And BTW Allison, I agree with you about the food set-up this year). Her story tells it all.

ATD Vendor, Attendee, Community Member… or all of the above!

As a 5th time attendee at the ATD Conference I wore many hats this year.

Allison_ATD Sign


Vendor: As Yammer, we love attending this conference because we love to showcase what you can do in L&D with a tool like Yammer.

Some people come up to the booth who know and love Yammer. And some people come up  to us wondering why would we be at this conference? We love that opportunity to showcase the learning use cases for them. And most of the attendees this year had no idea Yammer is part of Microsoft. Hearing that, they were excited because they already use many other Microsoft tools.  It also helped to have dedicated people working the booth and people dedicated to attending the conference this helped the team meet people who would never stop by the booth otherwise.



Yammer Party We hosted a Happy Hour prior to the Attendee Party and we had a great turn out. The interesting part about this conference compared to a Microsoft conference, is that people didn’t usually have plans at night and vendors weren’t fighting to host a happy hour (which is very different than the other MSFT conferences I have been to where every lunch, breakfast and happy hour are sponsored by someone and there are exclusive parties to go to and be part of)!  We loved also to connect up with our local Washington DC customers as well.


Attendee– As an attendee I went to a few sessions that validated the work that I was and am doing. And sometimes it was good to hear how far ahead my training team is with our projects ideas and strategies. I also like listening in on presenters to evaluate how they did and of course compare them to myself.  Some tactics presenters use are pretty corny, but others are really great that I will reuse. My favorite session was with Marcus Buckingham and you can read my review of it here []


Allison_team Something that saddens me about these big conferences is that people manage to come alone or are without a team or a network of people. I would love to help continue to connect people while they are there. When you are at conference with over 9K people, it’s very easy to be lost in a crowd. I attended the Speed Mentoring that was provided and it was a great opportunity to connect on a smaller level. I think similar concepts or more informal meetings like that (or even just time to work openly) would be nice. I have a few ideas that I’ll bring up. I am lucky because I always had someone to eat, meet or visit with.  How can we help connect people while they are face 2 face?

Community Member – as part of my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and the friends I have connected with via the interwebs I had a blast connecting face to face with people that I tweet with all year long. This is usually our only time to be face to face and I thoroughly enjoyed our time. Some of them like Ger Driesen and Coline Son Lee were first time speakers. While others that I love to see in person are people like Dan Steer and Jane Bozarth. And just being able to catch up, and ask people “How are you doing?” and really mean it.

My highs – the people. Always about the people.

My lows – the conference food (there was no snacks or coffee / tea stations around, I am SURE a vendor would sponsor this), however the food was at least better than it was last year.

See you in Orlando!



Watch this space! Our story will conclude tomorrow with my final thoughts and those of Tricia Ransom.   In the meantime be sure to read the stories from Valerie Noll, C. Michael Ferarro, and Donna Phillips

Shannon Tipton

Shannon Tipton

As Owner of Learning Rebels, Shannon Tipton is a skilled learning strategist, content developer and International speaker. Shannon has over 20 years of leadership experience developing successful learning strategies and infrastructures for training departments within organizations in North America, Europe and Korea.

Shannon works with people and organizations to develop learning solutions that brings actual business results. Recognized as bringing real-world expertise into the learning field, Shannon integrates technologies and social learning tools to strengthen workplace alignment, enhance collaboration and increase learning connectivity.

As author of “Disruptive Learning” Shannon frequently speaking at conferences across North America and Europe and ranks as one of the top 100 L&D influencers on Twitter (@stipton).

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