How to Get the Most Out of Your Conference Attendance

Public pension fund trustees and administrators benefit from participating in TEXPERS conferences by receiving valuable education and connecting with other professionals committed to securing retirement for public employees. Your next opportunity to boost your professional skills is during our Annual Conference April 3-6, 2022, at The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas.

Online "early bird" registration ends March 18. However, in-person registration will take place at the conference. Rates increase by $25 for System Members and $100 for Member Firms.

Our goal is to help you stay current with industry trends, gain expertise, and nurture your relationships through our conferences. TEXPERS has put a few tips together to help you make the most out of your conference attendance.


No. 1. Strategic Conference Preparation

Make a list of the goals you want to achieve by attending the conference and align them with the conference schedule. Attending a conference must maximize your experience professionally and personally.

When planning your schedule, take a look at the conference as a whole. Look through our TEXPERS365 app to read through the conference topics, speaker biographies, and downloadable materials. Also, find out who is sponsoring the conference and which firms might have exhibit booths.

Download the app to your Android phone or supported tablet from the Google Play store here.

Download the app to your iPhone or iPad from the Apple App Store here.

Our Annual Conference schedule is also downloadable from our conference site.

Look at the sessions and events you're interested in, those that would provide you, and your fund insight that supports your role in the pension system. TEXPERS attendees should aim to attend as many sessions as possible to cover a full range of topics and prioritize skill-building sessions to enhance their professional development.

Use the knowledge you've gleaned from the conference schedule to make a plan for attending the conference. It will help give you an idea of what sessions you'll want to attend, who you'll need to meet, and what you'll need to learn from them. The information can also help you develop questions for networking. 

No. 2. Schedule Your Time Wisely

There are many sessions, exhibitors, and receptions at TEXPERS' Annual Conference. Be sure to engage in a range of topics, skill-building exercises, and social events. We have something for everyone.

Also, optimize your time to meet with potential vendors, earn continuing education credit, or network with industry colleagues about a management topic that interests you.

Want to knock out state-mandated training? Consider enrolling in our pre-conference Basic or Advanced training courses on Saturday, April 2, 2022, at The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel.

Basic Trustee Training fulfills the requirements of the Texas Pension Review Board's Minimum Education and Training Program for first-year public pension trustees and is held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The registration fee is $225. Click here to learn more.

Advanced Trustee Training meets the continuing education requirements of the Texas Pension Review Board and is held from 8:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The registration fee is $150. Click here to learn more.

Here's an extra scheduling tip: if you attend our conference with a colleague, divide and conquer. TEXPERS' Annual Conference includes concurrent breakout sessions on Tuesday, April 5. If your fund has more than one person in attendance, consider splitting up and sharing notes after your sessions.


No. 3. Build Relationships at the Conference

Do you remember how we suggested using our conference app to research the companies, funds, and people you would meet? By doing so, you can identify the knowledge you're seeking from the educational sessions and the people with whom you're looking to establish professional relationships.

Professional relationships have the potential to be a key component to bringing on new vendors to pension systems and gaining practical advice from pension industry peers. Please take advantage of our conference's receptions to reinforce existing relationships or build new contacts.

We host many networking opportunities, including a pre-conference golf tournament from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., a welcome reception from 5 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 3, and plenty of chances to chat over breakfasts, lunches, and refreshment breaks throughout the conference.

We are hosting an All Members Event at Reata Restaurant from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, April 4. Access requires a conference name badge.

Also, consider reaching out to people you know in advance to schedule a dinner or coffee during the conference. This will reinforce your relationships, and you'll have some fun.


No. 4. Remember What You Learn

Keep in mind that when it comes to the sessions you attend, your takeaways are the value of the time you spend in them. Each session should contain at least one great idea or technique.

There is no shortage of information and trends facing public pension system trustees and administrators at our conferences. There's a lot to take in, and you won't remember everything when you get home. Be sure and take notes, whether it is with pen and paper or on a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

At the end of each session you attend, write down the key takeaways and any follow-up you want to do on the topic with the speakers. This will help jog your memory and give you specific to-dos when you get back to work.

Additional tips to help you make the most of your attendance:

  • Bring plenty of business cards.
  • Create a list on your smartphone to quickly record the names of contacts you want to follow up with after the conference.
  • Connect with speakers and panelists - don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • When networking, listen more and talk less so you can soak up the knowledge you receive.
  • Conferences can be exhausting, so make some time for yourself by eating well, exercising, and exploring the city between sessions or after conference hours.

TEXPERS conferences can be a game-changer for your professional development and your retirement fund when you plan and follow up in the right way. 

About the Author:
Allen Jones is Director of Communications and Event Marketing for TEXPERS. He has been with the organization since January 2017.
Follow TEXPERS on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for the latest news about Texas' public pension industry.
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