First Time Attendee

Lessons Learned at TOCA 2018

(Note: As a first time attendee to an annual TOCA meeting, we asked Courtney Mullen to give us her impressions of the Cincinnati meeting and the impact it had upon her. This is what she had to say.)

First Time Attendee

By Courtney Mullen, Xylem Marketing

To quote Rick Blaine from Casablanca, “TOCA, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

When I first began my job at Xylem Marketing, I was a newbie to the marketing world. My press releases and content writing pieces were a little rough. When my mentor (and boss) mentioned TOCA and the skills she learned from the seminars, I was excited to be able to attend. I hoped to take home valuable insights on how to improve my work.

TOCA did not disappoint! From the panel discussions and roundtables to the keynote speaker, I came away inspired. I discovered new ways to tell a story and, most importantly, how to make it memorable. The panel discussion on the first day focused on what makes up good content and how to relate to the customer and become their trusted source of information.

The second day built on crafting great content with the keynote speaker Ren LaForme sharing the latest in digital marketing tools and strategies for connecting with your audience. Later at the roundtables, I had the opportunity to meet with experienced professionals and ask their advice on everything from achieving career goals to submitting articles to their publications.

The educational and networking opportunities were top-notch, but I came away with more. As a content writer, you can sometimes feel like there is nothing more to say about a topic or this story can’t be told more interestingly—it’s just boring! However, the events at TOCA proved that you can always find a way to be creative and tell a great story. I was introduced to many great stories during my time there -- like the presentation by Bradley Dick on restoring Detroit’s community parks and the incredible impact a revitalized park has on a neighborhood.

The awards program on the last night proved we could do some amazing things in our industry. The award-winning work was impressive and motivation for stepping up the creativity. Not to mention I was thrilled that a few of my colleagues were recognized for their work.

When I left TOCA, I felt re-energized in my work. I came home with new ideas and a desire to challenge myself and see what new things I can bring to the industry. If a friendship is supposed to inspire and support, then yes, TOCA, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.