CSTD Conference - 2010 in Review

This post has been a long time coming! Last year – yes, way back in November 2010 – esteemed members of the ETL team left for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to participate in the annual CSTD Conference. We were booth #511.

I posed some questions to our team to determine the value of the conference for us and for attendees.  For those of you who attended, and those of you who are thinking of attending, here is what ETL had to say.


What was the biggest benefit of attending the conference?  

Overwhelmingly, the biggest benefit of the conference was meeting both new and existing contacts face to face. This may seem like a no-brainer answer, but this really affirmed for us that the right people are attending the conferences, and that the value of face-to-face communication cannot be overstated. Phone conversations are a great way to connect and stay in contact with others, but there is something fundamentally different when you meet a person face to face. There is a whole gamut of communication that occurs which otherwise you may miss – a smile, a nod, a hug. Phones don’t hug people, but ETL team members do!

In summary – the biggest benefit of the conference was the ability to move relationships forward into 2011.

What could be better? 

If the world didn’t improve, it would stay the same – and how dull is that. When discussing 2010’s conference, there were two points of critique, and neither one directly about the conference!

Firstly, we need more attendees. A conference is only as good as the people who attend. However, consider this – if you are thinking ‘I think the conference is a bit small, I am not sure if the people I would like to meet are going to be there – why would I attend?”, you can bet others are thinking that as well! Now, consider this – what if you all decided to attend. Can you imagine all of the people are personalities that would be there? It is no longer a time for excuses, but a time for action. Let’s get out there and meet each other.

Secondly, we had to give ourselves a small smack on the wrist. We need more ETL signage and branding. When you were wandering the halls of the conference, did you see us? If you didn’t, unfortunately that is our own fault. You can be next year we will be there with bells and whistles (not literally, that would be noisy), but you can bet you won’t miss us!

What was the most fun thing of the conference?  

Well of course WE (both you and us at ETL) were the most fun thing of the conference. At booth #511 we had giant yellow dice, small squishy elephants, and Time Management Self-Study Guides as prizes. And then, to top it off, we had Evan, Shelley, Jim, Maggie, James and Pat there to interact with. For Maggie and James both, this was their first exposure to HR conference events. It was a fabulous introduction for them as the atmosphere and visitors to our booth were fun, easy-going and engaging. Many visitors to the booth engaged in conversation and really began to build rapport with the ETL team.

Who did you meet

In short, we met old clients and new contacts, referrals from friends and never-before-seen new faces, and also young students and senior leaders. Regardless of who they were though, the CSTD conference was full of the right people. Maybe we will all see each other again next year. 

What the most awesome thing about our booth? 

This is where no member of the ETL Team could agree. Here are their responses:

  • Pat DeMers - The location. We were on the corner where everyone was walking by.
  • Jim West – The elephant classroom display. When delegates would ask what is this bizarre display we,  we would ask them “What is your interpretation of what’s going on.” Everyone had very creative ideas about what was happening in the elephant training camp.
  • James Wills - The atmosphere. We stood out because we were all smiling, having fun and confident that our services are the best in the market segment we are targeting – at ETL we have confidence in our product and pride in our abilities. The dice game and elephants didn't hurt either
  • Maggie Cruz – Location, location, location – the food/coffee station was right behind us
  • Shelley Kralik-Vella – The ability to draw people in without the glitz and glamour that other booths had.
  • Evan Badura – In one word; me. For real though – the whole team working together with a common purpose; that's what made it great.

Thank you for taking the time to become our friends.
- Michelle DeVerno